How to Prepare for the Start of the College Year

Posted January 29, 2015 by
Happy female college student. Isolated on white background

Happy female college student. Isolated on white background. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Whether you’re a returning student or about to embark on your freshman year of education, how you prepare before the academic year starts can have a big impact on your productivity throughout the term. Below you’ll find three tips for helping you get ready to go back to school.

Choose a Time to Enrol That Suits You

Not all tertiary education providers follow the traditional semester schedule. While many colleges and universities already offer varying degrees of flexibility in how coursework is delivered and will let you defer a semester or two without a penalty, some institutions, such as education providers, have also started letting you commence studying any time during the year as well. If you know the first quarter or half of the year is a busy time for you, it may pay off in the long run to wait to start until you can give the coursework the attention it demands. You could also consider alternating how many subjects you choose around your other commitments throughout the year. For example, if the end of the financial year is a manic period for you and the months on either side of Christmas are quiet, drop back to one or two subjects mid-year.

Schedule Your Time

When things have a deadline or set timeframe, you tend to give them a greater priority. Keep a diary and allocate your day realistically. Everything from meal times to house chores, your work roster, study and assignment time, your gym schedule, and catching up with friends should have its own timeslot throughout the week/month. Most of us wouldn’t dream of skipping an important work meeting or doctor’s appointment and will decline other invitations in order to keep that commitment – give other things that need to be done the same priority in your life. Nobody can sustain an all-work, no-play lifestyle long term though, which is why it’s equally important to schedule some downtime and fun activities around your other obligations.

Set Up a Designated Study Area

It is really important to have a designated ‘study zone’ – a space where you can focus and get your tasks completed. If you don’t have a room (or even just a desk) in your home to dedicate to your schoolwork, consider going to the local library or utilising a study lab on campus. And while it might be tempting to flick through a text book or write out your notes in front of the TV or while lying in bed, your body will thank you if you make sure that you are completing your work at a table or desk with a good, ergonomic chair. Test out your study space before the school year starts. Make sure you’re comfortable, can limit distractions, and have access to everything you need.

Planning and preparation is crucial to ensure you can manage your time and successfully meet your academic and lifestyle goals and obligations. What are your best tips for getting ready to go back to school? Share your secrets to study preparation below.

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