Finding both cost-saving strategies and a way to navigate virtual learning is critical this year especially with families reeling from the effects of COVID. It is especially important to the college student when you consider the national college graduation rate is less than 40 percent and at the same time student debt continues to increase.
Today, even the government website, College Scorecard, uses six years as their college graduation benchmark. The best way to save money on college costs is to graduate on time. Creating a student’s time management plan is a great idea that may improve your odds of staying on track in college. This sounds so easy, yet time management is one of the few lessons that are not always taught in our high schools.
Student’s Time Management Importance
As stated. Time Management is often a forgotten learning tool in the education process for students. For freshmen in college, this is the first time you have new freedoms that may easily distract you from your classes and studying. This year, many students may also be learning totally virtual, which adds another reason for the defined structure. This time management process can also be implemented for high school students who now may be having virtual or hybrid classes. In both cases, getting a good lesson in time management is priceless and may even improve your education success.
The $92,000 Real Cost of An Extra College Year
As most of you know, I look at college education as an investment. According to U.S. News, the average tuition, and fees at a private college were $41,426 for the school year 2019-2020. Today, an extra year is becoming the norm and not the exception. This is another reason for the increase in student loan debt levels.
Graduation after the fifth year, it is about 50 percent and after six years it is just less than 60 percent. Families rarely plan for this extra college expense, but it is significant. The colleges primarily focus on the college degree and do not provide the financial transparency of expenses to graduation.
The delay in graduation is really costing over $92,000. According to a recent SHRM report, the average 2020 college graduate will have a starting salary of approximately $51,000. If you add in the average private college cost at just over $41,000, this total is over $92,000. We need to make our students more aware of this financial consequence and the opportunity cost of not graduating on time.
Improving Student Success with Time Management
By creating a time management plan, the student can better identify their priorities and stay on track. This simple model can help the student get organized and better manage the new freedoms that they face in college. Here is a table that may help the student get organized and create their own plan.
Time Allocation Table
As you can see from the table, there are significant hours that can be allocated based on a student’s activities. It also shows the number of hours that can be wasted. About 45 percent of a person’s time can be personalized based on a student’s individual needs. This allows a student to see on their own how they are spending their time in a typical week.
Creating and sticking to a time management plan may take some work. It may require breaking habits or readjusting how a student is living their independent college life. What is not so obvious in the financial impact on not implementing these changes.
The chart identifies the amount of time a student may have and how it can be allocated. Understanding how to use your discretionary time is critical. Here is a list of ideas and guidelines that you need to develop for a proper time management plan based on each person’s habits. These can be modified to each student’s habits to be successful.
In our downloadable Student Time Management Planner, students can customize this worksheet based on their schedule and personality. Here are some other questions to consider when completing our Student Time Management Planner.
- I am the type of person, who, when a friend asks to go out even while I am studying, I usually…
- When I have free time, I often spend it in the following ways…
- The most frequent interruptions that interfere with what I am doing are…
- I do my best studying/work in the …
- In my past, my grades were the best when I did this…
Initially, it is recommended that the student creating a time log with the general activities listed above. This will show the student how they spend their time. It will also give the student a good understanding of the system is working. Once they settle into a pattern this ongoing recording can stop since it will become a successful habit. Periodical reviews may be needed to confirm that this time management process is still working.
Student Time Management Summary
For me, changing a habit would be the most difficult area to achieve when trying to implement a Time Management Planner. In today’s world, we have more distractions than ever before. This year college students face a new college reality, with a variety of hybrid and online learning classes. Combine this new teaching experience to the distraction of dorm life, the internet, video games, and it is easy to understand how a student may have difficulty prioritizing their time. Creating a schedule and having a sense of your time commitments will help most students prioritize their life and decisions. It will require a learning curve just like most things in life, but with practice, it will it become a habit.
When you consider the financial aspects of the college experience, any advantage to a student’s success is critical. PayForED also has the In-College Payer tool that helps students and parents get the financial transparency on college expenses that are not provided by the colleges. This unique approach explains the 4-year financials of their college degree with proper student debt process, loan repayment options, and a projection of their financial life after graduation.