The major thing different in college classes from high school classes is the syllabus. I don’t know about you, but my syllabus in high school was always pointless. It always stated the same grading scale, the same attendance policy, and the same general information about every class.
In college, it’s different. Some professors put some assignments on the syllabus and then never speak of them again. No reminders the day before it’s due, no mentioning it in class, nothing. You need to be on top of your own work.. and I love that.
I have to admit, it was a little intimidating at first… but then I found this idea for an assignment planner by Kirsten at Organized Charm. I loved it.
So this idea was 100% from her. I changed it a tiny bit to fit me, but not much.
First, I gathered all of my class syllabus’ (syllabi?) together and highlighted all the important dates: due dates, exams, field trips, whatever I had to remember.
I opened up Microsoft Excel (this can also be done in Google Drive Spreadsheets if you do not have Microsoft Excel) and made a spreadsheet with 3 columns.
1 for the due date, 1 for the class, and 1 for the assignment.
Below that I merged the row together and wrote the first month. Then I skipped about 10 rows and wrote the next month.. and repeated until all the months for the term were on there.
Then I began to write in the dates for each class. I started with one class and added in each assignment under the month that it was due. In the assignment section I made sure that I was short and sweet, so that it didn’t grow too big.
Go class by class so that you don’t get overwhelmed with having to go day by day.
Once you’ve entered in all the assignments, arrange them by due date. If you’re not computer or spreadsheet savvy, this one might get a little confusing for you so I’ve laid it out in small steps below.
1) Highlight the Area
Click on the cell in the top right corner of the month (the first due date) and drag until you have selected all the assignments, classes, and due dates for that month.
2) Click the A-Z Button
Click on the button on your toolbar that says A-Z. There should then be a menu telling you a variety of different things. The most common is that it will say sort it A-Z (alphabetically) but that is not what you want to do. If it already says to sort smallest to largest, just click that and you’re done. If it does not, then click on the custom sort button.
3) Custom Sort: Smallest to Largest
When you click on the custom sort button, this box should pop up. Simply select to sort column A (your due date column) by smallest to largest and press ok!
Then your month should be all sorted out by due date! Nice and easy 🙂
Go on and select the rest of the months and do it again one at a time.
Now that you’ve made the spreadsheet, how do you use it?
I have mine taped up right next to my desk. When I start an assignment I highlight it in yellow. When I finish an assignment I highlight over the yellow highlight in orange. Then when I turn the assignment in I cross it out with a black pen. This way I can keep track of every step of the process.
Using this spreadsheet has already saved my grade, and I’m only 6 weeks into the semester! I was leaving for my morning class and I wanted to make sure that I had finished any homework due for that day, so I glanced at my assignment planner before I left. Turns out I had done the homework for that class, but I hadn’t done the homework for the one after it! It was an assignment that my professor had put up on the syllabus but had not mentioned anything of it in class. It was a very simple task, so I did it while I was waiting for my first class to start.
Turns out that everyone in that class forgot to do it, except me! Luckily I had the time to remind a couple of my friends in that class to get it done, and they were able to turn it in on time.
Since I made this planner one of my roommates has stolen the idea as well and made it her own. She doesn’t print it out, just keeps it as a spreadsheet on her computer, and strikes it off digitally every time she completes an assignment.
This spreadsheet is only one of the ways that I make sure I’m on top of my work. My main source of school organization is my planner, but my favorite? My post-it note calendar. I absolutely love my post-it note calendar.. but that I’ll be saving till next time!
What do you do to stay organized for school? Tell me about it in the comments and maybe I’ll try it out!
Tagged on: Academics assignment planner assignment spreadsheet blogging101 college craft diy do it yourself high school highlighter how to life my desk organize planner productivity schedule school spreadsheet university
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DaniOctober 8, 2014College, My Desk, Organization + Planning, Organize, Tech
Formatting and presenting your assignments
Formatting and presenting your assignment correctly is important because almost all assignments include marks for presentation.
This may include marks for things such as formatting and layout, word count, APA referencing, writing style, grammar and spelling.
