How to Make a Google Sheet Syllabus

The first week of every semester is simultaneously the easiest and most stressful week of the semester for me every year. Even though no actual assignments are due, and your only real responsibility is to decide if you like your classes or not, you're also handed 4, 5 or 6 syllabi outlining your life for the next 16 weeks. 

I always sit down during syllabus week and put all my assignments into my planner, but this past semester I realized I needed something else. I love having my Google Calendar synced to my phone and having my classes and meetings pop up 30 minutes before I need to be there, but I knew entering all my assignments into the task bar on Google Calendar would be too irritating, time consuming, and it didn't offer exactly what I wanted. 

Desktop View

Desktop View

As a business major, Excel has become my best friend, and my new found love for Google Drive made me realize that creating a virtual, editable syllabus on google sheets was the perfect solution! 

Why It's Perfect

When I used to just write all my assignments in my planner I always struggled with how much information I should write, and where. There's never enough room in the monthly layouts to write enough and assignments are always added or may change before I want to write them in my weekly, or now daily, layouts. 

Phone View

Phone View

Having all my syllabi converted into a fun, colorful, sheet on Google Docs makes it quick and easy for me to see all my assignments and make any changes necessary whenever they're needed. And having the Google Sheets app on my phone makes it so simple. If an assignment is pushed back, cancelled, or added on to, I can make note of that. (Sheets also tracks any changes that have been made so you can go back and see your original syllabus if necessary!)

Another thing I love is I can track when I start and complete assignments! I always cross off when I finish an assignment in my planner, but sometimes I'll start a reading for one class and have to stop and run to a meeting and forget that I started it. Then later I may attempt to restart it before I realize it all sounds a little too familiar, and I start looking for my original notes. It just becomes a hassle.

Being able to track and manage my syllabi in a flexible way is the best feeling!  

How I Do It {+ a free template} 

On every syllabus sheet I have 5 columns: Assignments; Due Date; Started; Finished; Notes. 

Desktop View

Desktop View

| Assignments | 

Under the Assignments column I write everything I need to know about the assignment. If I have to read 10 random sets of pages from one of the books assigned to a class, I write all of the individual pages, and even notes on how I think I should write my notes for the readings. 

For classes like accounting and calculus where we had a lot of problem sets and actual weekly homework due, I would write everything my teacher had listed on the syllabus; and I would include whether the assignment was digital or on paper ,and if it had to be handed in in person or online. 

| Due Date | 

For things like research papers, or digital assignments with given due dates, I just wrote the given dates in this column. But for my online classes or classes where readings were assigned in bulk and didn't have a specific due date I would assign one for myself based on what I knew I had due on other days and which content I had to have done for my exams. 

As an example, one of my classes had no assigned homework, just a bunch of "optional" readings that if you didn't complete you would probably fail the exams. Each reading was between 20-45 pages. I knew thoroughly going through the reading and taking notes would take me at least 3 hours. So I would look at my calendar and see what days I already had a lot of stuff due, what days I knew I would be busy working on those assignments with structured due dates, and planned around them assigning faux due dates for each reading based on the openings in my schedule. 

| Started & Finished | 

This was the best part of the syllabus for me! Having the Google Sheets app on my phone made it so easy to check off when I was starting an assignment, so that when I looked at my to-do list for the week I could see what I had start, what was done, and what still needed to be worked on. 

Phone View

Phone View

| Notes | 

The notes section I ended up adding later on (one of the benefits of an editable digital syllabus!) and it was super helpful. I used it for jotting down where I left off on my reading, or questions I should ask my professors in their office hours, even questions I think may be on the exams or points I think I should study more. 

Once my problem or question was cleared up I would delete the note. It was almost like crossing something off a learning to-do list. And if I ever needed to see it again, Sheets saves all changes and you can go back and look at all your old notes. 


Making a syllabus on Google Sheets was the game changer of my college career, and I am such a geek that I can't wait to make another one this September! 

When do you go back to school?

xoxo

AME