Academic Support

Organizational Skills to Save Your Semester

Planning ahead can help you to get the most out of your resources. Some signs of trouble:

  1. Unable to accomplish task, or
  2. Creating an uncomfortable amount of tension — either inside you or from others

Specific examples include: a job or course being in jeopardy, relationships suffering, anxiety, feeling bad about yourself, not meeting major goals.

Keys to Success

  1. Task analysis. This is based on a review of syllabi for each of your courses. Begin by identifying and listing what tasks need to be finished in order to complete the course in a satisfactory manner. Next, list extra credit or supplemental options, e.g., choice of an additional paper instead of a multiple choice final. Using the WU calendar to provide a long term plan is helpful.
  2. Convert each task into real time - use hours, be realistic. Use past experience or question other students who have either completed or are working on the assignments. Now add an additional 20% contingency time. If you finish on time or early, you can take a break or start something new.
  3. List goals for each week of the semester in your organizer on each successive Monday.
  4. Create detailed, daily schedules reflecting class times, study times, work hours when relevant and recreation times.
  5. Create an organization system for notes on lectures and reading before you begin your first assignment. Modify as needed.
  6. Remember: It is never too late to start managing your time and getting organized. If you did not follow these steps and it is way past midterms, you can still save your semester.