Preparing for College: Developing Time Management Strategies
One of the major differences between high school and college is the amount of free, or unstructured, time you will have. In high school, you have to be in classes from 8:00 to 3:00--approximately 35 hours a week, while in college you have between 12 and 15 hours of classes. This may appear to give you 20 extra hours a week, but most college courses require at least three hours of preparation for every hour in class, and in some classes you may need to spend even more time. You cannot afford to think of this extra time as time to take a part-time job, to catch up on your sleep, or to hang out with your friends.
Extra time is one major difference. Another is the nature of the assignments you will receive. In most courses, you will have fewer assignments, less nightly homework, and fewer texts than in high school. However, the assignments you receive in college will be longer and more complex, and the tests will cover more material. For example in high school, chapter tests are fairly common. In college, tests will often cover material from three to ten chapters. Rather than writing several short (two-to-three page) papers in a course, in college you may have to write a single 15-to-20 page research paper in addition to weekly essays.
A third major difference is that you will be more independent. This means that you alone will have to structure your time. In high school, your schedule serves to help structure your time. You have to attend class every day, and study halls are assigned. In college, classes may meet only once, twice, or three times a week. Attendance is not always mandatory. You are in charge of your study time. There may be no one around, like a parent or LD Specialist, to help you get organized and remind you to get papers handed in on time.
How can you address these changes? Developing time management skills is the answer.