How to Stay Organized in College


It’s a midterm season now at NYU where, as you know, I’m currently studying media and communications. Many of you asked me on Insta Stories if I can share any tips on how I’m staying productive while in college and today I decided to share my mini-guide on how to be an organized student. By any means, I’m not an expert in organizing—those are just strategies that I’m following myself throughout high school and college.

#1: Have a dedicated college bag

Things could get busy, especially during the exam season, that’s why I have a spacious backpack where I keep all of my essentials. It’s a makeup bag so I don’t have to worry about packing my beauty products when I’m running late. A pencil bag where I keep a few pens and pencils, some staples, highlighters, and a miniature stapler. And a backup charger for my phone in case I’m running out of battery.

When all of those essentials are always in my bag, all I have to worry while getting ready for the class are my textbooks and binders.

While picking your staple college bag, keep in mind the number of classes you have each day and whether you need to bring textbooks to every class you attend. Based on that, you can decide how big or small your bag should be.

In any case, I recommend picking a backpack as carrying heavy things in your tote could cause some shoulder issues in a long run. Luckily, backpacks are super trendy this season so you don’t need to sacrifice your style while keeping all of your college essentials with you.

#2: Color-code everything

It might sound a bit excessive, but at the beginning of the semester, I dedicate a specific color for each of the classes I’m taking and color code all of my college supplies accordingly.

For instance, this semester I’m taking four classes so I have four binders: pink, green, purple, and blue. I have binder dividers in the same colors and use a matching shade of a highlighter while reading for a specific class. (I purchase all of my college supplies on Amazon, which also saves you time as a student as you are getting a free two-day shipping if you are a Prime member).

I started using this technique a few years ago when I read an article by Fast Company claiming that color-coded notes help you to remember things and be more organized in general. A few years into using this technique, I have the proof that that article was right: I definitely found benefits in color-coding my college materials.

I feel that by picking a color theme for your classes you program your brain to start working on a certain mode when you see a document of a certain color. Such an approach certainly makes me a more productive student, not to mention that color-coding makes it so much easier to find the materials for each subject when you are in a hurry.


#3: Schedule everything in advance

In my professional life I’m a Google Calendar kind of girl, but for my college deadlines, I prefer having both paper and online versions of the calendar. I keep all of the notifications about homework or paper due at a dedicated Google Calendar (I named mine “College”) and have my college to-do lists in my student agenda (mine is by—it’s so cute and helpful!). When it comes to organizing my college to-do lists, I have them all in my student planner.

As you might have guests, I color-code everything on my agenda too. I use a miniature sticker dots that I place in my planner next to each class to-do list. I also use those stickers on a monthly view page of my calendar to indicate any quizzes, deadlines, or the exams I might have.

As you can see in these photos, it makes so much easier to find things related to a specific class if you have a certain color assigned to it. Again, it’s just one of those tricks that condition your brain to separate things in certain categories and thus help planning the work you need to get done.


#4: Utilize Google Drive to organize your files

Until recently I used to keep my college-related documents in a separate folder on my laptop, but this strategy proved to be counter-productive. Since I’m not bringing a laptop to my classes, sometimes I experience situations when I need to take a look at my previously submitted papers and I have to go all the way home to access those files.

Having a Google Drive set up for your college needs allows you to have all of your files available at any time—whether you are checking them out on your phone or at a college library.

Similar to my color-coordinated binders, I have a separate folder for each of my classes. Inside of each folder, I have a few sub-folders that are named according to the date of the class. Each of those sub-folders is divided into two parts: Resources and Homework.

I figured that if I organize my digital folders that way, it allows me to easily access any file that I might need throughout the semester. It might take a few minutes to organize your digital files, but trust me, you’ll thank me when the finals come and you can easily find any of the papers or presentations you created at the beginning of the semester.


#5: Create a studying routine

This tip might be the most subjective from the list, but I feel that it’s important to develop a studying routine. Saying so, I mean that you need to acquire certain habits that put you in a study mode right away. I have a few such routines.

For instance, I always write all of my papers on Monday morning as I usually take Sunday off from writing and wake up at the beginning of the workweek ready to get some college work done.

When it comes to reading, I always set up an alarm with my time blocking cube and use a highlighter of a dedicated color to this particular class. I prefer doing my research at the library where I stop by in between classes on Fridays and I proofread my papers in the morning of the day those are due.

I guess my tip here is to figure out which environmental conditions work the best for a specific studying activity you are working on and stick to it. That way, you also program your brain to start working right away instead of procrastinating before jumping on a specific project.

