What to Do With Your College Syllabus

college syllabus

Syllabus week might be my favorite week out of the year. Honestly, it’s not even because classes are easy and there are a ton of parties, it’s because I FINALLY get to use my new planner. If you’re a freshman or an upperclassmen who is just trying to get their life together (it’s okay, I won’t judge), here’s my take on what to do with your syllabus.

Print them out.

Here’s the first step. I know that they’re made available online so you can access them whenever your little heart desires, but just trust me on this one. Print them out. You don’t have to print them in color, just print them. Staple each one and then take a sec and admire your pile.

college syllabus

Take it one at a time.

Don’t try to focus on every single syllabus at once. I will just grab one and flip to the course schedule and go to town. Trying to tackle more than one syllabus at once can get confusing and you’ll end up messing something up, trust me.

Big picture and small picture go hand in hand.

I will start out by writing all “big” things like exams, quizzes, and projects in my monthly view pages of my planner. Then I’ll go through and add it into the weekly or daily view as well. It’s nice to be able to look at your monthly view and see what’s coming up easily, and having it in your weekly/daily view will ensure that you don’t miss the deadline. However, the trick is that you actually have to LOOK at your planner and use it. So make sure you do that otherwise this will be all for nothing!

day designer monthly view

When I write info from the syllabus in my planner, I’ll only do a few weeks at a time and this is why. The syllabus will change and it will change often. Professors have to plan their classes out months in advance and sometimes things don’t always go according to plan. I try to avoid having to cross out and rewrite things in my planner a million times by only writing up until the first exam in my planner. Sometimes even less than that!

Check out the attendance policy.

This is something I’ll find myself referring back to towards the end of the semester when I start to feel lazy (I don’t skip class often, but if I do it’ll be somewhere toward the end of the semester). Highlight the attendance policy within the syllabus or write it at the top so you can find it easily. Or, you can go one step further and keep a page in your planner where all of the policies are listed.

college attendance policy

Office hours and contact info.

Check out your prof’s office hours and email address and make a note of that somewhere or highlight it. If you decide to dedicate a page of your planner to the attendance policy, add the professor’s contact info in there too. It’ll come in handy!

Color code.

This isn’t a necessity, but I LOVE to color code and find that it makes my life 10x easier and prettier. By designating a certain color for my classes, I’m able to see how much has to be done for a particular class and realize, hey, this class is a lot of work… I better get my stuff together.

color coded planner key

Keep the syllabus on hand.

Even if you write EVERYTHING down in your planner and check it 10 times, you should still keep the syllabus on hand and refer back to it often. You don’t want to ever miss a deadline!

  • Mackenzie

    I’m the same, getting to use my new planner is always one of my favourite parts of back to school! Thanks for this post, I always think to write down due dates but keeping the attendance policy readily available is something I hadn’t thought of before!

  • I just finished printing out my syllabi and highlighting the important info! My syllabus is always the first thing in that subject’s folder.

    Alix | http://www.apintsizedlife.com

  • Sydney Power

    These are great tips! That is also my favourite time too!

  • Great tips! My friends all thought I was a big dork for printing mine out but helps to get organized in the beginning of the semester!

  • Amy

    These are super helpful! Is it bad that I didn’t really utilize my syllabus until mid sophomore year?! WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING PRIOR?! hahaha


    Amy | Pastel N Pink

  • These are such great syllabus tips! I think it is so important to look at the syllabus and organize your planner the first week of class.

  • Kennedy Skye

    This is such a helpful guide! Sometimes a syllabus is so jam packed with information that it can get a little overwhelming but you seem like you have a good process! Most of mine have schedules for all the classes so I always bring them to every class with me in a binder and just cross the days off as I go!

  • Ruya Kirac

    Such a helpful guide! I definitly need this and I love syllabus week as well cause I get to finally use my new planner haha.


  • Great tips! I always put my entire syllabus in my planner in the first week!


  • Adriana

    I love that you color code each class! I wish I had this before I graduated! Great tips!

  • This is a great idea! I’m starting school again in about 3 weeks and I love the color coding idea! Definitely gonna give it a try.
    Danika | http://whatdanikadoes.com

  • Yes to all of these! Putting everything in my planner before the semester got crazy really saved me when the end of the semester rolled around. Just shared this on Facebook :)

    XO, SS || Seersucker Sass

  • Sara Kate Steadman

    Yes!! We are so alike. I used to always do that. Nothing better than starting off way more organized from the get go.

    Sara Kate Styling