Parents and Families

Burton Tower's Clock

Time management is one of the keys to success at college, yet many students struggle with it. LSA junior TJ Sell explains:

Time management can be so difficult in college because you now have the sole responsibility of keeping track of everything going on in your life. In high school, there are family members, teachers, high school counselors, coaches, etc. that would remind you when things are due, when practices are, and what time you have to be in class. In college, this is left up to the student.  

No matter what the class level, learning and practicing time management skills will be essential to a student’s academic and personal well-being.

Freshmen are learning for the first time how to be academically successful in college, while still enjoying a social life and may also be participating in student organizations, research or labs, and campus jobs. 

Sophomores and juniors may add on the increased workload of upper-level classes and may be involved in time-consuming leadership positions in their student organizations.

And finally, seniors could be juggling campus responsibilities with the demands of a job search or graduate/professional school applications. 

So what can you do to help your student develop a healthy and balanced use of their limited time?  

  • Encourage your student to set priorities and practice turning down some opportunities. There will always be only 24 hours in a day, so learning to prioritize is a useful tool for college and beyond. LSA senior Marissa Miars explains,

If your student is an overachiever, like I was, they will want to say yes to every opportunity given to them. Although this may seem like a good idea, it often leads to over commitment and lots of additional, unnecessary stress. When you have so many things on your plate at once, time management becomes very difficult.

  • Encourage your student to set up a daily schedule (including class time, study time, and other commitments), and actively use a planner (paper or digital) to keep track.
  • Encourage your student to make categorized to-do lists. For example, listing tasks by due date can help. Identifying what must be done today, versus what could be done tomorrow or next week can take some pressure off. 

Finally, if your student is already good at prioritizing, there may be other factors hindering time management skills such as procrastination, perfectionism, difficulty saying no to others, or too many co-curricular or social commitments.

U-M has several online resources to help students successfully manage their time. The following resources from Counseling and Psycholgical Services, University Health Service, and Services for Students with Disabilities are good places to start and may help your student (or you!) win the time management game.


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