Reader Cody wrote to us a few weeks ago asking if we had any back-to-school advice for college students. Matt started our response to this question by addressing ways to organize a dorm room. Now, I’m going to discuss managing the constant flow of paperwork associated with college life.
My first piece of advice is to get your hands on Captio’s CollegeCase or a similar product. I wish I would have had something like this back in my undergraduate days. In times of emergencies, being this organized would have really helped. If you’re ever burglarized, in a car wreck, curious as to which cafeterias your meal plan includes, you can find all of these answers in one well-designed notebook.
My second piece of advice is to read David Allen’s Getting Things Done and implement his system. Instead of dragging a large filing cabinet around with you, though, I suggest using a portable file case. A concise review of the system and how it can be applied to a college student’s needs can be found on the Colorado College website here.
My final piece of advice is to review my previous post on which papers to keep and which to shred. You’ll want to additionally keep all handouts and assignments for the duration of a class. After the class is completed and you have your grade, based on the course’s relevance to your major and the likelihood that you’ll have the instructor again, you’ll need to evaluate all of the papers from the class. You may choose to keep nothing but the course syllabus. You will want to keep syllabi until after you graduate and land your first job. If you transfer schools or if your first employer asks about the content of a class, the information contained in syllabi is invaluable.
Good luck to Cody and all of our other readers who are heading back to school in the next few weeks. Also, if any of our readers have suggestions for ways to handle collegiate paperwork, please feel welcome to add them in the comments section.