Beating the Procrastination Monster: How College Parents Can Help

For some college students, the more the work piles up, the more they put it off.  Sometimes the toughest part of the battle seems to be finding where to begin and actually digging in.  As students get overwhelmed, especially near the end of the semester, they freeze and wait until it is almost too late (or really too late) to get their work done well.  As parents, we may need to remind ourselves that students don’t necessarily want to put things off until the last minute, they may just have difficulty knowing where to begin, or they may not understand exactly how much time or work is required to complete the task.

While college parents must remember that students need to learn their own lessons about time management, parents may be able to help students beat the Procrastination Monster by offering some suggestions — and then stepping back. Of course, helping students learn to deal with procrastination early in the semester would be best — before things begin to pile up.  But facing the monster at any stage is helpful.

The following article comes from and gives parents some guidance for helping students face, and battle, their Procrastination Monster.  Consider whether some of these suggestions might be helpful for your college student.

Helping Your Student to Avoid Procrastination

Procrastination is the curse of many college students. By the time your student reaches college, many are already experts at avoiding the inevitable. They will probably get it done, but not without a constant and looming pressure that builds until, the night before, they cram, sometimes all night long, to finish or prepare. The result is seldom going to be their best work. This article explores ways to guide them away from procrastination.

There are many reasons students procrastinate. They might feel overwhelmed by the task, or may be perfectionists, or maybe they get easily distracted, or perhaps they are just plain lazy. Whatever the reason, the fact remains: procrastination creates more stress in your student’s lives, and never yields their best results. It is extremely important to avoid procrastinating in college — exams often cover hundreds of pages and months worth of lecture material.

Since the demands placed on college students are high, it is important to enter college knowing, first of all, that procrastination will severely hinder their academic performance. Deadlines are established at the beginning of the semester — for papers, projects and exams.

The following are some helpful tips for your student to work towards, once the student has received their course expectations for the semester:

Assess each Task. Have your child spend a few minutes thinking through everything that needs to be done, then, if possible, segment the task into various smaller pieces. It’s much easier to tackle smaller chunks than one huge task. Often, simply staying on top of assigned reading and coursework will alleviate some of this challenge.

“Once begun, it’s half done.” Teach your student to avoid shooting for completion in one sitting. This will probably overwhelm them every time. Just begin. Getting started is the key, and incremental progress will follow.

Schedule Work Sessions. Progress, even a little bit each day, adds up, and over time increases their confidence that they can, that they will, finish. Have them schedule work sessions with realistic goals in mind, and have them set their mind to completing these goals.

Eliminate Distractions. Find a quiet place in a dorm room, library or coffee shop to work and concentrate.

Establish Rewards. This can help your students with seemingly painful projects and help them become more pleasurable, or at least bearable. After they complete a work session, have them do something enjoyable, like take a nap, buy a latte, call a friend, round up a game of ultimate Frisbee. The point is for them to have something to look forward to, so that they begin to associate hard work at school with pleasure.

Find a (Good) Study Partner. And not just anyone, either. Encourage your student to find someone that cares about their performance even more than they do. They may need study partners from each class.

Be Reasonable. Don’t let them beat themselves up about getting everything perfect. Remember, they will be responsible for hundreds, possibly thousands, of projects, papers and exams throughout their college career. The goal of making every one of them perfect is not only impossible, but silly. Remember, it’s more important that every project gets finished, not that every project be perfect.

Source: (Check out their website for additional helpful information for college parents!)

Related Posts:

Are There Secrets to College Success?

College Parents Can Help Freshmen Overcome First Semester Challenges

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