Academic Planner 101: How to Use a Planner for School

Academic Planner 101

Plan for a better, brighter school year and stay on top of your studies with a planner for school. Learn all about academic planners and how students can organize and use them to reduce stress and achieve scholastic success. Discover which school agendas teachers recommend and students prefer, what's in them, and how they help students reach their academic goals. Then learn how to choose the best school planner for you!

What Is a Planner for School?

A school planner, or academic planner, is an organizer book designed to help students stay organized, track projects and exams, follow class schedules, meet deadlines, take notes, and more.

Why Use a Planner for School?

There are many reasons why you should use a planner for school:

A school planner makes organization easier all academic year long. In school, it's easy to get behind or forget about important items on your to-do list because there's so much going on every day. You need something that will remind you of all the things that need doing — and make sure they get done!

With an organizer for school, you'll see everything in one place: class assignments, homework due dates, and meeting times with teachers. You can also schedule study sessions into your planner so that nothing slips through the cracks!

An academic planner helps you manage your time effectively. Students often feel like they don't have enough time in the day — especially when they're juggling academics with other obligations (work, family commitments). By writing down all their assignments in one place, students can plan how much time they need for each task, and put a stop to the feeling of being overwhelmed.

A school agenda can help you stay on track and reduce stress. If you have a busy schedule, it's easy to get frazzled, forget things, or lose track of assignments that are due soon, which can cause student stress and anxiety to spike. When everything is written down in your planner, you'll know exactly what needs doing and when — so you can avoid any unnecessary stress!

How to Organize Your Planner for School

How to Organize Your Planner for School

Organizing a school planner is the best way to stay on top of your busy schedule and one of the 11 habits of organized students. This handy tool can help you organize all of your assignments, tests, and exams, as well as all of your personal commitments and appointments.

School planner organization doesn't have to be difficult, but setting up your organizer does require a bit of preparation. First, you want to determine what information you to include in it.

Include Your Class Schedules and Breaks

The first thing that you should do when organizing your planner includes all of the important dates for school events, such as when classes start and end, when vacations are scheduled, and any breaks between semesters or quarters. This will help you plan out when it is convenient for you to take exams, attend study sessions or meet with teachers about upcoming assignments.

Assignments and Due Dates

Another important aspect of organizing your planner for school is including any upcoming assignments or projects that will be due in the near future. You may want to include both short-term assignments such as essays or reports as well as longer-term projects such as term papers or lab reports. Also, consider whether there are any special instructions related to these tasks that need highlighting in order for you to complete them properly.

Upcoming Exams and Study Sessions

There will likely be some tests scheduled throughout the year that you will need to study for, as well as exams to take at the end of each semester. Use your planner's projects and exams trackers to organize it all. Organizing your planner in this way can help you better prepare for these tests and ensure that they aren’t unexpected surprises.

Teacher Contact Information

If you need to contact your teachers, put their contact information into your planner so it's easy to find when they're needed. This could include phone numbers, email addresses, office hours, and more.

Personal Commitments and Appointments

Put all of your personal commitments into the planner so you can keep track of them throughout the semester or school year. These could include meetings with professors, meetings with clients at work, or family obligations like birthdays and anniversaries. These are things that shouldn't be forgotten about because they're important to both yourself and others around you.

Free Time and Hobbies

Next up is free time — this is where you can plan out what activities will be done during your free time. This could include watching movies, hanging out with friends, or anything else that's planned for the day. If you plan to do something outside of a school setting, be sure to note it down in your planner so you don't forget about it!

How to Use a School Planner

Use your academic planner to stay organized. Your planner should be a place where you can jot down everything that has to do with school. This can include deadlines, exams, projects, and even things like tests and quizzes. Here are some tips to help you make the most of yours:

Use the monthly calendars for big-picture academic planning.

How to Use a School Planner Monthly Calendars

Start off strong by filling the academic year calendars with important school dates like school breaks, exams and standardized testing, extracurricular events, and more. Then, go ahead and add in any other dates that have personal significance, such as birthdays and other special occasions, important appointments, and so on. If there are any holidays during the month that are not already on your calendar, add them there as well.

Use the planning pages for weekly tasks.

