The Top 5 MUST-HAVE Academic Planners for College Students in 2023

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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.

With so many types of planners for students out there, it was too difficult to pick just one overall best planner. Not to mention, planning is such an individual thing. We all have our own unique preferences, and what’s right for someone else may not be right for you.

So instead of recommending just one overall best planner, I’ve compiled a list of the top picks in a range of styles and price points.

If you’re in a rush:

This specific academic planner is the most popular.

College Student Planner Comparison

ImageBrandSize
Overall WINNERUltimate Student Planner College Edition 2023-2024 in cream with poppy and bubble gumUltimate Student Planner by ClassTracker7"x8.5"More Info
Best Innovationthe Centered Student Planner for the 2023-2024 academic yearCentered Student Planner7"x9" (B5)More Info
Best Customizable Erin Condren Coiled Academic Planner 2022-2023, cover: pastel rainbowsErin Condren Academic Planner7"x9" (B5) OR 5.8"x8.3" (A5)More Info
Best Basic Lemome Academic PlannerLemome Academic Student Planner5"x8" OR 8"x11"More Info
Best All-in-One Live Whale PlannerLive Whale Planner8.3"x5.5" (A5)More Info
Honorable Mention You Are a Badass PlannerYou Are a Badass Planner7.7"x9"More Info

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 Class Tracker

Details

  • LENGTH: 12 Months, equal to 2 Semesters or 3 Quarters/Trimesters
  • DATING: July 2023 – June 2024 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 soft-touch lamination cover
  • COLORS: 16 cover options

First up:

We’ll look at the Class Tracker Ultimate Student Planner. It has “ultimate” in the name, so how could I not include it in this list?

However, the name isn’t just hype.

This academic planner is not only my personal favorite but a reader favorite as well. The College Edition of the Ultimate Student Planner is made specifically for college students—and it shows!

This planner takes the unique needs of college students into account by having dedicated pages to record their class schedule each semester. And the weekly layout pages are structured into 4 parts:

  • Remember To-Do List
  • Quizzes/Exams/Papers/Projects
  • Assignments
  • Daily Plan
overview of the planning pages and how they work in the class tracker academic planner for students
(click for a closer look!)

This helps you stay on top of your schedule so you’ll never miss a due date. Managing your time and energy while juggling a busy college life has never been more straightforward.

You know the syllabus you get from every class at the beginning of each semester?

Simply fill out your planner with that information. And just like that, you’ve laid out a clear roadmap for tackling your workload for the whole semester.

This, in turn, makes it easy for you to keep your priorities in focus. It’s not hard to see how you can experience greater peace of mind and reduced stress levels by utilizing this college planner.

Basically, this student planner simplifies the most challenging parts of college life—organizing and prioritizing.

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. If you’re craving more details, I cover everything about it in my Class Tracker Ultimate Student Planner review here.

Bottom line: the Ultimate Student Planner layout is focus-driven and easy to understand. In fact, the simplicity is what makes so effective. This college planner makes prioritizing everything you have going on at school as easy as ABC. With its help, you’re able to quickly set a realistic and actionable plan that spreads out your workload into a manageable schedule.

Taking into account the practicality and price, the Ultimate Student Planner is the overall best planner for college students.

Out of all the planners covered in this post, the Ultimate Student Planner is the best planner for ADHD students. Again, I do want to note that which planner is right for you can be a highly subjective experience, as there are many factors to consider.

Now from my point of view, the Ultimate Student Planner is a very ADHD friendly planner. It is set up in a particularly advantageous way that addresses the common struggles faced by students with ADHD—organizing and prioritizing.

In a nutshell: this is the best planner for college students who need no distractions, aren’t overly concerned with aesthetics, don’t want/need hourly scheduling, and who want a lightweight and notebook-sized agenda.

So if that sounds like you, this planner is the perfect tool to streamline your studies.

Our #1 favorite
2023-2024 Ultimate Student Planner by Classtracker, College Edition, color: black with cream

Ultimate Student Planner College Edition

The best planner for college

While many claim to be the ultimate student planner, this one actually lives up to the name. We love this academic year planner because it’s lightweight, comes with pages to record class schedules, and the innovative weekly spread makes prioritizing so dang easy.

*Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on: 2023-12-05

2. The Centered Student Planner

Details

  • LENGTH: 12 Months
  • DATING: August 2023 – July 2024
  • SIZE: B5 (7″ x 9″)
  • PAGE TYPES: Monthly, weekly, year-at-a-glance, class schedule, notes, to-do lists
  • BINDING: Wire-O binding with high-quality linen fabric cover
  • COLORS: 5 trendy colors

The Centered Student Planner is designed by an award-winning college professor and it shows; the Centered Student has thought of everything!

