Academic Planner: 9 Best Study Planners For College Students

Your time in college can be fun but if you’re not careful, it can be stressful, confusing, and overwhelming.

One of the reasons for this is that you don’t have a reliable way to get organized, and you are not using an academic planner that works specifically for your study life.

We’ll cover the different types of academic planners and include links to specific ones so you can explore your options for the academic year ahead!

Let’s start with the basics:

What Is an Academic Planner?

An academic planner is a tool that will keep you organized and help you perform better in school while making sure you have time for fun.

It’s a personal planner you can use to:

  • Keep track of due dates for assignments
  • Plan out studying for exams
  • See your class schedule
  • Have all assignments in one place
  • Estimate how long your tasks will take
  • Plan ahead for group projects
  • Know if you have enough time to get your studying done on time
  • Plan When to work on Which assignment and for How Long

Now keep in mind, not all planners will give you all these options.

Why Should I Use an Academic Planner?

The most common reason for using a study planner is to manage your time and have more time for what matters to you.

That could be anything from hanging out with friends, working a job, being more active in your community, or even getting some extra studying done.

College students need an academic planner to get good grades

What Are My Options When It Comes to Academic Planners?

There are THREE main options when it comes to picking a study planner and all have different advantages and disadvantages.

Let’s go through what’s available while assessing their pros and cons and why one of these planners beats them all.

Paper Planners

So you just got yourself one of these fancy, lay flat paper planners with a fun layout on each page.

It includes anything from weekly planning pages, monthly calendars, note pages, productivity pages, and inspirational quotes to keep you motivated and organized.

Paper Planner

Compared to other types of planners, using a paper planner as your academic year planner is beneficial because:

  • No distractions. When planning your week/month in a paper planner, it’s harder to get distracted by messages or notifications than having a planner on your phone, meaning that you can easily focus on your work.
  • Good for recalling information later on. When you write something down by hand, there is some evidence to suggest you’ll remember it better.


  • It is time-consuming. Imagine having to manually start from scratch every week or month when re-creating your schedule or copying your entire semester’s schedule by hand instead of having AI do that automatically for you.
  • Accessibility problems. One of the biggest problems that come with using a traditional academic planner is not being able to access your schedule or your notes when you don’t have it with you.
  • Mistakes are harder to erase and take more time than just deleting or editting something on your phone or computer.
  • It’s not very “smart.” A paper planner will not do any calculations of available study time and will not give you insightful analytics about your study progress
  • Ink bleeding/ghostingThis is a common problem and it occurs when ink seeps through on the other side of the paper, making it hard to write on the next page. Wasting more paper!

If the Cons aren’t enough to deter you from purchasing a paper planner, here is a list of the best ones:

Digital Planners and Calendars

Digital planners are usually much more efficient than traditional paper planners, and each one offers a variety of great features that paper planners cannot provide.

Digital Academic Planners are better than paper planners

Most of you are familiar with these types of planners and might be using them to plan your academic year already.

Google and Apple Calendar

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Google and Apple calendar are high up on our list. They are great planning tools even though neigher is specifically a student planner.


  • You can quickly create your class schedule
  • You can access them from anywhere
  • You can edit your events without needing an eraser


  • You can’t import your syllabus from your LMS (Canvas, Brightspace, Moodle)
  • You can’t drag and drop specific tasks into specific study times
  • You can’t track progress on your assignments
  • You don’t get enough information to know if you’ll be able to get your studying done on time

Other planning apps & TO-DO lists

To-do list apps or other student planner apps are usually better equipped for your study life, but they fail to do three very important things.

  • They don’t let you import tasks from your Syllabus
  • They don’t let you timebox when you’ll work on each task and for how long
  • They don’t let you know if you’ll have enough time to get everything done one time

These planners include:

Shovel Study Planner

Out of all the academic planners we discussed above, Shovel is the only student planner with all the useful features you need to succeed in school, eliminate stress, and prepare for your professional career.

What Is Shovel?

9. Shovel is a time-blocking study planner app that acts as a calendar and a to-do list in one. And much more!

Shovel - Time-blocking Study Planner

What Is Time-blocking?

Time Blocking For College Students

In short, time-blocking (also known as timeboxing) is assigning tasks to different “time blocks” in your calendar for various durations of time.

As a student, you have fixed commitments you cannot change (classes, activities, meals, social time) and then available study times. Shovel lets you drag and drop specific tasks into each study time.

Why Is Shovel the Best Planner for Becoming a Better Student?

Here is a short summary:

  • You become more productive. Humans were not built for multi-tasking. Timeboxing lets you “single-task.” You’ll get each task done in less time.
  • You will know if you can get everything done on time before you run into trouble. Because Shovel knows your estimates, when you want to get started on each task, and how much available time you have each day, it will calculate if you can meet every deadline.
  • You become less stressed. When you know you have enough time to get your tasks done and you know what task you should be working on, when, and for how long, there is no need to be stressed.
  • You have everything in one place. Shovel is a calendar, planner, a to-do list, task tracker, and time calculator in one simple platform.
  • You will learn from your mistakes. Shovel tracks your progress and lets you keep an eye on how much you have been studying. It learns from your reading speed to estimate how long your future readings will take.
  • You will never miss a deadline. Shovel syncs with your class schedule and learning management platform and updates automatically. That way, you never miss a deadline again.

You can find more info about why Shovel is the best planner here.

Some of Shovel’s Greatest Features in a Nutshell


Time Blocking Tasks With Shovel Study Planner

Shovel shows you all your tasks next to your week view. You can see how much of a task is still “not planned” and drop it into specific times in your calendar.

All your tasks from all your classes in one place

A powerful multi-functional task list.

Powerful task list in shovel study planner

Past Analytics

See your progress and learn from your past.

Analytics showing you your past to motivate you in Shovel Study Planner

Future Analytics

Analytics that show the future in Shovel Study Planner

See how much workload is coming up the next day/week/month or all time.

Know how much of that workload is going to be spent on each task as well as how much of that workload you have already planned.

Cushion feature

The Cushion graph is an exceptionally great feature for those of us who like to procrastinate without getting stressed. You will NOT find this functionality anywhere else.

The Cushion calculates how much wiggle room you have according to your schedule and the time it takes to complete your tasks.

No more feeling guilty because you spent an extra hour watching your favorite show when you know you have enough time to get it done!

The Cushion Graph In Shovel Study Planner

Reminders to study

Notifications in Shovel Study Planner

Another great feature is the app’s reminder feature. The app reminds you to start studying for a specific task at the time when you’re supposed to and reminds you to check off if you studied or not.

Is Shovel a Good Planner for College?

Yes. Shovel is a planner designed by students for students.

It was created to tackle problems that students face in their everyday lives, and allows students to enjoy their study life to the max, at any stage of their education.

Does Shovel Only Work for the American Education System?

No. Shovel is fully customizable to your needs and can fit most educational systems worldwide!

How Can I Make the Most of Shovel?

When you first create an account with Shovel, you get a walk-through tutorial on how to use the app and get familiar with the app’s features.

We have uploaded tutorials on YouTube and we have articles for how to use the app on our official knowledge webpage.

Are There Any Limits on How to Use Shovel?

No. You don’t have to be a student to use Shovel. Shovel can be the perfect planner for pretty much any kind of profession or just for your general time management needs.

How Can I Use Shovel If I’m Not a Student?

You can use Shovel as your work planner and plan your work tasks along with your meetings, errands, etc.

Does Shovel Connect To My Existing Calendars?

Yes, you can connect Shovel to Google Cal, Apple Cal, and Outlook cal. 


Become a more productive student.

Timeboxing Study Planner - Shovel


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