Use the planning pages for weekly tasks

Use the weekly calendars for to-dos like homework and other class assignments. Add as much weekly information as you have to the planning pages. It could be anything from classwork to due dates to reminders and to-do lists. You can even use the weekly pages to break up study sessions and big projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. You can also use this section to write down any appointments that need to be made with professors outside of class time.

If you don't have a lot of your weekly tasks available more than a week in advance, don't worry! The weekly calendars are designed to help you plan at least one week in advance; so you can still set up each weekly spread the weekend before and be prepared for an organized, productive week come Monday morning.

Review your school agenda regularly.

You should also set aside some time each day (or week) to review what needs doing and when — this will help prevent any missed assignments or deadlines from sneaking up on you!

Write down the most important tasks first.

When it comes to actually getting things done, try writing down on your planner to-do list the tasks that are most important first — then work down the list until everything is complete. This will help you stay productive and manage your time efficiently.

Keep important class notes in your organizer.

The best planners for school also function as a notebook in addition to a homework planner, exam tracker, and school year calendar. Utilize the note pages in your agenda book for class notes. You'll learn more and recall the information better when you write your notes by hand versus typing or recording them on a laptop or digital planner.

Use additional school trackers, if needed.

Use additional school trackers, if needed

A good academic planner will have a built-in tracker for projects and exams. But if you need additional school trackers, add on a reusable, wet-erase snap-in dashboard to track more assignments, due dates for papers, presentations, and more. This way, you can track everything in one place instead of having to search through multiple files on your computer, phone, or in other notebooks.

For more planning tips, for school, work, and life, check out How to Start Planning.

How to Use a Planner for College

If you're in college, or collegebound, it's a good idea to use your college planner to organize your full college life. A top-notch college planner will accommodate your academic tasks and goals, your personal information, and even your work schedule (if this applies to you). This way, you can keep track of homework assignments and other school-related tasks while also keeping up with your social life, extracurriculars, and career path.

Some college students, trade school students, and post-grads prefer to use multiple planners to organize each area of their life separately. From daily planners to weekly LifePlanners to monthly planners, there are so many ways you can create your own organization system that fits your schedule, style, and planning needs. Visit Best Planners to explore the top agendas this year for organizing everything from A to Z.

Take college organization to the next level with 8 Proven College Organization Tips to Maximize Productivity and How To Organize & Decorate Your Dorm Room.

Choosing the Best Academic Planner

Students and educators alike prefer the Erin Condren Academic Planner because it has proven layouts that help students with scheduling, time management, weekly and monthly planning, project management, productivity, stress reduction, and makes organization easier.

Testimonial Jennifer Crowder

What should be in an academic planner?

What should be in an academic planner

An academic planner should have monthly and weekly planning pages, trackers for projects and exams, productivity pages, class schedule section, note pages, and more. An excellent student planner will also include extras that keep students motivated and make planning fun like customization and personalization options, beautiful design elements, included stickers, and even inspirational quotes!

As a leader in the student planner space, the Erin Condren Academic Planner includes key fun and functional features honed over years of customer research, input from educators, and feedback from students, including:

  • Dated 12-month school year calendar
  • Monthly motivational quotes
  • Monthly notes and productivity pages
  • Class schedule pages
  • Detailed pages for projects and exams
  • Dated monthly and weekly spreads
  • Option to add on additional 40 lined note pages
  • Durable and personalizable covers
  • Coiled-in sticker sheets
  • Enhanced holiday & heritage celebrations sticker sheet
  • Additional customization options:
    • 2 binding options: coiled or softbound
    • 3 layout options: colorful (coiled or softbound), minimal (softbound), or Star Wars (special edition)
Testimonial Zabrina Abolarin

How Does the Academic Planner Help Students?

The Erin Condren Academic Planner was featured on as one of the "best planners to keep you organized in 2024." And here's what students shared in our 2023 Academic Planner Survey:

  • 98% said it helps them stay organized.
  • 96% said it helps them manage their workload.
  • 96% said it helps them meet deadlines and due dates.
  • 93% said it helps them manage their time.
  • 93% said it helps them reduce stress.
  • 92% said it helps them develop good habits.
Testimonial Jordyn Summers

Shop the full Academic Planner collection to customize and personalize the perfect student planner for you!