I hope my tips were helpful and you learned something new today. Please keep your questions going about any other college-related topics and I would be delighted to answer all of your questions in my upcoming posts.

OUTFIT DETAILS: Vera Bradley Leighton Backpack
Topshop Jersey Ruffle Sweatshirt // Plush Fleece-Lined Leggings
Zenni Optical Glossy Tortoiseshell Round Eyeglasses
Rebecca Minkoff ‘Maddox’ Buckle Bootie 



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  1. Paulina wrote:

    You are so stinking cute and beautiful, Katya! These must be one of my favorite photos of you yet!

    xoxo from Napa Valley!


    Posted 1.4.17 Reply
  2. What a great post. I need routines & organization for my everyday life even after grad..

    Posted 12.28.16 Reply
  3. Nicholle Brainard wrote:

    A study routine is always a must! Love this whole look!

    Posted 11.2.16 Reply
  4. LOVE this outfit!! and you are stunning!!

    Posted 11.1.16 Reply
  5. 30A Street Style wrote:

    These are such great tips (and cute glasses)! I absolutely LOVE color-coding my lists and calendar. It definitely helps me feel more organized. :)

    Posted 10.30.16 Reply
  6. Would have loved to have read this back while I was in school! PS: your bag & planner are just too cute!

    Alice at Lone Star Looking Glass

    Posted 10.30.16 Reply
  7. Jaime wrote:

    These are such great tips!! And I LOVE your top and backpack! So cute!!!

    Posted 10.30.16 Reply
  8. Elise wrote:

    You are so beautiful! I have the same planner – I love it. Can’t get enough of planners. I get so excited at the end of the year because I can get a new one haha. great post!

    Posted 10.29.16 Reply
  9. You are so gorgeous, and such great tips!


    Posted 10.28.16 Reply
  10. Love your outfit, girl! That backpack is so dang cute!

    xo Lacey

    Posted 10.28.16 Reply
  11. These tips are on point!!!! Developing a good organized routine is super important for school! I love everything you showed btw!!!
    Jasmine :)

    Posted 10.26.16 Reply
  12. Oooh, I don’t miss college haha! But these tips are amazing!

    xo, Alicia | Alicia Tenise

    Posted 10.26.16 Reply
  13. Audrey Stowe wrote:

    Your photos are always so stunning!!! I love that bag, need it to take to and from my classes at school too

    Posted 10.25.16 Reply
  14. Sarah Louise Zerbe wrote:

    I have that bag in brown and use it all the time so cute.

    Posted 10.25.16 Reply
  15. Taylor wrote:

    Such a great post!
    Love your backpack!

    Posted 10.24.16 Reply
  16. Amazing tips!! And I love your pink ruffle!

    Jenna from

    Posted 10.24.16 Reply
  17. Mariann Yip wrote:

    I know your post is about how to stay organized in college but I can’t get over how stunning you look in these pictures!!! I also color coded everything in college and it was such a great way to stay organized :)


    Posted 10.24.16 Reply
  18. great tips and love your bag!

    Posted 10.24.16 Reply
  19. Wish I knew these tips when I was in college! Love your outfit!


    Posted 10.24.16 Reply
  20. Krista wrote:

    I love those glasses so much! They are so chic!

    Great post love :) I am going to apply some of these to work!


    Posted 10.24.16 Reply
  21. Sara wrote:

    That is the cutest backpack!! I wish I had a stylish backpack like this when I was in school!

    Posted 10.24.16 Reply
  22. Ashley Zeal wrote:

    I wish I had this list in college! Brilliant! XooX

    Posted 10.24.16 Reply
  23. Brooke & Meggan wrote:

    First of all, you’re stunning!! And these are great tips – even for those of us who aren’t in college anymore (wish I was)! ;) xx Brooke

    Posted 10.24.16 Reply
  24. Olivia Tennant wrote:

    Google Drive totally saved me in college – especially because I was never studying in the same place!

    Posted 10.24.16 Reply
  25. Autumn Leopold wrote:

    I love this post! Great tips and gorgeous photos! Inspiring! Thanks for the resources as well.

    Posted 10.24.16 Reply
  26. These are such useful tips! Google Drive has become one of my favorite tools now that I’m in school because, like you said, it makes it easier to access your files wherever you are. Now, the one thing that I need to start doing is color coding and creating a studying routine.


    Posted 10.24.16 Reply
  27. tiateilli wrote:

    Great tips! xx

    Posted 10.24.16 Reply