College is an exciting time of learning and discovery. But, as most higher education pros are painfully aware, today’s college students too often aren’t completing a degree.
The National Center for Education Statistics reports that less than 60% of students seeking a 4-year degree are doing so within a six-year time frame. The result? Students are left without the credentials they need, and universities are stuck scrambling to account for the collective $16.5 billion lost to attrition costs nationwide.
The good news is that more individualized tools are available than ever before to help higher education students build the skills they need to stay on track—and stick with an institution through graduation day. Read on for seven time-management tips and tools that will help your student body thrive.
1. RECOGNIZE TIME MANGEMENT AS A SKILL YOU CAN BUILD
Some students have a hard time moving from a “fixed” to a “growth” mindset when they enter college. However, when they recognize their potential to improve their time-management skills, they take ownership over the process and begin to figure out systems tailored to their own personalities and work styles. An app like Trello allows students to prioritize projects in a fun and rewarding way. It’s an easy, collaborative way for students to get smarter about using their time wisely, and a real self-awareness builder.
2. SLEEP SMARTER
As college students better learn how to fit in adequate time for classes and studying, sleep can take a backseat. Operating on poor-quality or low-quantity sleep is a recipe for burnout (aka dropping out before getting that degree). Allotting sufficient time for rest is key component of managing time well. Sleep Cycle is a sleep tracker and alarm that analyzes your sleep patterns to wake you when you are naturally becoming more alert. The difference between waking up naturally and being forced awake from a deep REM cycle can be a game changer, allowing students more energy and focus throughout their entire academic day.
3. SCHEDULE SPECIFIC, SCHEDULED BLOCKS OF STUDY TIME
Setting aside a big chunk of time to study might seem like a great plan, but many students struggle with how to actually manage those hours once they sit down to work. Research shows that a better strategy is to focus for short chunks of time, allowing small breaks between each 15 to 30-minute stint. 30/30 is an easy-to-use app with a simple, well-designed interface. It helps students visualize their time, getting a true handle on how long certain tasks actually take to complete.
RELATED: Higher Ed’s Secret Weapon for Student Retention? Big Data
4. MAKE TO-DO LISTS
For some students in today’s digital world, a to-do list might seem like too simple of a tool to be useful in managing a rigorous college schedule. But the basic act of writing down your “must dos” can free up working memory and help keep you on track. Old-fashioned pen and paper still works like a charm, but if you want to go digital, try a tool like Remember the Milk, a super-synced app that gives you persistent reminders of your tasks across all of your platforms.
5. CELEBRATE SUCCESSES…THEN GET BACK TO IT!
College offers many opportunities to formally celebrate, from a well-deserved A+ on a paper to the exhilaration of crossing the stage on graduation day. Unfortunately, some students lose sight of the informal opportunities to high-five themselves for getting a task done. That’s too bad, because building in small moments of celebration (we’re not talking about San Padre Island here) is shown to help students stay motivated and keep on top of their study plans.
To stay focused during a marathon study session, students can try using an app like Finish or EpicWin. These tools offer visual confirmation and validation when they complete items on their to-do lists. It’s a great way for them to pat themselves on the back, then get right back in the game.
6. DON’T FREAK OUT — BREAK IT DOWN
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of starting a major assignment the night before it’s due, only to realize you simply don’t have the time you need to complete on deadline. Students can avoid this avalanche of stress and embarrassment by project managing assignments major as soon as they’re handed out. iStudiez Pro is an award-winning app that helps students organize coursework to keep on track of every little detail.
7. SEEK SUPPORT
Finally, there should be no shame in students reaching out for support to help them manage their time and assignments. Options abound, from formal tutoring through the college or university, to an app like Coach.me, which offers social engagement around productivity.
Students should also be encouraged to embrace tools their university has on tap for easily scheduling time with a tutor or advisor. Many colleges offer online scheduling options that allow students to self-schedule their appointments easily.
What time management tips have worked for your students, or for you when you were in college? We invite you to share your ideas on our Facebook or Twitter channels, and subscribe to the AppointmentPlus blog for more tips on keeping it all together!