Despite the handiness of apps, there is still something to say for a good-ole’ paper planner. Our friends, Jordan & Rachel over at, The Organized College Student share with us the importance of utilizing a planner.

We suggest the Mead Academic Planner from Amazon because it is the same size as a notebook and perfect for carrying around in your backpack.

Here are some tips for making your lifeline effective:

Write in Your Class Schedule

  • As soon as you get your syllabus for each class, write in your class schedule.
  • Daily, write a list of your classes, leaving a space to pencil in pop quizzes or deadlines.
  • Next to the name of the class, write what will be covered that particular day. By writing in your class schedule, you will know at a glance exactly what to expect for that particular day.
  • Perhaps the most important use of a planner, deadlines MUST be written in!

Color Code It

One of the most helpful things for me in using a planner is color coding. Why? Well, when you have a bunch of grey or black scribblings on white paper, it is easy to miss something important since it all looks the same. We can’ t have that! Using color coding insures that class schedules and deadlines stand out and you’ re able to find the information you need without too much searching.

  • Assign a color to each class. It could simply be a highlighter color for color coding, or you could even extend it to color coding your notebooks and folders.
  • You could even extend your color coding to have a color for organizations (sororities, fraternities, clubs, etc.) and a color for your personal events (work, appointments, meetings).

Make Study To-Do Lists

Stack of Documents --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Something that planners are great for but never used for is to-do lists! There are margins in a planner, why not use them to your advantage?

  • In the context of college, it is VERY helpful to make study to-do lists in the margins of your planner. That way, at the beginning of each week you can sit down and make a study plan based on your class schedule.
  • My to-do list to the right shows a box next to each of my classes. In order to check off a box, I have to spend some time studying for that class.
  • As an effective studier, it is best to study a little every day.
  • Study to-do lists can help ensure effective daily studying and keep you on track for A’ s!

Add New Information Right Away

This step is pretty self-explanatory but often overlooked! Too many times I hear people say, “I’ ll write that down later” or, “I’ ll remember that”. Those are the same people who forget about upcoming exams or turn in their papers late. Don’ t be that guy!

  • As soon as you hear something important (such as “quiz on Thursday” or “your papers should be turned in electronically”), write it down!
  • And, don’ t just write it anywhere, write it in a logical place. For example, if you find out you’ re having a quiz on Thursday, write down ‘ quiz’ next to that class on Thursday. Then add a study reminder on your to-do list for Wednesday.

Always Keep Your Planner on You

Now what’ s the point of a planner if you never have it when you need it?Your planner is your lifeline, remember?

  • Carry it with you to all your classes, meetings, interviews, and engagements. You never know when you’ ll need to add something important to it. That being said, if you forget your planner, make sure to write down important information in a place you will see it later and remember to write it down.

To read the full blog post How to Use a Planner in College – Your Planner is Your Lifeline, visit The Organized College Student written by our Guest Bloggers.


Meet our Guest Bloggers…

Jordan & RachelRachel & Jordan are co-creators of The Organized College Student. Their mission, as fellow college students, is to provide helpful tips, encouragement and know-how for those who are new to the college scene – wishing you the best of luck in your studies. For additional information about organizing dorm life, tested study tips, time management tools, and more, visit them at The Organized College Student. @Jordan_Rachel_