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10 College Organization Tips You Need to Know

Attention, all college students: These helpful organization tips are must-knows to kick butt in the classroom this semester. Whether you're a freshman just starting out or a senior hoping to survive your last year, read on. These 10 tricks will keep you sane this semester so you can make the grade.

Keep a planner.

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Start the semester right by investing in a well-organized planner and taking the time to use it. This is one of the most effective ways to stay on top of your assignments, because let's face it, it's much easier to tackle tasks that are written down. Choose one with month-by-month views, which are great for scheduling ahead, and day-by-day views so you can write daily to-do lists.

Vera Bradley Agenda, $25

Color-code with pens.

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Color-coordinate by priority (low, medium, high) or category (school, work, social). Either way, using different colored pens makes an agenda more fun to look at, and dedicating specific colors to specific items will help you prioritize your to-do list more effectively.

Poppin Assorted Gel Ink Pens, $9


Note important dates.

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At the beginning of each semester, use your syllabi to write a chronological list of important due dates on a piece of paper so you have them all in one place. Keep the list somewhere you will see it every day—like pinned up by your desk—to motivate yourself and avoid procrastination.

Paper Source Notepad, $8.95


Organize with your computer.

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If you find the month-by-month view of your planner is getting cramped or it's tedious to write out your class schedule each week, turn to Google Calendar to plan recurring events, like weekly class and meeting times. Another way to use your computer for organization is by creating folders for each college course at the beginning of a semester. You can add all course folders to a folder labeled with the semester and year, like "Fall 2014."

Photo: Shutterstock

Find the right bag.

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Carrying around a laptop is common on a college campus, so choose a bag that can fit your computer, along with your other daily essentials. One with several compartments will come in handy for keeping your pens, pencils, and other must-have products organized, and opt for a bag with water-bottle pockets help keep drinks mess-free.

Herschel Supply Co. Backpack, $100


Use binders instead of notebooks.

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Ditch using five notebooks and five folders for five classes to avoid the dreaded day when you're at the library with the wrong notebook—it's bound to happen at least once. An easy way to always have what you need is to use a large binder instead. Fill the binder with a folder for each class, and then distribute loose-leaf paper throughout. If you find you take more notes in one class than another, you can easily add or remove paper to sections as needed.

Vera Bradley Three Ring Binder, $12


Store essentials in a wristlet.

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To organize essentials like keys, a school I.D., and debit or credit cards, choose a stylish wristlet with a key ring and card slots. These are small, convenient and can be carried on their own or in a bag.

Fossil Wristlet, $40


Start a portfolio early on.

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Keep your best work together and interview-ready by organizing it into a portfolio, complete with an updated resumé. Doing this early will save you the stress of throwing one together at the last minute, because in college you never know when an amazing opportunity might pop up.

Gallery Leather Presentation Binder, $26


Keep documents safe in a file folder.

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With separated compartments, an accordion-type expanding file folder allows you to label each pocket and organize bills, receipts, instructions for electronics, and other important documents so you can keep them easily accessible.

Smead Accordion Expanding File, $27.20


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