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Perhaps the most important skill that a college student needs to be successful is the ability to manage out of class time effectively.
Most college students these days led very structured lives while in high school, taking full course loads and pursuing a lot of extracurriculars like sports and music that kept them (and their parents)  hopping in and out of the car from one event to the next. Time-management skills are perhaps some of the most useful in the real world and yet we do not teach time-management. How can we incorporate a little time-management training into our introductory level courses? After you hand back the first major assignment, many of your students might be a bit surprised that those 100% or A+ are fewer and harder to come by in college than they were in high school. This entry was posted in College advising, college teaching, motivation to learn, science education, Study skills, teaching and tagged effortful learning, Giving college advice, Study advice, teaching ideas by Kathleen Susman. Time in the evening, time on weekends, time during study week and final exams, small pockets of time during a class day. Then, suddenly, with the college course load of no more than five classes and no longer having all the extracurricular commuting time, time seems plentiful.
I think mid-semester is a great time to consider spending a little class time on these skills.
The  rule of thumb (I have no idea where it came from!) is that you should spend three hours out of class for each hour in class. My advice for students is that they should spend a bit of time each and every day on each and every course.

Talk with your students about the importance of the quality of the time they set aside for studying.
New students in particular, with only about 16 hours or so in class a week (sometimes only one class in a day!), may find themselves wondering how to fill up all those hours. Like learning a language or musical instrument, exercising your brain with different types of course material really helps with mastery. Think about the size of each assignment in terms of how much time and effort it will take to complete and then budget your time. If that time is from 2AM to 5 AM, the quality of the time might not be so good in terms of actually being productive and successful. Sleeping schedules begin to get erratic, socializing late into the night begins to take on new importance. If that time occurs in a loud space where a party is going on, where loud music is playing, where friends are chatting with you, the learning experience is not as optimal. I don’t think most students are prepared for the effects of this sudden lifestyle change on their study habits. That individual might be part of an Academic Resources center like our Teaching and Learning Center. Does that really mean that you need to spend 21 hours a week on biology out of class, for a whopping total of 28 hours a week on one course? How much time you allocate each day will depend on how much time you have available and what assignments are on the horizon.

Let’s say that a student has a problem set in math due each Wednesday, a chemistry pre-lab write up due each Thursday, a Blog entry due each Wednesday and a five page paper due on a particular Friday. Finding a quiet space, turning off social media, working at times when you are rested and alert. Just imagine if all our students were prepared for class and had learned the material well!
What about a philosophy course that meets two hours a week but that assigns 100 pages of complex reading for each class meeting? Spend more time on days when you have a light course load, less on days you are in class more. The rule of thumb is something to announce to get the point across that if you are spending a TOTAL of 15 hours a week in class (as an example), you ought to expect to spend about 45 hours or so outside of class on studying.
We seem to just assume that our students either possess these skills already or that they will somehow just learn them by osmosis.

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