Perfect Planners for College Students

Perfect Planners for College Students! How to find your perfect planner.

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Kayla Blogs Planner Post 2017

Since summer is going way too quickly (it’s almost July.. what?!) I decided to write up a post about how to find the best planner to suit your needs. I finally found the best planner for me at the end of last year and I couldn’t be more excited about ordering a new one in a few days!

The easiest way to figure out what planner works best for you is to first sit down and think about what you’ll use it for. I use my planner mostly for school-related things such as writing down assignments, marking exam dates, and keeping track of readings. I also use it to track meeting dates and events for my frat and my work schedule. When life gets busy for me, it gets REALLY busy and I needed a planner that I could either section off or one that already had sections for me. I knew the sections would keep me organized when things got really crazy.

I don’t have much use for an hourly schedule in my planner because I use Google Calendar for that. However, if you schedule a lot of appointments or have a lot of meetings, an hourly layout might be best for you.

So, take a minute to think about what sorts of things you want to keep track of to help yourself stay organized and take a look at my planner suggestions below! This has been one of my favorite posts to write and I hope you find this guide helpful!

Plum Paper Planners

These planners are more expensive than any other planner I’ve ever bought (still less expensive than many of their competitors, though!) and I wanted to make sure I liked it before I purchased the 12 month edition. Needless to say, I loved it! The way the student planner was laid out worked perfectly to keep track of my many classes and activities. I am nearing the end of my 6 month planner and I will just ordered myself a 12 month Family Planner in the “Elaine” pattern, shown below. I chose the Family Planner this time because I still want separate sections for each of my classes/activities but I want a full length Saturday and Sunday as well. If you don’t schedule many things on weekends, then the Student Planner would work well for you because the Saturday and Sunday boxes are about half the size of the weekday boxes!

In addition to the student and family planners, there are also the traditional planners. You can choose from 3 different layouts. Morning/Afternoon/Evening, blank lines, or an hourly layout. The morning/afternoon/evening layout mimics that of the Erin Condren planners and the hourly is similar to the way the Day Designer works. So many options to choose from!

How to find your perfect planner! Plum Paper Planners
As you can see from the pictures above, the Plum Paper Planners come in some gorgeous cover designs that are able to be customized! As you can see, I got the “Corey” design for my first planner, but I decided I just wanted a monogram and not the name at the bottom too. I simply added that in the notes section when I was ordering and they were able to omit that for me! So easy! You are also able to change the colors on most of the cover designs. Just indicate that in the “notes to seller” section as well!

Day Designer by Whitney English

I wish I had a busy enough schedule for the Day Designer. I hope once I am an SLP I can get myself a Day Designer to use to keep track of sessions! I love the different designs the planners come in and I really like the way they’re set up. Each day has its own page with an hourly layout on one side of the page and to-do list bullets on the other.

How to find your perfect planner! Day Designers

There are also spaces for your “top three” of the day and a “daily gratitude”. I love the idea of having a single page per day and being able to start fresh daily. Day Designers are hard to come by, they usually sell out very quickly. So, if this is the planner you think will work best for you, be sure to keep an eye out on Day Designer social media to see when the next group of planners will become available! There is also the option to use the free download of the Day Designer single-page layout. I’ve used this on days where I am really busy and it has helped me tremendously. Sometimes it’s nice to lay your whole day out on a piece of paper to prepare yourself!

Erin Condren Life Planner

Erin Condren planners are all the rage. They are arguably the most popular planners for working women and moms everywhere. They come in all sorts of cover styles that are easy to remove and change whenever you decide. This year, Erin Condren released a rose gold edition (the first and eighth planners in this grid) which I think is absolutely stunning. I LOVE rose gold, this was a great idea. The layout of the Erin Condren planner can be either vertical or horizontal with specific colors schemes for each month. In the vertical layout, each day is divided into three sections that you can label to fit your needs. Home/school/work, morning/day/evening… the possibilities are endless!

How to find your perfect planner! Erin Condren Life Planners

Emily Ley Simplified Planners

Emily Ley Daily Simplified Planners are similar to the Day Designer. Each day has its own page: one hourly schedule column on the left, one checklist for to-dos on the right. The Simplified Planners also include a box for Dinner and a box for Notes. There are also quotes at the top of each day to inspire you!

How to find your perfect planner! Emily Ley Simplified Planners
There is also a Weekly Simplified Planner which is a horizontal layout with lines and a checklist for each day as well as a box for home related things or anything you want, really! There is also a section for “weekly prep” which I think is really nice. Agendas agendas are so flippin’ cute. They come in 2 different sizes: classic and large. Each week is laid out in a horizontal blank box layout with fun compliments, quotes, and weekly “to-dos” that are sure to brighten your day! It looks like the large planner has plenty of space for each day so if you have big handwriting or you don’t like to be tied down by lined pages, this might be the planner for you! These planners also come with some sticker pages that are ADORABLE. I’m considering ordering a sticker book just because I love them so much.

How to find your perfect planner! Bando agendas
There is also a really great bundle going on right now, you can buy a large floral planner and a sticker book for $34!