Before you start your assignment:
- Check your learning materials, the course page, emails from your lecturer or the assignment question for how it should be presented.
- Read the instructions carefully, and make sure you understand them and follow them exactly.
- If you’re not clear about what’s required email your lecturer. You could phone but it’s better to have a record of the answer.
Some lecturers assume that students will know how to present work of the required standard or quality and don’t give specific instructions. If this is the case, follow the general guidelines below.
General guidelines for electronic submissions
- Most assignments need should be written using MS Word. If you don’t have MS Word go to Office 365 in My Open Polytechnic to download and access your free version.
- Assignments can be submitted one of the following file formats: .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx or .rtf.
- Do not submit html files, web pages, CAD files, Visio (.vsd), PowerPoint (.ppt), PDF s (.pdf) or zip files unless these are specifically required for your course.
If you're not sure about the file format required contact your lecturer.
- Use a clear, readable, sans serif font such as Verdana, Calibri, Tahoma or Arial, and be consistent and use the same font throughout.
- Use black text on a white background. Avoid coloured backgrounds or text in a colour other than black unless you have special permission to use them (for example, if you're dyslexic).
- Use 11 or 12 point for the body of your assignment.
- Use 1.5 or double spacing and fairly wide margins. This leaves room for the marker’s comments.
- Leave a blank line between paragraphs.
- If the questions are short, leave a blank line between each question. If they are long, start each question on a new page.
- Left-justify your work (also known as left-aligned). Block-justified (flush left and right) might look tidy, but it’s harder to read as it can result in gaps between words.
- Use bold for headings. Not underlining or italics.
- Essays do not usually require subheadings; reports usually do.
Most assignments require a title page, which should include the following:
- the title and number of the assignment
- the course number and name
- the due date
- your full name and student number.
This information should be centered, starting approximately one third of the way down the page.
- Number all pages except the title page.
- Tables and figures must be numbered and clearly labelled. Table captions are placed above the table, while captions for a figures go below the figure.
- Don't number the items in a reference list.
Headers and footers
Insert a header or footer on each page (except the title page). It should contain:
- your name (last name, first name/s)
- your student number
- the course number
- the assignment number
- the page number.
Include a word count (the number of words in your assignment) at the end of the assignment, before the references and appendices. Your assignment should not more than 10% under or over the prescribed word count. Remember that the title/title page, reference list and appendices are not included in the word count.
Word count calculator - Massey University website (opens in a new window)
The reference list comes at the end of the assignment, and should start on a new page labelled 'References'.
Referencing and avoiding plagiarism
Appendices are used for information that:
- is too long to include in the body of your assignment, or
- supplements or complements the information you are providing.
Start each appendix (if applicable) on a new page. If there's just one appendix label it ‘Appendix’ without a number, but if there are more than one label them Appendix A, Appendix B, etc. In the main text of your assignment, refer to the Appendix by the label, e.g. Appendix A.
Tops and bottoms of pages
Check the top and bottom of your pages to ensure they avoid:
- widows - single lines of text at the top of a page
- orphans - first lines of paragraphs at the bottom of a page
- tombstones - headings or subheadings alone at the bottom of a page
- split lists – lists that are divided between two pages (if possible).
General guidelines for hard copies
Most of the guidelines above also apply to hard copies (printed or hand-written documents). There are also a few additional things to note.
Some courses allow handwritten answers, but make sure you check with your lecturer to make sure this is acceptable. When submitting a handwritten assignment:
- Print or write on white A4 paper on one side only, using a blue or black pen.
- Write legibly – if a marker can’t read what you’ve written, your answer might as well be wrong.
- If you make a mistake, use correction fluid or draw a neat line through the mistake.
- If there are too many mistakes and your work looks messy, rewrite it.
- Use a ruler for tables and graphs.
- Underline headings.
Stapling your assignment
- Staple multi-page assignments in the top left corner only.
- Don’t put your assignment in a plastic folder.
- Attach an 'Assessment Return Sheet' (coversheet) to you assignment. (If you don't have one Contact us).
Submitting your assignments
Types of assignments
What lecturers want in your assignments