Welcome back to school everyone! It’s so great to see the hallways and classrooms full of students after a nice long winter break. Some of you may find it difficult to focus on classes this week as you anxiously await the release of Fall grades. Remember, last semester’s final exams are over and done with. There’s nothing you can do to change those results. You can, however, start taking steps that will help you have a productive Spring semester. One of the easiest, but most valuable, steps you can take to set yourself for success this semester is to create a detailed study schedule.

First, figure out the scheduling system that you want to use, whether it’s an outlook calendar, google calendar, or just plain old paper. The key is that you have a system where you can compile your daily, weekly, and monthly activities all in one place.

Second, fill in your long term deadlines. This will include deadlines for turning in writing assignments, completing outlines, midterms, and finals. Your calendar should include all of your responsibilities, including those that are not law school related, so be sure to add in any dates where you’ll be out of town or taken up with family responsibilities.

Third, add in some checkpoints along the way to ensure that you’re staying on track to meet your long term deadlines. For example, if you want to have all of your outlines completed by the last day of class, you may want to add a mid-semester date that reminds you how far you should have progressed with your outlining at that point. It’s also helpful to schedule start dates for research and writing assignments so that you don’t procrastinate these time consuming projects.

Lastly, create a detailed weekly schedule that shows the routine tasks you need to cover each day. Your weekly schedule should have blocks devoted to attending class, reading, outlining, reviewing, working on miscellaneous homework assignments, and so on. Although your weekly schedule may change somewhat throughout the semester, you should have a fairly accurate idea of when you will be able to study. The key with your weekly schedule is to be specific! Physically write down what you will study, when you will study, and where you will study.

Once you’re finished creating your study schedule, you’ll know both what you need to plan for in the long term and what you need to accomplish on a daily basis. Of course, now comes the hard part: stick as closely as possible to your study schedule so that you stay on track throughout the semester. If you work diligently throughout the semester, you’ll set yourself up for a successful semester.