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There’s so much to do and get involved in at college, from intramural sports to student activities council, working while enrolled, and remembering to stay active.

These activities are beneficial if they don’t replace the core reason for attending college: earning a degree. As your student prepares for college life, having a few tips and tools will prepare them to get it all done.

1. Start thinking about time management now.

While in high school, your student’s schedule is most likely “set” for them each day. While their time after school and on the weekends may differ depending on their involvement in extracurricular activities or after-school jobs, for the most part, their schedules are created for them. Students spend roughly 30-35 hours per week in class in high school. They are typically only “in class” for 12-16 hours per week in college. A starting point rule of thumb is to study 2-3 hours for every hour of class time in college. That study time might include research, writing papers, memorizing facts, or working on group projects. In addition to time devoted to classes and studying, being involved on campus leads to a stronger sense of belonging, which aids persistence from one semester to the next. To get it all done, time management is crucial.

2. Come up with a game plan.

There are numerous time management apps available that can help your student think about how they spend their time and be more intentional about scheduling their day. One of those apps could be an excellent fit for your student. To get started, a simple way for your student to start thinking about how they spend their time is to use a time inventory tool such as this one: How they spend their time in college will differ from how they spend their time in high school, so you can join them in thinking about how they might schedule their week as a college student.

3. Talk about specific time management tips.

Intentional and specific conversations around time management can encourage your student to consider strategies they can implement in high school as they prepare for college. Some helpful time management tips can be found here: (this website links to other time management tips websites).

4. Take advantage of the numerous time management strategies available.

A quick web search will yield plenty of specific time management strategies. The key is to find what could work best with how your student is “wired.” A strategy will only be successful if it’s something your student would be interested in trying.

Perhaps a time management method like the Pomodoro Technique ( or an assignment calculator ( will be the key to helping your student understand how they can be organized and productive in a way that works best for them.

Trying to get it all done can be very stressful, and as a new college student, it might take time to figure out the best way to make it happen. Having a conversation with your student about some time management approaches ahead of time will alleviate some of the first-semester stress.


Dr. Jason Castles is the Program Director and Associate Professor in the Higher Education Leadership doctoral program at Maryville University.