Studying In College: Good Study Management Systems

Students arriving at college face a variety of problems when attempting to balance studying with social environments and athletic participation. While many freshmen struggle to find such a balance, the right amount of preparation, commitment, and diligence can keep students in good academic standing and encourage learning. Key to keeping any student on the right academic path is first and foremost a good plan for studying.

One plan suggested by deans of students and academic counselors at many colleges and universities is a weekly calendar. Before each academic week students can print off a 7AM to 2AM calendar with each hour separated in a different block. By crossing out the hours the student knows he or she cannot study, and seeing what hours are left over, students will be more prepared to commit themselves to studying when they find they have free time on their hands. Another benefit of making a weekly, hourly calendar is that students will know in advance how much time they have on their hands before the week begins, and consequently will be able to see how they will need to balance different classwork and assignments.

A second proven method in developing a study management system is finding good study partners. For some students, studying alone is the most effective means of studying, as distractions and interruptions will be kept to a minimum. For others, studying with partners or with a student who is familiar with the material a student is studying will aid the student's learning. Studying can also be broken up into individual time and group time, taking short breaks during long study sessions to meet with other group members and answer each other questions on the subject matter.

Finally, it is important that a student select a quiet space to study to maximize distractions. To further enhance a student's studying space, it is important that a student brings everything they will need during studying time, which may include food, a bottle of water, school supplies, etc. Leaving a quiet study space, even to go and get a bite to eat can seriously, negatively affect a student's concentration. Often, even after not having the distraction of hunger anymore, a student will find it hard to restart their studying and regain focus on the material. Bringing food to one's study space will help keep a student focused by both not having the distraction of hunger and by keeping a student in their study space. Often students consider their campus library the best place to study, but with the added distraction of many other students (and friends that may want to socialize!) during peak study hours there are often better areas on campus to study. Better options include unused classrooms, personal study rooms, and even dining halls during off-peak hours. Some students also prefer to study in their own rooms, although for many students a dorm room is fraught with distractions, which may include a roommate not focused on academics. Above all, the key to studying in college and developing a study management system is personal responsibility and practical planning on behalf of the student.