College student friendly time management & study-skills related resources?
September 14, 2012 2:22 PM   Subscribe

Can you recommend any time management and study-skills related resources for a freshman college student?

I signed up through my college alumni association to mentor a freshman student. After meeting with him, it looks like an early challenge will be time management.

I'm familiar with Getting Things Done, and I currently use a system called The Effective Edge.

I'm looking for college student friendly resources, systems, and frameworks that might help him manage his time well and study more effectively.
posted by braveterry to Education (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Have you looked through the college? Many colleges have an office/person/course/something with resources like this, if you know where to look. Try asking the career office or something, they'll know if such a thing exists at your school.
posted by brainmouse at 2:44 PM on September 14, 2012

I like the study skills book, Study is Hard Work.
posted by Jahaza at 2:59 PM on September 14, 2012

Came to second brainmouse. Most colleges have a Learning Center. Sometimes it's part of the Library, sometimes it's under the umbrella of Counseling Services, and sometimes it's a standalone office. They will have many resources for study skills and time management that, presumably, are directly applicable and on-target for your purposes.

But honestly, the biggest time management challenge for freshmen (I'm seeing this now with students in my classes) is that it's the first time they are solely accountable - there aren't nagging parents over their shoulder, nor are their instructors providing constant reminders of homework, due dates, etc. since it's all laid out on the syllabus already.

The thing that has helped some of my students the most is simply getting them to the realization that they actually need to plan in advance. I have them mark their homework, essay assignments, exams, etc in their calendars and set reminders with an appropriate lead-time to allow them to complete the work. This sets them up so they have to make the conscious choice to either do the work or blow it off when the reminder alarm goes off on their phone and/or computer.

This takes away the excuse of "I forgot" or "I didn't have enough time" and makes them admit to themselves that it's completely within their control to get everything done and on time. It's also a learning curve - most students will struggle with this in their first semester, it's just a matter of how much they let slip through the cracks before they start picking up the slack.
posted by trivia genius at 3:14 PM on September 14, 2012

Seconding everything that trivia genius said, and adding that my students also tend to underestimate how long an assignment will take them. Sometimes this is because they don't realize how many separate steps the task is composed of; sometimes it's because they think they are faster at reading/writing/studying than they actually are.

So for a first time-management exercise, you could help your mentee break down a typical assignment into all the smaller tasks it will entail. E.g. for a final research essay, that includes narrowing his topic, going to the library and finding sources, sorting through the sources to find the best ones, actually reading the sources and taking notes (and boy, do my students underestimate how long THAT will take), making an outline, writing a draft, revising and proofreading the draft, and printing the final draft.

Then help him figure out how long, realistically, each of those tasks will take.

I think this will be a HUGE help for him. (If you can't spare the time to go over all this with him yourself, you could start him off and then send him to the learning centre for follow-up.)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:48 PM on September 14, 2012

I just ran into the study hacks blog the other day. it is not entirely conventional, he spends a lot of time talking about issues related to study, like how to not procrastinate, and how to choose a major, etc, but it's all very good stuff.
posted by zug at 6:16 PM on September 14, 2012

When I'm working on a big, daunting project, I find Pomodoro-style timeboxing to be really, really helpful.
posted by zjacreman at 7:19 PM on September 14, 2012

I recommend David Allen's book "Getting Things Done" for general time and task management. But whatever system you use, the key is to use it.
posted by driley at 10:57 PM on September 14, 2012

Seconding Study Hacks. Even better, get the books: How to Become a Straight-A Student and How to Win at College.
posted by zanni at 1:48 AM on September 15, 2012

I third the Study Hacks suggestion, because it's not just about doing well in school, but more about an intentional way of living for students. Have fun, study hard!
posted by undue influence at 7:09 AM on September 15, 2012

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