overhead view of a woman writing in a planner on a desk, laptop, mug and books also on desk. dachshund head and paws also visible

The Top 5 MUST-HAVE Academic Planners for College Students in 2021

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5 College Planners That Will Help You Thrive at School

Ready to get your life together with a college planner?

I’ve rounded up and compared all the best planners for college students right here in this post.

college girl using planner with a dog in her lap. laptop covered in stickers, a coffee mug and books on desk.

The last of spring classes are winding down, and we’re all ready to enjoy a lonnnggg summer break.

But the fact of the matter is:

The fall semester really isn’t that far away.

As a student who’s been there and done that, I know that those few months of reprieve never seem to last long enough. And while that may be the last thing you want to have on your mind during the summer…

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

So a little preparation now can do wonders for your future self.

Today I’m going to help you find the perfect planner for college. And with it you’ll hopefully be able to preserve your sanity when the new semester rolls around.

If you’re in a rush:

This specific academic planner is the most popular.

College Student Planner Comparison

Which planner is best for college?

Get more information about these 5 student planner options and why they’re the real deal down below.

1. The Ultimate Student Planner by ClassTracker

Class Tracker Ultimate Student Planner College Edition in light blue
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  • LENGTH: 11 Months, equal to 2 Semesters or 3 Quarters/Trimesters
  • DATING: August 1st – June 30th or Undated
  • SIZE: 7″ x 8.5″
  • PAGE TYPES: Monthly, weekly/daily with self-care corner, class schedule, note & goal setting
  • BINDING: Coil binding with rounded corners and a sturdy, poly-protected cover
  • COLORS: 4 options

First up:

The ClassTracker Ultimate Student Planner–it has “ultimate” in the name, so how could I not include it in this list?

But the name isn’t just hype.

This option is not only my personal favorite, but a reader favorite as well. It’s a planner that’s made specifically for college students which is why it’s perfect for school.

Because of that:

The weekly layout pages include space for tracking assignments and upcoming quizzes/exams/paper/projects. Which, of course, is VERY useful for staying up on top of all those due dates and upcoming tests you have to juggle as a busy student.

There are also pages to record your class schedule every semester/trimester.

Better yet:

This college planner is available in dated and undated versions. Which means you can start using one at any time during the year.

The design is simple, straightforward, and the epitome of practical. It’s a top-notch choice no matter what your major is.

Check out my review on why it’s a really good planner for college to see more pictures.

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2. The Centered Student Planner

The Centered Student Planner in navy blue and blush pink
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  • LENGTH: 12 Months
  • DATING: August 2021 – June 2022
  • SIZE: B5 (7″ x 9″)
  • PAGE TYPES: Monthly, weekly, year at a glance, to do lists, notes & stickers
  • BINDING: Lay-flat book binding wrapped in vegan leather
  • COLORS: 2 colors

New on the scene and making waves is The Centered Student Planner

Combing the advantages of paper planning with digital, this planner is truly one-of-a-kind.

Most planners assume you know what you’re doing and how to make the best use of your time.  Newbies in the planning community are just left to flounder. And those knowledge gaps are often crucial factors in determining whether a student will be successful with time management or not.

While it can be done, muddling through is far from optimal or even efficient.

In contrast, the CSP makes no such assumptions. Instead, it uses a online interface to tackle the issue head on. Detailed instructions and carefully-timed college tips are delivered to you at your leisure by short, easily digestible videos.

But that’s just the cherry on top, as the planner is already packed with useful features. The purpose-driven weekly layouts, hourly time slots, perforated to do lists, notes, and stickers designed for students are particularly noteworthy. 

Honestly, it’s a hard one to summarize! I highly encourage you to get all the details in my Centered Student Planner review here.

This planner manages to help you set goals, focus, prioritize, practice gratitude, and increase self-awareness WITHOUT leaving you feeling overwhelmed and out of steam. 

Plus with a built-in professor providing you with guidance throughout the year and an affordable price tag, it’s an amazing value. I could see this planner setting the new standard for academic planners moving forward. 

This is the best planner for students who are beginners, those who struggle with consistency, and those who want to optimize their use of time.

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3. The Erin Condren Academic Planner

Erin Condren Academic Student Planner in Endless Rainbows cover design
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  • LENGTH: 12 Months
  • DATING: August 1st – June 30th
  • SIZE: B5 (7″ x 9″) & A5 (5.8” x 8.3”)
  • PAGE TYPES: Monthly quotes, notes, & productivity pages +class schedule,  weekly, yearly, note pages, stickers + detailed pages for projects & exams
  • BINDING: Coiled or (new this year!) Softbound
  • COLORS: 50+ colors & designs to choose from

This brings us to the:

The Erin Condren Academic Planner.

As another one tailor made for students, it includes dedicated pages you wouldn’t find in any regular old planner.

Like: an assignment tracker page, a place to write your class schedule, as well as assignments and due dates on the weekly planning pages.

All which are invaluable features for busy college students!

TIP: the newest Erin Condren school planners are usually available starting in June.

But, if it wasn’t good enough already:

These college planners have a HUGE selection of covers! And for the first time, Erin Condren is now offering softcover academic planners.

There are tons of cute designs to choose from, you have a choice of coil color, and you can even personalize it by adding your name to the cover.

Plus these planners come with a sheet of stickers. All in all, it makes for a pretty sweet package.

