Today’s college first-years face many of the same challenges students have for generations: getting organized and staying focused, balancing studies and social life, managing personal finances for the first time, feeling lonely or homesick… Navigating this transition can be difficult, rewarding, scary, and sometimes even funny for parents. Yes, your role as a parent will change, but they still need you and your support. And it’s crucial to set your high school grad up for success.
Your kid’s college experience will have a lasting impact not only on their eventual career but also on their overall approach to work-life balance. With the right tools and your guidance, they can learn to organize, assess, and prioritize their tasks. Being organized means being in control, and not only will this reduce stress and anxiety, it will increase efficiency, raise productivity, and create clutter-free zones, both mentally and physically.
Introduce the importance of time management and planning
For most students, college is their first exposure to real independence. New social activities, the excitement of friends and dorm life, and similar distractions can be overwhelming, especially when trying to focus on classes. That makes proper planning and time management a vital component of a successful college experience, and like so much else, those skills take practice.
Indeed, proper time management can be a problem for students because the realities of campus life present endless distractions. It’s not unusual for a student’s schedule to be a giant mess. Reviewing basic time-management strategies is a good place to start: helping your college first-year plan their days, prioritize their activities, and allot the proper amount of time for each task. Setting and keeping schedules, planning for daily tasks, and establishing priorities will help your grad manage their time more efficiently.
Power Tip: Tasks in Evernote connect the things you have to do with the information you need to do them. Using Tasks, students can prioritize to-dos at the beginning of each day, create reminders and assign flags to stay on track, and access everything they need in Evernote.
Teach your child how to be financially responsible
A recent study of over 2000 college students indicated that parent teaching is particularly important to the development of students’ financial habits in adulthood. Before leaving for campus, talk with your student about proper financial management.
Discuss what their budget will be, how they will pay for various items (cash, debit card, credit card), and how to save while keeping track of finances. Many students may be unaware of the ‘hidden costs’ of college. Talk with them in detail about who is expected to pay for which expenses. This includes tuition, room & board, books, supplies, cable, parking, extra food, entertainment, insurance, or phone bill.
Even better, introduce the concept of money management much earlier. Most teenagers get their first appreciable experience handling money in high school, an excellent grounding for the financial responsibilities of college. Discussions about family finances will give your student valuable insight into managing money and set clear expectations. Parents can help by getting students into the habit of being financially responsible by teaching them how to build a basic step-by-step budget. Also consider the following:
- Let them budget for the weekly family supermarket visit or major purchase.
- Let them work with you on paying the monthly family bills.
- Talk with them about their college financial aid package.
- Review a credit card and bank statement together.
Power Tip: Save relevant finance-related documents and information in Evernote. Then create notebook stacks or organize the financial data with tags, adopting a structure that works for your student’s situation. Additionally, the Monthly Budget Planner can help students refine their financial planning skills and carefully track their college finances.
Focus on skills for academic success
College students are expected to prioritize their studies: attend classes, fulfill coursework, and meet the demands required by their curriculum. That requires three specific sets of skills, all of which can be developed before classes start. Applying them will help your student stay disciplined in the face of the confusing changes that come with college life.
- Note-taking. New students need to learn how to accurately take notes during lectures and discussions, focusing on important data and prioritizing information. Encourage your student to try different formal note-taking systems and see which one suits them best.
- Studying. Students must organize notes and review them regularly. This will help them better retain the important information and be prepared to tackle exams or term papers. Students should be able to zero in on pertinent material, cite sources, and organize their findings in a coherent structure.
- Researching. Students need to know how to research assigned topics. That means selecting areas of focus for the given assignment, determining which sources provide the most reliable information, and taking and organizing notes accordingly.
Power Tip: Use Evernote to record lectures. Students can record, store, and playback audio all in the app. To make it easy to reference later, type inside Evernote as audio is recording. Then group multiple notebooks into one notebook stack per class—keeping notebooks together makes it easy to find the right info.
Power Tip: The general class note template makes taking notes a snap but there are plenty of templates to choose from. Students can also use Evernote’s Web Clipper to save entire web pages. This is especially helpful when they only have short-term access to pay-per-view journals, periodicals, and other online archives.
Make the most of college with Evernote
Your college kid has a lot of responsibilities to juggle and it can be a daunting task to keep it all together. When students use tools and technology to stay organized, it’s easier to minimize stress and focus on tasks without falling behind. The right solution can help your college kid chart new paths while managing the inevitable challenges of transitioning into adulthood. Evernote is a one-stop-shop productivity tool that college students can use to develop their time management and planning skills, empowering them to keep track of everything with notes, tasks, and schedules all in one platform.