Whether you’re a sophomore in high school or a senior in college, your life is full of attending classes, working on homework, extracurricular activities, hanging out with friends, and squeezing in family time when you can. We all have so much going on and it can sometimes be hard to keep track of where you’re supposed to be and when.
Confession: I am a planner and organization junkie. I carry my LifePlanner with me everywhere, along with a bag of pens–for color coding. I also keep an electronic version, thanks to Google Calendar, and it’s so full it looks like confetti exploded on my phone/laptop screen. I’m telling you this because I understand how important finding the right planner is. Hours of research went into my first big planner purchase, and my guess is (if you’re reading this post) you’re a bit like me.
So, without further ado, here’s my list of the 7 best planners for students:
LifePlanner by Erin Condren
Price: $45-$65 + add-ons
The LifePlanner was my first mega planner purchase and I love it. If everything in your life is organized by color, this is the planner for you. In addition to interchangeable, customizable covers, you can also add on stickers of all shapes and sizes. Mine also came with a sample pack of stickers and a movable ruler/bookmark. You can also find stickers on Etsy that are the same size and shape of the boxes in the LifePlanner.
It comes in three different layouts: horizontal, vertical, and hourly. Each weekly page also has space for a to-do list, which always comes in handy.
Student Planner by Plum Paper
Price: $18 + add-ons
Plum Paper’s Student Planner would be excellent for any high school student or college student with a heavy course load. Each week is organized by day and class period (7 spaces available).
The nice thing about this planner is you can customize it to start at any month during the year. So, if you’re not satisfied with a previous planner purchase or you procrastinated and don’t want to spend money on missed months, go with this planner. It comes in 6 months or 12-18 months. So, you can also give it a 6 month trial run if you’re still not sold.
Academic Daily Simplified Planner by Emily Ley
Price: $58 + add-ons
Emily Ley’s Academic Daily Simplified Planner is full of inspiration quotes and gold detailing. (And we all need a little inspiration to keep going sometimes!) These planners are made for academic schedules (i.e., they run August-July). In addition to 6am-9pm hourly spots, there are also spaces for notes, daily to-dos, and dinner plans.
The design of these planners are classy-chic. One of my college friends swears by this planner. She just purchased her second one and doesn’t plan on changing it up any time soon.
Flagship Collection by Day Designer
Price: $59 + add-ons
If you’re all business and don’t feel the need to decorate every square inch of your planner, the Flagship Collection is for you. These daily pages run from 5am-9pm. Each day has a space for to-dos, gratitude, your top 3 to-dos, notes, and more. The Flagship collection is available in beginning and mid-year editions, each running 12 months.
If you’re feeling the need for a bit more organization in your life, there are also a plethora of free printables available. These include bucket lists, notes, organizing your week, gratitude journals, food and exercise logs, and much more.
Academic Daily Planner by Bloom Daily Planners
Price: $13.95-$26.95 + add-ons
The Academic Daily Planner comes in hard or soft cover, and a choice between a normal academic planner or a vision planner. The vision planner is organized to help you set and work towards your goals. The academic year planner also has spaces for your goals, to-dos, and a fun list of reasons for a party.
It also has an awesome academic scheduler placed in the beginning pages. There are places for time, class, professor name, and room, all by day of the week and term.
The Happy Planner-Student Edition by Me & My Big Ideas
Price: $19.99-$29.99 + add-ons
The Happy Planner is the creative student’s dream planner. You literally make it all you want it to be, and can add or remove pages at any time. It’s basically a scrapbook that functions as a planner.
One of my favorite things about this planner is you can actually go to a store and check it out. It’s also 100% customizable. You can add pages, bookmarks, inspirational quotes on tabs, and even clip in pictures. If you want to check it out in person, head to your local Hobby Lobby store.
Academic Planners by Mead
During my first few years of college I relied on my Mead planners to keep my life organized. I started with the small, 4″ x 6″ size, and ended up with the giant 8.5″ x 11″. These are great planners because you can choose daily, weekly, or monthly layouts. They’re also extremely affordable.
Yes, these planners are a bit more subtle than some of the others listed above. However, if you’re feeling the need to spice it up a bit, you essentially have a blank slate that you can make entirely your own. Head to a craft store, buy some stickers and fun pens, and spend an afternoon decorating your new best friend.
Planners are as unique as the people who use them. Each one is loved and used in its own way. If you have a favorite that isn’t on this list, share it in the comments below!
