The time you actually spend in class in college is much less than high school, but the workload multiplies with the advanced classes and increased independence. Without your parents pushing you to study, you have to keep yourself motivated and on track to keep up with the workload. Smart class choices along with effective time management are key in handling the college schedule.
Managing your college workload begins before you step into your first class. The schedule you choose affects how well you can keep up with the demands of a college education. Balance the type of classes you take each semester so they aren't all difficult. Getting the tough classes out of the way seems like a solid plan, but you could struggle to keep up with all of those difficult subjects. Consider your other commitments when choosing your activities for the semester. This includes hours at a job and extracurricular activities. Overcommitting yourself makes it difficult to handle the workload.
Lay it Out
A general plan for dividing your time serves as a guide for your week. Think of it as a budget for your time. List all of your weekly commitments so you know where your time needs to go. Estimate how much time each will take. Your classes are set, so add them to the schedule first. You'll need about two hours of studying for each class hour every week, according to the University of Michigan-Flint. If you're taking 15 credit hours, that means you should allocate about 30 hours of study time each week. Pencil in times that work best for studying. If you have a job, write in your work hours. Any other regular commitments, such as a weekly student group meeting, should also go on the master schedule. Don't forget to squeeze in downtime for socialization and relaxation.
Take Care of Yourself
Your health and general condition affects how well you can handle the pressures of college. If you're constantly tired or sick, you are more likely to fall behind in your coursework or feel overwhelmed by the workload. Partying into the wee hours might sound appealing, but you'll likely pay for it the next day. Get yourself to bed at a reasonable time so you get the rest you need. Skip the junk food that will leave you feeling sluggish and cause weight gain. Make exercise a priority to give yourself energy and improve your overall health.
Some semesters are difficult, no matter how much you prepare and plan for success. Colleges offer resources to help you handle the workload. Classes through the academic office teach time management and study skills that help you stay on top of coursework. Your adviser might have advice for dealing with your workload if you feel overwhelmed. You might have the option of dropping a class early in the semester if you think you can't handle it. Most colleges require at least 12 credit hours to remain a full-time student, so ensure you meet this minimum before dropping a class. If you're struggling with a specific class, talk to your professor before you fall behind in the work. He might offer assistance or suggest a study group to help.
- Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images