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Tips & Tools to Stay Organized While Getting Ready for College

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Many people look back on their college years as the best of their lives. After making it through primary school and graduating with a high school diploma, college is when a teenager becomes an adult, learning self-sufficiency and independence while gaining the knowledge and skills necessary for the chosen career field. But this metamorphosis isn’t something that happens overnight.

In fact, becoming a college student can be quite a shock. With expectations getting higher and higher, college students must take the initiative to effectively manage their time and finances as well as making sure their homework and studying gets done. Fortunately, there are a plethora of useful tools available for helping you to stay organized as you make your way through college.
Time management & scheduling
There are many aspects of adulthood that are difficult to learn and master, but time management is certainly one of them. In fact, there are many adults who find time management continues to be an elusive skill. Since the difference between passing and failing a college class can come down to something as small as an extra hour of study time, taking advantage of some time management and scheduling tools can make a huge difference in your organization.

Considering that most of us have powerful computers in our pockets in the form of smartphones, calendar apps are a great place to start for managing your time and schedule. Both Apple and Google make user-friendly calendar apps that come pre-installed on iPhone and Android devices, respectively. If your needs are simple, these stock calendar apps are a great starting point for becoming more organized with your time and schedule.

If you’re looking for something more robust and feature-rich, you might consider upgrading to Google Keep, Wunderlist, or Any.do. Each of these apps focus more on creating to-do lists than on being centralized calendars, but this might be preferable. For instance, you could use one of these apps to create handy checklists or daily itineraries. Plus, you can assign due dates and alerts to each of your entries, which means that important due dates are unlikely to slip through the cracks.

Managing your finances
College is often a person’s first taste of true independence. For many college students, this means no more home-cooked meals three times per day, no more having one’s laundry washed by mom, and no more weekly allowance. Instead, you’ll have to learn how to be responsible and manage your finances on your own. But the good news is that with mobile apps and other software tools, you don’t have to be an accounting major to stay on top of your finances.

If you take a moment to browse through the app market on your smartphone, you’ll notice that there’s quite a diverse selection of apps for financial management, many of which are excellent for college students to use. For instance, Mint is a popular mobile app for financial management. It’s made by the same trustworthy company behind QuickBooks and TurboTax, so you don’t have to worry about getting conned out of your limited dollars. Plus, Mint connects to your bank accounts, credit cards, and even your PayPal account, meaning you can check your balances and recent transactions for all your accounts from one centralized place.

While Mint is great for checking and tracking your account balances, an app called Prism is great for paying your bills. Basically, Prism connects to many utility companies and service providers, notifying you when your bills are do and allowing you to pay them right there in the Mint app. Best of all, Prism touts support for a much wider variety of third-party services than any other financial management app, which is why it’s consistently named the best mobile app for bill payment.

It’s worth noting, too, that both Mint and Prism offer tools for helping you save money, which is a habit you definitely want to get into as you edge closer to adulthood.

Extra credit: Make sure you sign-up for Credit Karma. It’s never too early to begin thinking about building a strong credit history, but the service can also help you protect your identity.

Homework & project management
Last but not least, project management is a type of tool that virtually every college student needs. It’s similar to the to-do list apps mentioned above, but most project management software offer many more features that just making to-do lists.

Evernote continues to be one of the most popular project management tools, and that’s especially true for college students. You can do almost anything with Evernote, from taking and recording class notes to creating outlines for term papers to tracking progress for group projects and everything in-between. Plus, the app gives you lots of ways to categorize and organize your projects, making them easy to group and search at a moment’s notice. There’s hardly anything having to do with project management that Evernote can’t do.

But maybe you’re looking for something a little more focused and specific. The Homework App — yes, that’s actually the name of the app — is a great platform for helping you stay on top of all your homework. Essentially, it’s a to-do list app, but for homework. You input one of your assignments into the app, breaking it down into steps so that you can easily record and track your progress. Of course, you can assign due dates, too.

Dane O’Leary is a writer, tech journalist and regular contributor to TrustRadius where he shares his knowledge on the latest trends in B2B news and technologies. He has written editorials, articles, and blog posts for some of the most popular publications on the web, including Android Authority, Phone Arena, NeilPatel.com, and Millennial Magazine while also publishing regularly on his own website.


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