I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite planner accessories:
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For some students, taking different online courses can be a blessing, but for others, it’s their least favorite experience. When enrolling in an online class, it’s usually for the convenience in scheduling, allowing a student to free up space around other classes and work schedules. What I didn’t realize when I enrolled in my first online class was that the format of a virtual classroom would become my favorite, not to mention what I would learn about myself as student and the kind of learner I am.
Throughout my college career, my friends and family have often looked at my color-coded planner, calendar and binder only to say, “You’re way more organized than I am.” I always brushed that off as a small compliment, without realizing how my excessive organizing skills would change the way I saw myself as a student.
In my second college semester, I enrolled in my first online college class. My class schedule that semester was jam-packed, and there was no room to pick up another class, but I desperately needed the extra credits. At this point, I knew I was going to have to sign up for an online class, so I began asking around about how the virtual classroom worked, including what the day-to-day routine consisted of, how teachers taught the class and how heavy the work load would be.
As I asked around, the feedback I received from my peers was mostly, if not all, negative. These students claimed that the professors were lazy and failed to guide students through assignments. As a result of the class structure, students would miss due dates or attempt to finish on time after procrastinating until the last minute.
The reviews were discouraging, and I wasn’t fond of the idea of taking an online class, but my schedule didn’t give me much of a choice if I wanted to complete enough credits. By the time spring semester rolled around, I felt like I had no idea what I was about to get myself into.
My online professor posted a syllabus that not only contained his expectations for the course, but also a detailed timeline of readings, assignments, quizzes and exams. Looking at the syllabus, I considered that some of the students I talked to didn’t like online classes because of poor time-management.
I filled my planner with all the due dates and assignments. By making my planner this detailed, I could manage my other classes, social life and my online class.
It all worked out until the first quiz came around. I caught myself procrastinating on studying, and I waited until the day the assignment was due to even begin working on it. I also had to juggle assignments in my other classes. After struggling to balance everything, I realized I couldn’t put off work for this class again because it would only stack up, so I decided to design a personal routine to make sure I did my work on time instead of letting it pile up.
For the typical in-person class, structure comes from students and professors developing a routine. Class is scheduled on certain days of the week for a designated amount of time throughout the full semester. Beyond the regular schedule, teachers typically have students read some small sections of the textbook before each class, then the professor lectures and assigns homework, which is due the following class. They also provide the dates of quizzes, exams and review days, so students have a clear outline of how to manage class work.
An online class typically lacks this strict timeline, and it’s a lot more open. Students know what readings and assignments are going to be due, but no one tells them when to do it.
Considering the common structure of most college classes, I framed an online-class routine off this model. Knowing an assignment had a due date didn’t mean I couldn’t complete it ahead of time, so I made my own deadlines for future assignments, creating a day-to-day routine like that of other classes.
I remember a friend asking me how I was doing in my online class, and I explained my assignment schedule and how much it had benefitted my grade. I never missed a due date, and I had plenty of time to study for exams, do other classwork and have a functioning life outside of school. The friend responded, “You are way too organized.”
While this comment was true, it was my organization that helped me succeed in my online class. When I heard that people struggled with this virtual form of education, I knew I had to find a way to avoid the same fate.
My need to excessively organize and prepare for my online class taught me that I was the kind of student who flourished by teaching myself. I benefitted most when my professor provided a due date and allowed me to plan how and when I worked.
Since that initial experience, I have taken at least one online class every semester, even in the summer. Having the freedom to organize how and when I want to do my classwork is what keeps me enrolling in online classes.
Now, when I talk to other students about their experiences with online classes, I’ve began to hear positive feedback. A lot of the feedback comes from other students who describe themselves as “self-organized.” Often, they are drawn to online classes for the same reasons, because they all describe themselves as students who learn best in extremely organized, self-taught environments.
“I like online classes because I can learn at my own pace and complete tasks when my schedule allows, as it varies often,” says Madeline Purdue, a sophomore at the University of Nevada, Reno. “It allows me to be more organized and my grades don’t suffer from it.”
“As an organized student, I take online classes because they help me remain focused,” Jolie Ross, a junior at UNR, says. “I am constantly on the go, and when I don’t have at least one thing to do in the day, I feel like I’m forgetting something. Online classes allow me to fill those moments, making the most out of my day.”
Organized or not, some students like online classes, and others don’t. If you find yourself taking an online class due to scheduling issues, try to manage your time. Consider the best class format you’ve learned from, and use it as a foundation to manage the online class with the rest of your life. Being crazy organized helped me, but everyone organizes their life differently.