The list of things that colleges look for in applicants can be overwhelming. Top grades, hard classes, top test scores – all of these things take time! Not to mention a busy after school schedule with a variety of extracurricular activities.
It’s no surprise, then, that lots of students wonder how on earth they are supposed to balance hours. There’s homework, test prep, club meetings, and team practices with pesky little things like sleep and a social life.
So what can you do if your after school schedule sucks?
Strong time management skills are the only way to keep everything balanced. Keep reading for some tips to help you take control of your schedule.
To Do Lists
Before you go to bed at night, make a list of things you need to do the next day. Your to do list needs at least a few things you actually want to do. That keeps it from just being a list of chores. For some people, just being able to cross things off your list is reward enough, but you might want to think about giving yourself some more tangible rewards, too. On days when you clear off your entire list, treat yo’ self. Give yourself a half hour of video game time, your favorite candy bar, or a new eye shadow – whatever might make you feel good about finishing the day strong.
Always Have Some Work on You
Keep a text book, your computer, or some flashcards with you at all times. That way, you can make the most of any down-time. If you find yourself with fifteen minutes to kill, you can study some biochem terms or read through part of a textbook chapter. Every little bit counts, and your efforts will add up.
Make a Schedule and Stick to It
Each weekend, write down your schedule for the next week. Don’t forget to include all of your extracurricular activities, any social events, daily study time, and your C2 classes or other test prep time. Be reasonable – nothing will ruin a carefully planned schedule faster than an overly stuffed one.
It’s really easy to get side-tracked, and every time you get side-tracked, you end up wasting time. If you think that English homework should take you an hour but it ends up taking you almost two hours, really think about how you spent that time: Did you sit down and focus on your homework the whole time, or did you find yourself responding to text messages, checking your Instagram updates, or running downstairs for snacks?
The Power of “No”
Sometimes you just have to say “no.” If your debate partner wants to get together to work on your case but you’ve got three tests to study for, it’s okay to say “no.” If your best friend wants to catch a movie but you’re just exhausted, it’s okay to take a nap instead.
As long as you have a packed schedule, it’s going to be tough to strike a good balance. But with some good time management skills and a little practice, you can make even the busiest after school schedule workable.