Most planners for college students assume you know what you’re doing and how to make the best use of your time. Although time management plays an essential role in a student’s success at college, it unfortunately isn’t something that’s taught or emphasized enough. However it IS a skill that anyone can learn with the right guidance. 

In contrast, the Centered Student Planner anticipates college student’s most common struggles. Not only does it have an intuitive layout featuring purpose-driven weekly spreads, hourly time slots, and an included notepad with 50 to-do lists, but you’ll also get access to 52 exclusive video tutorials.

With a modern, scannable QR code bookmark, these easily digestible video tutorials are literally at your fingertips, ready to bridge important information gaps before they become an issue.

Honestly, this paper planner is a difficult one to summarize! I highly encourage you to explore all the details in my Centered Student Planner review.

Refined and improved with the help of feedback from actual university students who use it, the 2023-2024 Centered Student Planner is the best version yet. Last year, the new linen covers and upgraded quality wowed us – this time, they have managed to elevate the aesthetic to a whole new level!

In addition to last year’s most popular colors, there are now two more gorgeous covers to choose from: Starling Blue and *limited edition* Floral Bleu.

And to top it all off:

The Centered Student Planners are priced at $32 this year (vs $36 in 2022) to acknowledge the toll inflation is taking on all of us. 

**UPDATE: The CSP is currently sold out on the website, but there’s still some stock available on Amazon! Check the available planner stock and bundle stock here. 

Bottom line: the Centered Student Planner is truly one-of a kind and an amazing option for all kinds of college students. Particularly, this is the best planner for college freshmen, students who have struggled to stay consistent with other planners, and those who need help optimizing their use of time.

Top choice
the centered student planner 2023-2024 in starling blue

Centered Student Planner

The best planner for time management

Beyond its attractive appearance, this planner stands out for its modern and unique approach tailored to the needs of college students. Included video tutorials with expert advice provide real, actionable steps to help you get organized. Devised by a teaching professor to be a comprehensive guide for college success, this planner is particularly ideal for college freshmen and those who need more guidance.

*Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on: 2023-12-05

3. The Erin Condren Academic Planner

Details

  • LENGTH: 12 Months
  • DATING: Jul. 2023 – Jun. 2024, Aug. 2023 – Jul. 2024, Sep. 2023 – Aug. 2024, or Jan. 2024 – Dec. 2024
  • SIZE: B5 (7″ x 9″) & A5 (5.8” x 8.3”)
  • PAGE TYPES: Monthly quotes, productivity pages, class schedule, weekly, yearly, 4 note pages after each month, 2 sticker sheets + project & exam tracking pages.
  • BINDING: Coiled with laminate cover or Softbound with vegan leather cover (Lay-Flat)
  • 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: project and exam tracking pages, a place to write your class schedule, as well as assignments and due dates on the weekly planning pages. 2 sheets of stickers included!

All of which are invaluable features for busy college students!

💡 TIP: the newest Erin Condren planners are usually available starting in early May

As of this year, Erin Condren now offers three styles of academic planners:

  • Coiled
  • Softbound (lefty-friendly)
  • Focused – great for students who want something sleek and minimalist!

But, if it wasn’t good enough already:

These college planners have a HUGE selection of covers—which are easily interchangeable so you can change it up anytime.

You’ll find a range of wonderful designs to choose from (including Star Wars, Jurassic World, and Hello Kitty!) and they’re always adding more styles. You even have the option to personalize it by adding your name to the cover.

Plus Erin Condren has so many cute and useful accessories which compliment their academic planners (such as this incredibly handy wet erase projects and exams dashboard). This makes it easy to further tailor your planner to suit your personal needs.

All in all, Erin Condren school agendas are in another league of their own. I’ve personally used more than a couple Erin Condren planners over the years—they do not disappoint!

To get a better idea of what kind of quality you can expect from Erin Condren planners, be sure to check out the video below (or read my review of the Erin Condren LifePlanner).

Video: Erin Condren Planner for College Students

Bottom line: Hands down, Erin Condren offers the best customizable academic planners for college students. While more expensive than others, these planners are of premium quality—they’re really nice.

These planners offer a lot of value, but that comes with a lot of pages that you may find unnecessary or even overwhelming. These are the best college planners for students who enjoy pretty stationary, want to use their planner to its FULL potential, and are ready to take their organization game up to the next level.

**At the time of writing, horizontal is the only weekly layout option for the academic planner line. If you’re looking for something with a vertical or hourly layout, the Erin Condren LifePlanner is an excellent option and worth considering.

