Time Management Skills

Tips from EWU Counseling & Wellness Services

March 31, 2022
Picture: Outdoor study group

Transitioning from high school to college can be challenging. Often the transition from living with your family to essentially living on your own can have an even greater impact on a new college student’s ability to manage their time. Flexible class schedules, little structure to sleep and wake times, and no adult supervision are just a few things that make time management difficult in college. Regularly checking in with your college student can help hold them accountable even though they may not live with you. Create a routine of calling/texting them at a designated day or time each week to ask them how things are going. Encourage dialogue with open-ended questions such as “tell me about your classes” rather than “are classes going well”?  When speaking with them elicit conversations about managing their time and priorities and use some of the following tips if needed:

1.)   Use Technology for Good

Smartphones can be a great time manager if used appropriately. Your student can utilize apps, calendars, reminders, and timers to create self-discipline and help remember due dates and important deadlines. Often computers, tablets, and phones can be organized to minimize distractions such as social media.

2.)   Record all Due Dates and Deadlines

At the beginning of the term, encourage your student to use the syllabus to write down all dates and deadlines of assignments and exams. This can be done electronically or manually on a planner, dry erase calendar, or whatever means they find the most helpful. Knowing what is coming up will help your student be better prepared.

3.)   Breakdown your Workload and Take Breaks

Encourage your student not to pull an all-nighter and to take breaks while studying or preparing for large exams. Set a timer for 25 minutes and work with no distractions, after the timer take a 5- or 10-minute break and repeat this as many times as needed.

4.)   Keep Health in Mind

Practicing good sleep habits, healthy eating, regular exercise, and self-care can result in a more engaged mind when doing required schoolwork. Ask your student if there is anything you can do to help with these areas. Get Connected is a great resource to get more involved on campus, make connections, and get help personally or academically among other things. Wellbeing Coaching is another resource that can help students set goals related to improving their overall well-being.

5.)   Ask for Help

If your student is feeling overwhelmed—assure them that it is okay to ask for help. Being a college student is tough enough without added stress. Help can look different depending on their needs. Counseling & Wellness Services (CWS) offers brief, individual counseling for students. Program Leading to University Success (PLUS) has tutoring and academic coaching. The already listed Get Connected page could also be helpful. Student Accommodations and Support Services (SASS) is another avenue for students who may need accommodations or support. Eastern Washington University wants your student to succeed-encourage them to reach out!


Finding balance as a college student is possible with support and guidance. A parent can play a unique role in helping guide a student through their college experience while also encouraging them to become an independent adult. Be the calm for your student in a sometimes chaotic schedule by encouraging some of the above tips.

Counseling & Wellness Services
Counseling Office: 225 Martin Hall
Wellness Office: 201 URC