Every student needs this college assignment tracker!
College assignments are such a headache! That’s why I made a college assignment tracker. This semester, though it feels late in the game as I will graduate this year, I decided to start the semester off right. To do this I created an assignment and readings spreadsheet to track the due dates of all my assignments and what I should be reading each day for each class. I’m going to share how I designed my assignment and reading tracker.
I got the idea for a college assignment tracker from Kirsten at Organized Charm and Dani at Dani Dearest. I think it’s amazing, however I changed it a little to fit my style and to include a reading tracker. As an English Major I read about 200 or more pages a week. Let me show and explain how I made and am using my assignment tracker.
NOTE: Set aside about 2 or 3 hours your first weekend back to school to go through your syllabuses and to set up the assignment spreadsheet.
STEP ONE: Gather Your Syllabuses and Highlighters
The first step in making an assignment or reading tracker is to gather all of your class schedules and syllabuses. Go through each one, highlighting all big assignments like papers or tests. Once you’ve highlighted the important due dates and assignments then you’ve done one of the hardest parts.
STEP TWO: Create and Format your Spreadsheet
Create an Excel spreadsheet. Mine has four columns: Due Date, Class, Assignment and Points. This setup works best for me. I went through each syllabus and added the assignments. Once you made your spreadsheet begin to add your assignments. As I mentioned, I have a separate sheet for Assignments and another for Readings. With so many readings and assignments it felt to overwhelming the other way.
STEP THREE: Organize your Spreadsheet
I recommend adding your assignments or readings by date and then if you have another assignment on the same date or a previous date just click the insert row button. For me this was the easiest way to do it, though Kirsten and Dani both suggest the AZ Sort function. I organize my sheet by month, but you might find it easier to organize by class or even week. For my reading list I added an extra row between each week just so it felt more manageable.
STEP FOUR: Print & Staple
Once you’ve filled in your assignments check the print preview and make sure it all fits width wise on one sheet. You may have to play with font types or sized and the size of the columns until you get it just right. On my Readings sheet I deleted the Completed column because the readings are so long. In the end this worked out better as it is very easy to just highlight completed readings and the page doesn’t look super overwhelming.
You can also use it only on your computer or tablet. Microsoft makes an Excel for the iPad that I find easy to use and there is Google Sheets. These are both great options if you don’t want to print and keep track of your sheets as a hard copy or if you may have to add or change your sheets often.
Here are a few final tips:
- Make the time to setup your college assignment tracker. Sure, it is tedious, but 2 or 3 hours at the beginning of the semester is worth it when you think of all the studying, reading and assignments you have to do over the semester. Being prepared now will help you considerably later in the semester.
- Actually use your assignment tracker! This is a big point for me, because why go through the trouble of making a tracker if you don’t plan to keep up with it. I can tell you honestly that in the three weeks I’ve been in school this semester I have seen a major improvement in my stress level about assignments and readings.
- Don’t go crazy with highlighting or color coding. I considered coloring coding my spreadsheet, but decided it against it because with five classes and five colors the sheets would just become overwhelming and pointless in relieving stress about my assignments. Instead just make sure to mark what course each reading or assignment is for and then use a highlighter when completed or use the strikethrough option if you’re keeping a virtual copy.
- Adjust the format to fit your classes and style. There are many ways to set one of these up, just find what works for you. The only thing that matters is that you stick with it. This can’t work unless you make sure to use it. I’ve seeing a great improvement in my stress, time management and grades since creating and using my sheets.
- Only put the most necessary information on your tracker. Page numbers and due dates are important. School holidays like Spring or Fall break are important or if you’re on a quarter instead of semester schedule, those dates are important. Sorority, work, club or other types of events? Those are probably best left for your day planner.
Are you going to make a college assignment tracker? Share you experience with me!