Lilly Pulitzer Agendas

Lilly Pulitzer just released their new line of agendas and boy, are they gorgeous! I am in love with Lilly patterns and the ones they picked out for their agendas are so cute. The inside is a lined horizontal weekly layout with Lilly patterns galore! These planners also come with super cute sticker pages as well. There are 4 different sizes to choose from: small, medium, large, and jumbo. This is great because if you love the patterns but aren’t a fan of lugging around a heavy planner all the time, the small or medium agendas could be perfect for you! Style + function, who doesn’t love that?!
How to find your perfect planner! Lilly Pulitzer agendas
May Designs

My seventh and final planner recommendation are May Designs agendas. On their website, you can choose from a plethora of patterns and designs and create an agenda, address book, notebook, fitness journal… there are tons of options. After you pick your pattern and what type of book you’d like it to be, you are able to customize with a year, quote, or monogram for a small extra cost. How cute are some of these designs?? The May Designs agendas are also great if you’re not looking for anything fancy and want to be able to carry it around with you all the time easily. The pages are sewn together so no bending spiral, either! I originally bought this planner for myself last year but found that the boxes inside became too small for my crazy schedule. I still used this planner to quickly jot down assignments and then I transferred them to my Plum Paper Planner either at the end of the day, or when I got home from class. I highly recommend these planners because they are really cheap, easy to carry around, and great quality!

How to find your perfect planner! May Designs agendas
Well, there you have it! A list of some of my favorite and most heard about planners. Hopefully this guide helps you choose the perfect planner for you. Let me know down in the comments which planner piqued your interest and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!


Kayla Blogs Planner Post 2017


How to Organize Your Planner for a New Semester

How I Use Google Calendar

How I Use Three Planners

  • I can never decide on a planner, so I never end up buying one.

  • Pingback: Must-Have School Supplies for Every College Freshman - Kayla Blogs()

  • I think you and I are destined to be blogging friends. Planners are my main addiction…The Plum Paper planner is my all time favorite one. I use it for my blog. I just bought the Day Designer Today and To Do a month or so ago but haven’t used it yet.

    • Hi Anne! I’d love to be blogging friends haha. I seriously love my PPP I just ordered one for next year and I can’t wait for it to get here. Only thing I hate is that it takes so long to process :(
      I’m jealous you got a Day Designer!! Like I said in my post, I wish I was busy enough for one. I think if I got one I wouldn’t know what to do with it. They’re so expensive, too :(
      They’re definitely my planner crush though… so pretty!!


    Love the bando planners they’re small enough where I can carry it with me in my backpack or purse. Great post!

    • Thanks for stopping by :)

      I have never had a bando planner but I think they are so adorable!! I love the designs, too. What do you think of the stickers? Do you use them?

  • I have been having such a hard time deciding which planner to use this year so thanks for making this post! I always forget about Plum Paper planners, but I think that might be the way to go this year. I really want a day designer, but I just haven’t been able to justify spending that much either.

    • Hi Jenni! Day Designers are SO expensive, but SO pretty… I’d love to get one in the future but It’s just not feasible to have one now. I’ve heard they’re really bulky and hard to carry around which is not what I want while I’m in school.

      If you get a Plum Paper Planner, you’ll have to let me know which one you decide on!! There are so many options and I’d love to know which one you found that will work for you :)

      Thank you for taking the time to comment!!

  • I have never seen the day designer free download before, and so I’m super excited to use it in the future. We all have those super busy days and I know that will definitely come in handy once the school year starts. I have always used a planner, but I was never really big into “designer planners.” However, I picked up a Lilly agenda for this upcoming school year and I’m surer excited to use it! Thank you for this informative post on lots of different planner options!

    Colleen | Buckeye Bliss

    • You’re welcome, Colleen!! I’m glad you found it helpful. You’ll have to post about how you utilize your Lilly planner, I’d love to read about it! Thanks for stopping by :)

  • I am a huge planner addict. I’ve been lusting after an Erin Condren planner or MAMBI planner since they’re both similar. Sadly I have to wait until next year that’s when my Lily Pulitzer planner is up. I love all these planners though. aha. 😀

    • Isn’t it the worst having to wait for a planner to end before you can get a new one?! I hope you get your MAMBI or EC planners next year!

  • Another great planner that I’ve been hearing about is the LimeLife Planner. They’re nearly identical to the Erin Condren Life Planners. The covers are interchangeable(and they come in auh-mazing prints. Check out the Betsy one). They have 6 different layouts to choose from and their insertables are to die for. Photography and social media inserts anyone? And they also have A5 inserts too. Unfortunately I won’t be able to get one until 2017(when my Lilly Pulitzer runs out): But by then it’ll probably be even better. ??

    • I have heard of LimeLife but I didn’t know enough about it to add it to this list. Thanks for educating me!

