5 Steps to Setting Up Your Planner for the New School Year

Hello all!

I can’t believe that it’s already time for back to school. It seems like just yesterday we were counting down the days to summer, and now we’re ready to go back to college – ah, time flies.

With the arrival of the new school year comes the season of preparation – and if you’re anything like me, you want to be as prepared as humanly possible for the start of classes.

Staying organized from August to May starts with the use of a planner, and if you’re ready to get yours all set up for the first day, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s how to get your agenda first-day ready in five easy steps.

Disclaimer: Any pink links in this post are affiliate; however, all opinions are my own and can’t be bought! More legal information is available here.

1. First things first, select the right planner for you and your lifestyle.

I’ve ranted about Blue Sky’s Day Designer before (and yes, I’ll be using it once again this year), but you should browse your local school supply stores before making your final decision. Maybe you prefer less (or more) structure, or you like to plan hour by hour instead of day by day. You can use whatever works for you as long as you promise to maintain it!

While you’re at the store, consider picking up some colorful pens, labels, stickers, or other decorative organization tools to help make your planner super cute and easy-to-read.

planner organization college student planning studying school
Once you have your planner, it’s time to start setting it up. We’re going to work from the most broad to the most specific so we don’t forget anything important.

2. Mark personal events and milestones.

If you’re using colorful pens, be sure to make a key somewhere you can remember it, so you know which color each group of events will be. I chose to put all my personal events and birthdays in orange, so I marked that down to start!

Next, grab the family calendar and record important events taking place in your personal life, including (but not limited to):

  • Loved ones’ birthdays
  • Anniversaries
  • Upcoming weddings
  • Upcoming family vacations
  • Reunions

Checking off these first will save you some stress down the road; you won’t have to worry if you’re missing anything important.

Related: Prefer to use an electronic method of homework tracking? Try using my FREE due date spreadsheet!

3. Jot down important academic reminders.

In a new color, use your school’s most recent academic calendar to mark up important deadlines and reminders, like:

  • First day of classes
  • Midterms & finals weeks
  • Registration & financial aid deadlines
  • Fall & spring breaks, and other holidays

5 Steps for Setting Up Your Planner for the New College Semester

4. Next, etch in your class and work schedules.

If your schedules for the upcoming semester haven’t been completely finalized yet, you may opt to use a pencil for this portion. Simply mark your scheduled shifts, and the times and locations of each of classes in your planner – either for the entirety of the semester, or at least through the first week. You don’t want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time!

Related: Still trying to decide what planner to use? Learn about my planner of choice for the 2017-18 school year!

5. Use a pencil to mark class deadlines.

Once you gain access to the syllabi for each of your classes, it’s time to mark in the due dates. You can color-code by class or by assignment type if you have erasable colored pencils – or you can opt to wait and highlight the assignments later, once you’re sure nothing will move around.

Having all the due dates in your planner from day one ensures that you’ll never be the kid who comes into class with no clue that it’s the day of a big exam – but it’s even more important to continue marking due dates in your planner as the semester goes on. Things may change, and assignments may be added or taken away, so pay attention and edit your assignment book when necessary.

Once all of this is squared away, you’re ready for day one. Remember: things might move around a bit, so be flexible if you have to reorganize during the first few weeks. That’s a small price to pay for being the most prepared student on campus!

Are you ready for classes to start? Read more back to school posts, or join the discussion below and let everyone know what you’re doing to prepare for the new semester!

Michelle sign off


9 thoughts on “5 Steps to Setting Up Your Planner for the New School Year

  1. Loved this post! I LIVE by my planner during the school year (so much so that I designed one of my own!) I always write down all my assignments in it + color code them as soon as I get my syllabus.


  2. This is great! It’s so important to be well organized. I’m getting ready to start a postgraduate course in October, along with working freelance pretty much full time, so I’m going to need every organizational trick I can find! Thanks for these tips 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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