Advice for CSCU students: manage your time, earn better grades

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This fall approximately 28,674 students will be entering and or returning to our Connecticut State University System.  For example, about 960 freshmen will be entering Eastern Connecticut State University the last week of August.   These first time students will face new and exciting times. They will also encounter challenges, such as stress and anxiety.

One of the main ways for them to reduce stress and anxiety is to manage their time effectively. In addition, research has shown that students who manage their time effectively earn better grades than students who do not ().

Professors can teach new students to discipline themselves regarding time-management.  This instruction takes approximately 20 minutes. I begin new semesters by instructing students that they must plan to study approximately two hours for every hour spent in class. This may seem overwhelming for many students.

A visual aid can assist students with this task.  First, I pass out a paper chart with the seven days listed vertically down the left side and the hours of the day listed horizontally across the top.  I also project this chart on the board.  I tell students to take a picture of the chart with their smartphones.  This way they will be able to print copies.

Second, students fill in the cells associated with class times for each course.  Third, students fill in cells associated with study hours for each course. Finally, times for the other activities associated with the college experience (e.g., club activities, time with friends, etc.) are incorporated.  I emphasize that this is a tentative schedule. Students will adjust their schedules weekly as the semester progresses.  I also encourage students to visit me for additional help, ideas,  and clarification.

Once students complete their charts and see their schedules on paper, they realize that their schedules are not overwhelming, but manageable. This practice also acts as a motivator. When students earn good grades because of their hard work, they will be motivated to continue to follow and adjust their schedules throughout their college experience.  This benefit is the direct result of the discipline students developed by managing their time effectively.

C. Kevin Synnott, Ph.D., is on the faculty at Eastern Connecticut State University.

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