Tips for Time Management from the Best Colleges and Universities in the U.S.

Frustrated high school student

One of the key reasons why a family chooses to forgo the traditional, brick-and-mortar educational system is flexibility – the desire to pursue an education on their own schedule and their own terms.

Online education is not, however, a quick and easy shortcut! With freedom and flexibility comes great responsibility.

When your child attends an online private school like The Keystone School, he or she is still responsible for completing the necessary coursework. He or she is still responsible for reaching out to teachers and faculty for help.  And, he or she is still responsible for hitting certain deadlines.

And you – as the parent and learning coach – are still responsible for making sure your student is getting his or her work done.

Time management becomes a crucial skill. When the moment comes to buckle down and learn, your child must do the work.

Need help? Consider these tips for time management from some of the top colleges and universities in the United States – highly-charged, hyper-competitive environments where every minute of studying counts.

Make Studying Social

The admissions department at Harvard[1] understands that a student may want to put off studying because your child would rather socialize. There’s no reason she can’t do both.

Studying with friends gives your child a chance to catch up with her peers, have a few laughs and avoid suffering from FOMO – fear of missing out. At the same time, she has a ready made group to ask questions, find inspiration and debate interpretations.

These study get-togethers also offer you, as a parent, a chance to meet other parents and do a little socializing of your own while the kids dig into their coursework.

Plan and Prioritize

Stanford Undergrad, a guide published by the vice provost for undergraduate education at Stanford University,[2] acknowledges that time management is one of the toughest jobs that incoming students will face at the school.

That’s why young learners are advised to be realistic about their workload; to plan out their week to hit deadlines; prioritize their most important work; and pursue healthy eating and sleeping habits. Good advice for all of us!

Divide Up Your Work to Avoid Procrastination

At Columbia University[3], students are warned about the dangers of procrastination. There’s nothing worse than the overwhelming feeling that there’s too much work to do and not enough time to get it all done!

By dividing projects into a series of smaller projects, knocking out small tasks every day and sticking to a schedule, your child can steer clear of unproductive all-nighters and last-minute cramming.

See the Big Picture

Sometimes, with so many micro-tasks, assignments and other day-to-day minutiae in a student’s path, it’s tough to see the end goal. The Academic Resource Center at Duke University[4] advises students to “get the big picture” at the start of the school year. This includes:

  • Creating an overview of all classes and assignments. Make sure your child looks through all of the course material and understands how much work will be involved to successfully complete their studies. This alone can be a nice reality check.
  • Make a monthly planner. Notice that this is a common theme – plan, plan, plan. Duke recommends setting goals for each month (as well as each week).
  • Set realistic goals. Another popular recommendation. A realistic goal is completing a tough project over a period of two weeks. An unrealistic goal is waiting to knock it out over a weekend.
  • Plan to meet with instructors. This is particularly valuable for students and parents of students at online schools like Keystone, where instructor outreach must be initiated. Teachers and advisors want to help! Make sure your family uses them as resources.

Build on Your Successes, Don’t Dwell on Your Failures

According to the Academic Skills Center at Dartmouth University,[5] dwelling on mistakes is a time-wasting activity. If your child gets a bad grade on an assignment, discuss it, make sure she learns from the mistake and then moves on. When your young learner does especially well, retrace the path she took and try to identify ways to relive that success.

Use All Seven Days of the Week

The MIT Center for Academic Excellence[6] recommends that when you and your child create an schoolwork schedule, use all seven days of the week. A little each day goes a long way, and helps to prevent procrastination.

Looking for a different kind of educational experience for your children?

Do you think your child would thrive in a freer, more flexible educational environment? Learn more about The Keystone School today.


[1] “5 Protips for Time Management at Harvard”

[2] “How Do I Manage My Time?”

[3] “Go Ask Alice: Time Management”

[4] “Effective Time Management,”

[5] “Managing Time,”

[6] “Time Management: Using Your Class Syllabus and Other Information to Build an Effective Semester Schedule”


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