Most popular
The Erin Condren Student Planner, cover design: special edition Star Wars Millennium Falcon academic planner

Erin Condren Academic Planner

Best custom student planner

With plenty of pages for planning your weeks & months, plus tracking projects & exams, this is a best-selling student planner for a reason. It’s the most customizable option we found.

4. The Live Whale Planner

Details

  • 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 or linen fabric wrapped hardcover, metal reinforced edges
  • COLORS: 6 colors

The Live Whale Planner is a conveniently sized option that’s perfect for school. It has a hardcover, thick 120 GSM 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 animal-friendly vegan leather or you can choose their new linen fabric option. The little whale on the front is a super cute detail too. In any event, there’s clearly there’s a lot to like about this planner!

Top choice
Live Whale Undated Weekly Planner, color: pink

Live Whale Planner

Best all-in-one academic planner

A book-sized planner that can handle it all, this option has 12 months worth of undated pages for daily, monthly, and budget planning. Plus with habit tracker, brain dump, mind map, and vision board sections it encompasses everything needed for managing life on, and off, campus.

*Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on: 2023-12-05

5. The Lemome Academic Planner

Details

  • LENGTH: 12 Months
  • DATING: July 2023 – June 2024
  • SIZE: A5 (5.7″ x 8.25″)
  • PAGE TYPES: Monthly, weekly, yearly overview, note, goal & stickers
  • BINDING: Lay-flat book binding with faux leather softcover
  • COLORS: 4 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 school 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. Awesome, right? 

And with high-quality paper, you don’t have to worry about ink bleeding through. The overall design is a sophisticated and a low key look suited for college girls, college guys, and anyone really.

Its on-the-go size is just right for keeping in your backpack, so you can easily carry it with you all over campus. Though if you enjoy using a bigger planner, Lemome’s A4 weekly planner is very comparable. 

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

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

Top choice
Lemome Weekly & Monthly Academic Planner, color: gray

Lemome Academic Planner

The best planner for college guys

Our most inexpensive recommendation, this sturdy no-frills planner comes with many practical features – most notably the 88 pages for notes. It’s trimmed down enough to cut out the “fluff”, but substantial enough to keep a busy college student completely organized.

*Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on: 2023-12-05

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

Need something with HOURLY planning? The Lemome Diary Planner is just what you’re looking for — it’s amazing for daily planning down to the hour.

Honorable Mention: You Are A Badass Planner

Details

  • LENGTH: 17 Months
  • DATING: August 2023 – December 2024
  • SIZE: B5 (7″ x 9″)
  • PAGE TYPES: Monthly, weekly, habit trackers, stickers, notes, goals, and quotes
  • BINDING: Spiral-bound with soft-touch hardcover
  • 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 se, however, the layout is still ideal for college life. Furthermore, the vibrant yellow packs a nice punch of positivity into your day.

The weekly spread pages utilize a horizontal layout with a generous amount of space and checkboxes for each day of the week. Monthly overview, habit tracker pages, and fun stickers are also included.

And:

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

Reviewers were impressed with both the original version and last year’s version. So, chances are the newest version (which is simply newer and improved) is just as kickass for staying organized in college.

Runner up
You Are A Badass Planner/Life Organizer, color: yellow

You Are A Badass Planner

The planner that motivates

Though not designed specifically for school, this planner has ample space to write down all the assignments and reminders you need as a student. This is a good planner choice for goal diggers who are motivated by visual progress, especially if you enjoy sassy quotes and fun stickers.

*Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on: 2023-12-05


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.

Plus:

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?

Next:

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?


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

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. Drop a comment below to share your thoughts.

Finally:

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

More articles related to planners & college:


Pin it for later 📌:

5 student planners that are perfect for college, Pinterest infographic

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Best Academic Planners for College Students 2023

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12 Comments

  1. I would say that Ultimate Student Planner by ClassTracker is the best option for me. There’s so many ways to help with time management in everyday college life!! With scheduling classes, work, studying, and remembering to make time for myself, this would definitely help me organize and make sure I don’t forget things because I’m writing it down to remember. It also helps me wire my brain to keep everything on schedule.
    This would help me a lot in my process and organization for college this upcoming semester!

    1. Having a time management system that meshes well with your brain is key! Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, Tehillah. πŸ˜„

  2. I like the Ultimate student planner the most because it’s both functional and pretty to look at. I like all my stuff to be cute, but sometimes the cute ones aren’t efficient. I love that Class Tracker solves that problem! πŸ™‚

    1. There’s just something about the right stationery aesthetic that makes all the difference. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Janaya!

  3. The centered student planner looks and sounds amazing! Hoping to get that one πŸ™‚