How to manage workload in college and improve grades?

<p>Everyone on this site seems like a high-achiever of sorts so I hope this is the right place to ask for tips.</p>

<p>I had no clue what I wanted to study after HS. I considered Architecture but turned down prestigious programs because I wasn't sure about that career. I picked a large private college on scholarship instead, because of the variety of majors ofered. My freshmen year I sampled mostly humanities and social science classes, plus gen eds - I did pretty well. Soph year my grades slipped a lot, and I have to repeat some classes....due to several reasons:
- I was living at home to help take care of my mom, who was very sick with lymphoma...I was busy with family obligations and commuting from far away
- My attitude toward college changed: I lost my focus, became lazy, had personal issues I won't discuss online
- I took harder classes - no gen eds, lots of weedout math/sci courses instead of small freshmen-seminar classes
- I was working longer hours and stupidly thought I could handle more than I could</p>

<p>Junior year I need to bring my grades up. The good news is I finally settled on a (science) major I genuinally like and I'm excited to pursue it more, and want to do research next summer. But this major happens to have a ton of requirements and I'll have to take a difficult courseload of 16-18 credits of math/science classes from now on (the norm here is 16). </p>

<p>My life will be less hectic this year: I'm not working next semester (I'll have my summer savings), my family situation is different since my mom passed away 3 months ago. I'm more focused now that I finally know what I want to study. Any tips on studying, time management, raising grades, etc?</p>

<p>I'd consider taking summer classes to ease the workload. 16-18 classes is just going to be very hard to manage for anyone, let alone someone who is trying to re-establish good study habits.</p>

<p>I'm so sorry to hear about your mother.</p>

<p>I understand your wanting to get focused now; I totally dropped the bomb last spring, and I'm using fall to officially get into the swing of college. What I've done now is set up documents on Microsoft OneNote (any program works, really) where I plan to type notes after handwriting them during lecture so that I'm forced to review them. I also have a spreadsheet with every day of the year written so I can write in due dates as soon as I get the syllabus for each class. Also reading a bunch of "How to Succeed in College" books since I love reading about this stuff. Lastly, I've completely organized my Google calendar: I have every class inserted for the semester, and then I scheduled study time and exercise since those are the two things I want to make sure I have time for. Once fall comes, I plan on mapping out each week on Sundays so that I know what I need to get done and how much time I may need.</p>

<p>Maybe one of those things will give you some ideas...?</p>

<p>Study</a> Hacks <---Make him your best friend. Also consider buying Cal Newport's books on studying.</p>

<p>@ArtemisDea: I'm taking 1 class this summer, but unfortunately my major's dept doesn't offer summer classes. I've already taken the larger intro courses (which are the ones available during summer). All classes for my major have to be taken at my college and classes at different colleges only count toward electives. But 18 credits isn't too much at my college because 16 is the norm and often science lab are their own 1 credit course (so for science and engineering students 17-18 is normal - in colleges where 14 is the standard 18 would obviously be more worrisome).</p>

<p>@AtomicCafe: That's such a good idea, because I always procrastinate...what I should do is review my notes soon after lecture. In class I usually scrawl down problems messily and then later I look back and forget what I was even doing because it's messy and rushed.</p>

<p>@Plattsburgh: Thanks, I've seen other people reccommend Newport as well - which do you think is the better book, How to be an A Student or How to Win at College? I think the former makes more sense since Amazon review indicates the last one is advice on how to pick your major and other stuff whereas I just need study advice.</p>

<p>For studying, I'd stick with How to be an A Student. He also puts a lot of study tips on his blog too.</p>