The major thing different in college classes from high school classes is the syllabus. I don’t know about you, but my syllabus in high school was always pointless. It always stated the same grading scale, the same attendance policy, and the same general information about every class.
In college, it’s different. Some professors put some assignments on the syllabus and then never speak of them again. No reminders the day before it’s due, no mentioning it in class, nothing. You need to be on top of your own work.. and I love that.
I have to admit, it was a little intimidating at first… but then I found this idea for an assignment planner by Kirsten at Organized Charm. I loved it.
So this idea was 100% from her. I changed it a tiny bit to fit me, but not much.
First, I gathered all of my class syllabus’ (syllabi?) together and highlighted all the important dates: due dates, exams, field trips, whatever I had to remember.
I opened up Microsoft Excel (this can also be done in Google Drive Spreadsheets if you do not have Microsoft Excel) and made a spreadsheet with 3 columns.
1 for the due date, 1 for the class, and 1 for the assignment.
Below that I merged the row together and wrote the first month. Then I skipped about 10 rows and wrote the next month.. and repeated until all the months for the term were on there.
Then I began to write in the dates for each class. I started with one class and added in each assignment under the month that it was due. In the assignment section I made sure that I was short and sweet, so that it didn’t grow too big.
Go class by class so that you don’t get overwhelmed with having to go day by day.
Once you’ve entered in all the assignments, arrange them by due date. If you’re not computer or spreadsheet savvy, this one might get a little confusing for you so I’ve laid it out in small steps below.
1) Highlight the Area
Click on the cell in the top right corner of the month (the first due date) and drag until you have selected all the assignments, classes, and due dates for that month.
2) Click the A-Z Button
Click on the button on your toolbar that says A-Z. There should then be a menu telling you a variety of different things. The most common is that it will say sort it A-Z (alphabetically) but that is not what you want to do. If it already says to sort smallest to largest, just click that and you’re done. If it does not, then click on the custom sort button.
3) Custom Sort: Smallest to Largest
When you click on the custom sort button, this box should pop up. Simply select to sort column A (your due date column) by smallest to largest and press ok!
Then your month should be all sorted out by due date! Nice and easy 🙂
Go on and select the rest of the months and do it again one at a time.
Now that you’ve made the spreadsheet, how do you use it?
I have mine taped up right next to my desk. When I start an assignment I highlight it in yellow. When I finish an assignment I highlight over the yellow highlight in orange. Then when I turn the assignment in I cross it out with a black pen. This way I can keep track of every step of the process.
Using this spreadsheet has already saved my grade, and I’m only 6 weeks into the semester! I was leaving for my morning class and I wanted to make sure that I had finished any homework due for that day, so I glanced at my assignment planner before I left. Turns out I had done the homework for that class, but I hadn’t done the homework for the one after it! It was an assignment that my professor had put up on the syllabus but had not mentioned anything of it in class. It was a very simple task, so I did it while I was waiting for my first class to start.
Turns out that everyone in that class forgot to do it, except me! Luckily I had the time to remind a couple of my friends in that class to get it done, and they were able to turn it in on time.
Since I made this planner one of my roommates has stolen the idea as well and made it her own. She doesn’t print it out, just keeps it as a spreadsheet on her computer, and strikes it off digitally every time she completes an assignment.
This spreadsheet is only one of the ways that I make sure I’m on top of my work. My main source of school organization is my planner, but my favorite? My post-it note calendar. I absolutely love my post-it note calendar.. but that I’ll be saving till next time!
What do you do to stay organized for school? Tell me about it in the comments and maybe I’ll try it out!
Tagged on: Academics assignment planner assignment spreadsheet blogging101 college craft diy do it yourself high school highlighter how to life my desk organize planner productivity schedule school spreadsheet university
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DaniOctober 8, 2014College, My Desk, Organization + Planning, Organize, Tech
Last month I shared my new planner, which is part of a larger accountability binder system that I use to keep track of things I need to work on and places I need to be.
One of the pages was my assignment and project sheet where I wanted to keep all of due dates. I have pretty small handwriting so I crammed in two 40-line tables on the page: one for classwork and one for writing projects.
I greatly underestimated how many things I would have due this semester. Not counting the surprise projects that have sprung up since the semester started (thanks a lot, j-school), I have over 150 items in my class assignment list.
By comparison, I have about 10 anthology deadlines listed in my project sheet for the entire year.
I obviously need something a little more heavy duty for tracking classwork.
Inspired by this post on Organized Charm, I made a Google Sheet specifically for class assignments.
The spreadsheet has columns for the semester week, the specific due date, the class it’s for, the assignment name, and the four potential statuses I may be stuck on: reading, taking notes, writing an initial draft, and completion.
The grey and white backgrounds really help me keep track of what’s upcoming that specific week, and on my printed sheet I use a yellow highlighter in between each specific day so I can prioritize.
The status columns help me to isolate and organize things within the spreadsheet, usually by ordering an entire column.
I use the status columns as a checklist to keep track of what I’ve done and what still needs work.
If you want to track things just with the spreadsheet, you can use drop-down menus in the status columns to check off items when you’re done.
I like using a paper system, so I manually check off when I’m done with a step–and when I’m totally finished, I use a highlighter to strike through the whole line.
The downside to using a paper version rather than an electronic version is that my professors have changed due dates several times so far, so I have to re-write them in the printed copy or re-print it if I’m feeling particularly fussy over it. Having a shortcut on a tablet or laptop may end up being a better option, even though I like having physical tracking sheets.
Click here to use the template!
[One day I’ll figure out how to make the embed code work. Today is not that day.]