New Semester Preparation


New - “beginning as the resumption or repetition of a previous act or thing.”
-      Merriam Webster’s Dictionary

I just finished the second week of my last semester of law school.  Since I’ve done the beginning of the semester routine for law school six times already, I thought I’d share my process for getting ready for a new semester.  If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by the amount of assignments and mid-terms you have this semester, read on to find out how I get prepared for an upcoming semester.

  • Review Class Schedule.  So, you might be wondering why this is even on my list of prepping for a new semester.  I can attest personally how important it is to keep checking your class schedule the week right before classes start.  Last spring, I had a class cancelled the Friday before classes started, and this semester, I had last minute classroom changes for some of my classes.  In a situation where a class is cancelled, being on top of any changes will help you to find a suitable replacement class.  Some of my classmates have also experienced course time changes, which can really throw a wrench in course planning.
  •  Set Up Semester Folder.  I’m super organized when it comes to my computer files and I have an entire folder devoted to law school.  In my law school folder on my computer, I devote one folder to every semester to keep all of my work organized and easy to find.  Instead of saving everything for the semester just within that file, I create one for each class and one that has the syllabus for each of the classes I’m taking that semester.  I find that having a specific syllabus folder makes it easier to create an assignment list for each class.
  •  Coordinate Notebooks.  In addition to super-organizing my computer folders, I also make sure that my physical notebooks and textbooks for each class are organized as well.  That means that I pick one color for each class and the notebook, folder, and pen color I use all coordinate.  Now that I’m a 3L, some of my textbooks are super colorful so I like to match my notebook to the book so it’s easy to pick out all of the books I need for each class.  I also like to make a color-coordinated tab in my OneNote notebook that I use for typing up my outline.  I use OneNote to outline because it automatically saves and I don’t have to worry about losing any of my progress outlining.
  • Pencil Plan Semester in Planner.  Probably my prep step that I find the most important is penciling in my assignments, quizzes, and exams in my planner.  At the beginning of each semester, I take each of my syllabi and pencil in when each professor expects all of these events to occur.  I use pencil because a lot of professors have last minute changes of when things are due or when exams/quizzes during the semester will be because of how far the class may get.  I find this helps with planning things outside of law school, like trips during the semester, family events, extracurricular events, etc.  And I just love being able to see my semester at a glance in my planner and see when I need to have work done for each of my classes.  I usually update the pencil into the class pen color once I definitively know that something is due on a given day and update the pencil throughout the semester as professors change when things are due.

And just like that, you’ll be ready for the semester.  Even if you’ve started your new semester already, it’s not too late to get a jump on planning and preparing for the semester.  I find that having a routine on how I organize my materials and planner for a semester takes away a lot of the stress that comes with starting new classes.


  1. Super good list - I'm laughing to myself a bit because I made the mistake of writing assignments into my planner in pen. Within the first week, we were behind in a class and my prof re-did the entire syllabus, so all of my dates & page numbers were way off. Using pencil would've saved me!

    1. I'm so glad this could help you out! I definitely had that happen to me in college and since I hate using white-out in my planners, I learned my lesson pretty quick.


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