How Do You Keep Track of Classes and Assignments in College?

Published: Thursday, 16 July 2015 Written by Dawn Marcotte

(This is #3 in a series.)

Me: Do you have any homework tonight?

My Teen: Um, I'm not sure, I don't think so.

Me: signs heavily

Does this sound familiar to you?

As the parent of a teen who never seems to know what is due or when, I am concerned about what will happen in college in a few years. She won't have teachers constantly reminding her about getting her work in.

As a result I was very interested in hearing what college students had to say in response to the question:

How Do You Keep Track of Classes and Assignments?

The methods seemed to be divided into 2, paper and electronic with a daily planner and Google Calendar being the clear favorites.

Keeping track of classes and assignments is vital to success in college. Since this kind of organization is often a struggle for autistic students, who may not have the executive function of their peers, having a plan and following it is crucial.

"I always print off my schedule at the beginning of the year and check it often. I try to write things down as much as possible. I forget to, but usually I remember before the due date."

"I have a Microsoft word doc which I keep open all of the time when I'm awake, which has a day by day schedule about a week in advance. I put in classes, due dates for assignments, blocks of time when I need to work on them, chores, that kind of thing. It's a habit to check it when I first get up by now."

"I kept a giant daily planner that I wrote in and checked religiously. For me, keeping my schedule tight and planning things like snacks and study/homework time meant that I never felt confused or overwhelmed about what to do or where to go."

Several students mentioned a problem with using a paper system such as a notebook or planner exclusively - when they lost the planner. This problem was remedied by many students actually use more than one method at a time:

"Whiteboard with assignments, calendar with deadlines and events."

"I start the semester by plugging everything into Google Calendar and setting up phone alerts. I also make a to-do list with relevant upcoming dates at the beginning of every week, which lives on paper in my notebook and on a whiteboard in my home office. "

"Write everything down and have alarms on my phone,"

Several students indicated they have help with their organization:

"Google calendar, supported by my process tutor who helps me make sure I'm paying attention to due dates and such."

"I have my parents keep a copy of my schedule and my own copy on a notebook as well."

Several students take advantage of the school's tracking system:

"Most of my classes have homework and resources online, so I checked them every day to keep track of my assignments."

"Iphone calendar alerts and synching technology and the college's homework app."

Several students highlighted the importance of having a system to keep track.

"I didn't (keep track) and often had to drop classes."

"I'm a mess. Sometimes I miss my deadlines because it is very difficult to keep track and be organized."

"In high school, I would do it by memory. I was able to because I was going to the class every day and every day we were reminded that the assignment would be due at a certain time. At college I wasn't able to. Too many things to check, write down, keep track of, complete, turn in, remember. Too overwhelming."


It is clear from the responses that having a system that works for that student is vital. Waiting until they start attending college is a bad time to create a plan.

• Practice using a paper planner in high school to track assignments - college may not have an electronic system

• Try using a whiteboard/ large calendar in a central area to track family activities - this is good practice in tracking multiple items.

• Review the planner together at least weekly to verify the student is recording what they need.

• Add study time and relaxation time into the planner, then monitor to make sure they follow through

• Include any other 'to do' type of items in the planner.

Review how well the system is working at least monthly and make adjustments as needed. If a paper planner doesn't work, try an electronic calendar, excel spreadsheet or whatever the student is comfortable using.

Having a system they are familiar with and able to use before they start college is one less 'new' stress to deal with on day one.


Do you want to see all of the responses?  Click below.






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