5 Things To Do Before the Semester Starts

August is almost here which means that fall semester is just right around the corner… are you ready for it?

I found that getting prepared before syllabus week even starts makes a huge difference in keeping your semester running smoothly.

If you start the semester on top of your game and have everything ready for success it is so much easier to stay on top of your academics throughout the semester.


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  • Get your planner ready

I absolutely swear by planners. But one of the biggest parts of making a planner actually work is getting it set up. Determine what you need to put in your planner (think about things that you tend to forget to do) and then start to outline that in the planner. Experiment with what lists work for you. For my academic planner I maintained 2 coursework lists every week: Projects/tests/papers due this week and things to work on/progress on that week. I found it important to note on the second list things like “review last 2 chapters for calc” to help make sure I wasn’t cramming the week of an exam or paper.

Tip: If a project/paper/exam is due on a Monday I always liked to note on the Friday before in my planner that it was due. That helps avoid flipping to the next week on a Monday and realizing you have a test at 2pm that you are not ready for!


  • Actually read your syllabus

Don’t just glance through it. Read the syllabus. Knowing what your professor expects, what the class structure is, and when assignments are due can make or break your semester.

Knowing what it is going to take to ace a class is incredibly important for success. After reading the syllabus and asking questions if needed then you need to take two steps: 1) write them in your planner and 2) set alarms for due dates and exam times.

  • Get up early

Get into the habit now so that you have no problem getting up and ready for that 8am Monday morning class. Getting up early is generally a good habit to get into and maintain regardless of being a student but it is exceptionally important while in school. It’s so easy during the school year to sleep until noon if you don’t have classes until 2pm but getting up and getting your studying and assignments done early will help you stay on top of your academics. I advise maintaining a regular and early sleep schedule during the summer even if you don’t “need” to for a job or internship.

  • Prep your backpack

Get all your school supplies bought for the semester and loaded into your backpack. When I say prep your backpack I mean PREP everything for your backpack. Go to the grocery store and get some snacks for it. Get your pens and pencils in your pencil bag. Get everything ready so you don’t risk getting to your first class and realizing you have to borrow a pencil for the sign in sheet.

Don’t forget the less academic things. If you like to keep an essentials cosmetics bag then make sure to prep that. Also– don’t forget about chargers for your phone and laptop!

If you want to know exactly what you need for your college backpack then you need to read: College Thriving Guide: what to put in your backpack

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  • Clean your room/apartment

Nothing feels better than coming home from a long day of classes to a clean apartment. I highly advise not just catching up on laundry and dishes but really deep cleaning. Organize your closet. Bring forward the next season’s clothes. Really clean the bathroom and kitchen. While you are at it get groceries and stock up on household essentials like paper towels and toilet paper. While you have a little more time to take care of your home take advantage of it. The more you take care of now then the less things you will need to do during the school year.

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