What is an Academic Planner? How to Use Yours Better

What is an academic planner?

An academic planner is a planner or agenda specifically for students. However, they are also called student planners, school planners, or student agendas interchangeably. They’re used in education at all levels, from elementary school to college and range in complexity accordingly. Academic planners are sometimes provided by schools or available through school or college stores.

Regardless of where a student planner is provided or purchased, they all have several common uses. Primarily to track school assignments, record important dates, and set personal goals. Planners for elementary and secondary grades also enhance communication between teachers, students, and parents.

Academic planner benefits

Most importantly, academic planners are excellent tools for teaching students organizational skills that are valuable later in life. Namely time management and how to increase productivity. Additionally, organizing school work and activities can help students feel less overwhelmed and curb ineffective study habits.

Accordingly, we’ve rounded up the best tips to help students make the most of their academic planners. For example, how to create your own if it isn’t provided or available through school. And, how you can use your personal planner to help your kids learn how to use their student planners.

You might also like these resources to help you get back-to-school ready:

Spiral bound student planner on a bright yellow background with yellow headphones and golden yellow washi tape surround by Avery planner supplies, including planner stickers, UltraTabs and Marks A Lot ultrafine permanent markers.
Help your student decorate and personalize their planner so that they’re excited to use it every day.

Help your student start their academic planner

A planner is a tool that works best when used daily. For this reason, it’s important to motivate your student to use their academic planner every day, not just once in a while. Help your student decorate and personalize their academic planner so that it’s something they’re proud of and can’t wait to use.

To begin, encourage your student to personalize the cover of their academic planner. Whether that means creating a collage, painting it, covering it in stickers, or adding their own drawings with vibrant permanent markers.

Next, help them gather any paperwork with dates that the school or their teachers have sent home. Ask your student to fill in their academic planner with all the important school/class dates along with holidays and birthdays of friends and family.

Choosing the right planner accessories

First, leverage school supplies you may already have on hand, such as colorful highlighters, markers, and repositionable tabs. Color makes people feel good. Using color like an expert in an academic planner can help boost your student’s mood as well as help them track information at a glance and organize information better.

Next, set up your student with academic planner stickers. For example our planner sticker variety pack for students. We love sticker packs for beginners because it makes it incredibly easy to jump right into planning. Or, help your student create their own DIY planner stickers to print at home or have printed for you.

PRO TIP: Check out this helpful tutorial on making custom planner stickers with our free online design software. It’s a fun creative project for students of all ages.

Bullet journal student planner on a blue background surrounded by school supplies. Featured planner supplies include Avery UltraTabs, Hi Liters, Marks A Lot ultrafine permanent markers and student planner stickers.
Any planner can be turned into an academic planner with student planner stickers. Bullet journals are great for students who prefer a flexible approach to planning for school.

How to make a student planner

Many schools provide students with an academic planner or agenda for keeping track of assignments and important dates. If your kids’ school doesn’t provide one there are several options at various price points and levels of convenience to consider.

1) Make your own with supplies on hand

It is totally possible to make your own academic planner at home with common school supplies. The benefit of going this route is that it’s pretty easy and it’s likely that you already have the necessary supplies on hand.

First, grab a binder and fill it with 12-tab dividers for the months. Then, print and hole punch simple weekly calendar pages that the kids can fill in as they go. Finally, add paper at the end for notes, drawing, or journaling.

2) Convert a regular planner or bullet journal

Simply buy a regular planner or bullet journal and designate it for school use. This is a great option if you need to get one done fast because you can pick up all the supplies at your local office supply store. Use printable labels to make DIY planner stickers for filling in class schedules and other student needs. Add extra sections for assignments, goals, and notes with repositionable tabs.

3) Order a custom student planner

If you have more time and a little more budget, order a custom student planner. Custom-order academic planners offer next-level personalization. They’re excellent tools for students because they can be tailored to specific academic needs. Custom Plum Paper planners for students offer custom weekly layouts, personalized cover designs, and an academics section. You can even create a custom academic planner printed with your student’s weekly class schedule and choose from elementary, high school, and college layouts.

Tips for helping your student make the most of their academic planner

Creating good academic planner habits now will set your student up for success at school and later in life. In fact, learning how to effectively use a planner helps your student increase productivity and improve their time-management skills. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to help your student learn good habits.

First, and most importantly, make using planners part of your family’s daily routine. One way to do that is to set aside “quiet time” for the whole family to relax and plan or journal. Secondly, help your student get into the habit of adding assignment due dates as soon as they receive them. Thirdly, encourage your kids to feel confident proactively asking teachers for dates if needed. 

Lastly, teach your student how to use backward planning to stay on top of due dates. When your student adds a due date or milestone for an assignment, have them go back a day or week to add a reminder that the date is approaching.

Spiral bound personal planner on a pink  background with pink school supplies and Avery planner accessories including Luxe UltraTabs, planner stickers for moms, Hi Liters and a Marks A Lot ultrafine permanent marker.
Use your planner to model good habits for your kids so they can learn how to use their academic planners more effectively.

Model how to use a planner effectively

As we discussed above, instilling good habits now sets up students for success. So why not use your planner to model effective time-management practices for your kids? One way you can do this is to get organized for back to school in your own personal planner. Especially when your kids are still young and want to do everything mommy or daddy does.

That being so, show your kids your planner and how you use it. Show them the fun stickers you use and how planning helps you be responsible and have time for fun stuff too. Ask them to show you their academic planner and ask them how they think it will help them with school.

Take time to plan together too. Family “quiet time” is one way to do it. You could also plan collaboratively. For example, everyone has their planner out and you can help each other add important dates, give suggestions for decorations, etc. However you go about it, modeling how to use a planner teaches by example. And don’t forget the added benefit of staying organized during a very busy time of year!

Get organized and help your student make the most of their academic planner

Planning for the school year is crucial for parents and students. Ultimately, kids need structure and a calm, orderly environment in order to succeed. Learning to use an academic planner not only helps build valuable life skills but provides structure and order.

Of course, shopping for cute planner supplies is a fun bonus that helps you and the kids get excited to plan! What’s your favorite planner tip you think everyone should try? Connect with us on Instagram or Facebook and let us know!