Related: Insider Look at the Erin Condren LifePlanner (2020-21 Review)

Video: Erin Condren Planner for College Students

4. The Live Whale Planner

Live Whale Planner for College in Pink
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  • LENGTH: 12 Months
  • DATING: Undated
  • SIZE: A5 (5.5″ x 8.5”)
  • PAGE TYPES: Monthly, weekly, brain dump (for ideas or reminders), mind map, vision board & budget tracking
  • BINDING: Book binding with a vegan leather wrapped hardcover
  • COLORS: 4 colors

The Live Whale Planner is a conveniently sized option  for school. It has a hardcover, thick pages (so that ink won’t bleed through), and a convenient pen loop.

Inside you’ll find lots and lots of space for writing!

You can track your schedule down to the hour and there are quite a few extra pages for more self-tracking.

Other pages include: a budget tracker, new inspirational quotes for each month, a goal date countdown tracker and “brain dump” space.

In addition:

The cover is made out of an animal-friendly vegan leather. The little whale on the front is a super cute detail, too.

5. The Lemome Academic Planner

Academic Planner 2021-2022, Weekly & Monthly Planner with Calendar Stickers
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  • LENGTH: 12 Months
  • DATING: July 2021 – June 2022
  • SIZE: A5 (5.7″ x 8.25″)
  • PAGE TYPES: Monthly, weekly, note, goal & stickers
  • BINDING: Lay-flat book binding with faux leather softcover
  • COLORS: 2 colors

“This was everything I was looking for in a planner. No distracting quotes or needless additions, simple layout with a clean design, monthly calendars and large lined spaces for daily tasks.”

As far as agendas go, the Lemome Academic Planner strikes a nice middle ground.

If you love taking notes, this is the college planner for you because it has 88 pages just for notes.

The paper is high-quality so you don’t have to worry about ink bleeding. It comes in 2 different sizes and has a very elegant look to the design.

Extra features include an elastic closure, a convenient pen loop, an inner pocket, 2 bookmarks, and monthly sticker tabs.

All in all, this is a rock-solid planner for college!

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Looking for something SMALLER? The Lemome Pocket Planner is the size of a smartphone and still has all the same great features.

2021 Pocket Calendar - Weekly & Monthly Pocket Planner, January 2021 - December 2021, Agenda Planner and Schedule Organizer with Pen Hold, Inner Pocket, Banded, 6.4" x 3.9
Pocket Planner (3.9″ x 6.4″)
Lemome 2021 Diary Planner/Appointment Book with light brown leather cover
Diary Planner (5.75″ x 8.25″)

Need something with HOURLY planning? The Lemome Diary Planner is just what you’re looking for–it’s amazing for daily planning.

Honorable Mention: You Are A Badass Planner

You Are a Badass 17-Month 2020-2021 Monthly/Weekly Planning Calendar: Deluxe Organizer
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  • LENGTH: 17 Months
  • DATING: August 2020 – December 2021
  • SIZE: 7.7″ x 9″
  • PAGE TYPES: Monthly, weekly, habit trackers, stickers, and quotes
  • BINDING: Coil binding with rounded corners and a sturdy, poly-protected cover
  • COLORS: 1 option

Finally, we have a runner-up:

The You Are A Badass Planner.

It isn’t designed to be an academic planner per say, however the layout is still ideal for college life. The vibrant yellow packs a nice punch of positivity into your day, too. 

There’s a generous amount of space and checkboxes for each day of the week. Monthly habit tracker pages and fun stickers are also included.


Instead of the usual 12 months, this planner runs for a total of 17 months.

Reviews were impressed with the previous version and the 2021 version–which is simply, newer and improved.

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female college student shopping for the best academic planners on her laptop with a dachshund on her lap staring at the screen

Deciding Between College Planners

If I know I can save myself from a major headache later – I’m all for doing a little work upfront.

That’s why:

I like choosing a college planner during the summer. You know, before things get really busy around back to school time.

It gives me plenty of time to shop around and find a planner that’s a perfect fit for my needs.


Without all the usual college life stress, I can make a more level-headed decision vs the snap one I might make if I waited until the last minute.

Being prepared is a simple yet powerful way to set yourself up for success in college.

And trust me:

I need all the help I can get when it comes to managing my life and keeping my shit together once school is in session.

After all:

There’s A LOT to stay on top of as a college student. Between new classes, assignment due dates, social outings, and extracurriculars…the list goes on!

Having the right planner makes all the difference.

How do I find the best academic planner for ME?

Figuring out which college planner will work best for you is actually pretty simple!

You’ll just want to consider a few things…

Start by thinking about how much you’ll have to do in a day. Do you need an academic planner that has space to track everything (down to the hour) or would a minimalist planner work better for you?


Is writing a lot (or often) something that bothers you? It’s an often overlooked detail, but it’s an important factor in your decision.

Writing in a planner is a part of using it and if you can’t stand your own handwriting – well, maybe a bullet journal is more up your alley. A digital student planner could even be the one for you.

And finally…

The SIZE of your college planner is another option to mull over. The point of a school planner is to keep track of your schedule, and if it’s not with you at almost all times, then it’s not doing its job!

Do you prefer to carry light when going around campus or is there plenty of space in your backpack to accommodate a bigger notebook?

overhead view of woman looking at her planner with a dachshund on a desk, along with a sticker decorated laptop and othe items

Final thoughts on college student planners…

Alright, those are my top 5 picks when it comes to the best college student planners. Hopefully, one of those is your holy grail to organization!

But let me know which one YOU think is the most useful for managing school life.


Don’t forget to have some fun and to check some things off your bucket list this summer!


More articles related to planners & college:

The Top 5 MUST-HAVE Academic Planners for College Students in 2021 5

the 5 best planners to use at college - Pinterest infographic

The Top 5 MUST-HAVE Academic Planners for College Students in 2021 5

Best Planners for College Students 2021

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