Time Management Tips for Boarding School Students

8 Time Management Tips
for Boarding School Students

By Maureen Leming

The added independence of boarding school means many of our students learn time management skills, like structure and responsibility, from an early age. After all, when you're living the dorm life, you're the one in charge of your schedule.

Between attending class, wrapping up homework, and squeezing in a fun activity with friends, students can feel like the 24 hours in a day are just flying by. Each hour is filled with excitement and learning — but it can be tricky to know how to balance every task with excellence.

What if we told you there was a way to slow down the pace? These eight tips will help you manage your time while in boarding school — all while getting more quality work checked off the list!

Time Management Tips

1. Prioritize Your Time Wisely

Before you can game-plan your time management strategies, you need to list your priorities. 
As a boarding school student, your academics should come in first place. This means that your classes, homework, and studying takes precedence over other social activities. We know- that may not be what you want to hear, but it’s necessary for success!

To help students learn to prioritize their time, most boarding schools will build in a study hall period into your day. There will also likely be plenty of teachers and dorm parents around for extra support that you’ll want to take advantage of.

Your next priority is likely the extracurriculars you're committed to, whether it's a sports team or the school musical. 

It’s not all responsibility though, your social life deserves a slice of your schedule too! Once you've handled your other commitments, don't forget to make time for that fun on-campus event or a game with your friends.

2. Create a Weekly Schedule

Between studying for tomorrow's biology test, finishing your literature paper, and practicing for the big game on Friday night, your normal week is probably overflowing with activities.

Weekly schedules have helped students remember where they’re supposed to be and what they should be working on. Weekly schedules will help you stay balanced and on the ball.

Your schedule can come in the form of a classic pen-and-paper organizer or a digital calendar – whatever works for you! Be sure to add any important assignments, test dates, extracurricular events, and planned social activities.

3. Schedule — and Stick To — Daily To-Do's

Using your handy weekly schedule, map out a list of things you need to do each day. Whether on paper sticky notes or a note on your phone, a physical to-do list will give you some clear direction when it's time to sit down and get to work. As a bonus, there's something undeniably satisfying about checking a to-do off your list.

This tip is particularly helpful for time management at boarding school. Your extra independence means staying organized is more important than ever! 

4. Break Down Big Tasks Into Small Goals

Feeling overwhelmed by the slate of assignments on your horizon? Take it one step at a time. Breaking down a big project into a series of actionable steps have been proven time and time again to work well for productivity. It will also take some of the pressure off. 

Here’s an example of how you might break down a big research paper so that you don’t fall back on the classic avoidance method- procrastination. 

  • Day 1: Read the project specifications & brainstorm (just jot down some ideas)
  • Day 2: Do a rough outline of what you want to research & write about. Outline your thesis here.
    Bonus tip: Bring this to your professor to get their thoughts on the structure and strength of your initial thoughts!
  • Day 3: Do some research- note your sources and pull specific statistics or snippets of information
  • Day 4: Rough draft the first section of the meat of your report (based around the sources and statistics you found on Day 3) Continue working on sections at a time
  • Day 5: Re-read, proof and edit the body of the paper
  • Day 6: Write the intro & conclusion for your paper
  • Day 7: Re-Read, proof & edit your paper

In this example , conducting research, creating an outline, narrowing down your thesis, and drafting your introduction can all become individual tasks. 

All of a sudden, when you look at these tasks one by one, the whole project seems much less daunting.

5. Avoid Overcommitting

As a boarding school student, you've got opportunity at your fingertips. At The Hun School of Princeton, students can pick from an exciting array of 58 clubs and 51 sports teams. From the debate team to the First Lego League, there's an adventure for every student's tastes. In fact, 100% of our students are involved in an extracurricular activity. 

At the same time, joining too many fun activities at once can leave you wondering where your day went. Start by picking one extracurricular. See how well you can balance this commitment on top of your school, social life, and sleep. If you discover you've got the capacity to add another, great! Easing yourself in instead of overcommitting will help you find the routine that works best for you. 

6. Prioritize Your Sleep

Sleep may not be the first thing that comes to mind when learning how to manage your time at boarding school. 

But the reality is, without a solid 8 hours a night, your productivity during the rest of the day will suffer. Burning the midnight oil will impact your focus and the quality of your work. 

Instead, give yourself a homework cut-off time and stick to a regular bedtime. You'll thank yourself in the morning!

7. Make the Most of Your Time

With classes, sports practices, and club meetings, a large part of your day is likely already structured for you at boarding school. 

It’s definitely tempting to spend your entire study hall hanging out with your friends, but it’s important to really practice utilizing that time for studies. That’s the true test of priority & time management! 

Get your friends involved too- Maybe you can agree to spend half of the study hall period catching up with each other, and the other half studying together for any upcoming tests or assignments.

Hun students have the benefit of a built-in mandatory study hall to help with time management. Two hours every school night provides the perfect structure to knock out some classwork. Because there aren't other activities scheduled during these hours, you won't have to be distracted with curiosity about what's happening across campus.

8. Ask for Help

We know that time management can be tricky for newly independent, boarding school students to navigate. That's why The Hun School offers an extra helping hand.

Our Resident Coaching Program provides one-on-one academic assistance on school nights. All you have to do is walk in and ask for help — from algebra to writing, our teachers are here to assist. Hun teachers are also available in their classrooms for drop-ins during a designated period every school day. 

With these resources, students don't have to spend time feeling confused or lost. Simply schedule these opportunities into your day, and get the help you need.

Ready to Discover the Independence of a Boarding School for Yourself?

If you're considering making the transition to a boarding school education, consider The Hun School of Princeton. Our campus, located in Princeton, New Jersey, is home to many boarding school students in our residential dorms.

Our challenging skills-based learning and a uniquely supportive community culture will help you feel more prepared for college and the real world one day. 

Interested in learning more? 

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