  • Love planners and love this roundup! My previous planner was May Designs and I loved it. I’m looking to get a Plum Paper planner this time around though

    • I loved my May Designs planner but it was just too small for it to be my ONLY planner. I still bought one this year (I couldn’t resist) but I’m looking forward to using my Plum Paper + Day Designers in conjunction with it. Thanks for stopping by + leaving a comment, Kelsey!

  • I love The Plum Paper Planner! The fact that I can customize it how I like is my favorite part.

    • Right?! That’s my favorite part, too. Thanks for stopping by Kelsey :)

  • Rebecca Fear

    What an awesome post! You just saved me hours of being way too critical of every planner I could find. I just ordered my new planner!


    • Glad I could help, Rebecca! I hope you love your new planner!

  • Julie Crawford

    such a great round up! If it helps at all, I had a Day Designer this year, but I stopped using it after a few months. It is such a heavy planner (like, really heavy) that taking it with me anywhere was a total chore. the page layouts are great, but I need something that I can take with me on the go. Just a heads up if anyone is thinking of the Day Designer! Probably great if you work from home and don’t ever need to take it with you anywhere, though.

    • I totally agree about the Day Designer! I bought one of the new Target ones for myself but rarely use it because it is so huge.

  • Jessica

    I have a Plum Paper Student Planner too! I think it’s perfect for busy students that need help balancing their academic and social life. Another planner I would also recommend for next year’s list is Inkwell Press. They’re a fairly new company, but definitely offer high quality products :)

    • I’ve heard of Inkwell Press, I will have to add them to next year’s roundup! I’m glad you love your Plum Paper Planner, too :)

  • Natasha Jass

    My favorite is the academic layout planners from Melvedy Designs! I had the medium size all through college and moved to the large version for grad school. I LOVE it. It is the only one I’ve seen that is so specifically designed for students. Seeing my assignments, extracurriculars, AND exams all at the same time as my general weekly schedule is keeping me amazingly organized. I do like the Day Designer too, but the daily layout wasn’t working as well for me as the weekly one in my Melvedy planner.

    • I’ve never heard of this brand before, I’ll have to check them out and maybe feature them in next year’s planner round-up!

  • This year I got a Day Designer for about $12 and I love it. I think mine is a simpler version & it’s perfect for me!

    • I love the Blue Sky versions of the Day Designer. So much more affordable for college students!

  • I realize this is an old post but I found it by googling popular student agendas. My daughter will be heading to college in the fall and I’d like to buy her a fun agenda as a gift for her summer birthday. She uses one for high school so I know she’d appreciate it. Thanks for this very informative blog post! However, I’m still very confused on how to order one for her! I didn’t realize it’s so much more than just picking one out and putting it in my shopping cart! I’m confused about all the add-ons. Help!

    • Hi Judy! If it helps, I didn’t order any add-ons with my Plum Paper Planner. There are a LOT of options, but I didn’t think any of them were necessary for me and my needs as a college student. I would head to the website, choose a cover that you think she’ll like, and pick August as the start month. I’d go with the Student Planner or the ME Planner for her! Hopefully this clears things up for you! Let me know if you have any more questions.

      • Thanks so much! Your answer is very helpful!

  • Lauren Fischer

    Thank goodness for this post! I spent a good two hours choosing my planner for my upcoming freshman year of college and with the help of this blog, I have successfully chosen the Simplified Planner :) Thank you!

    • You’re welcome! I’m glad my post was able to help you! So exciting you’re about to start college! Where are you heading in the fall?

  • I wanted to add that has added a ‘Medium’ sized agenda to their list with some REALLY cute designs!! The medium is around the same size as Lilly Pulitzer’s large <3

    • Yes! I’m so excited they’ve added a medium option. Thanks for letting me know + leaving a comment!

  • Barbara Ruiz

    I am not sure if i can decide between a Lilly, Plum and Erins. I saw someone with a lilly at work and I was envious I kept looking in her book, at her pages and loved it all. I’ve been researching ever since but the others I love that you can personalize the covers with family photos and add on extra pages esp since my handwriting cannot be contained and I easily run out of space so these cute compact boxes are not for me. Lilly book pages are also colorful and not just the cover which I didn’t know was something I ever would appreciate…guess ultimately personalization and add-ons win for me this round now just gotta decide between Plums and Erins. This is a very good post with many of the best links all in one place. I’m like so very happy to have come across this post.

    • Thank you so much Barbara! It’s not easy to decide on a planner, but it’s nice to know that there are so many different ways to customize! I hope you found the perfect planner for you <3

  • Asia N. Potts

    The Life Planner would be sooo perfect if it was August to July or at least 18 month. The vertical section would work great for Work, school, and my GTA stuff!! I still haven’t found the PERFECT planner yet. I’m going to give some of these a try though. Thanks!!

    • So glad you found this post helpful, Asia! I know the Plum Paper Planners allow you to choose any month as the start month. I believe you can make them 18 month as well. Hopefully you found a planner that works well for you! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment :)

  • Jordan Rose Kasza

    I am currently waiting to see what the new 2016-2017 Erin Condren Life Planners will look like! I have always been one to buy just like the Target brand planners and they have all worked well for me but this year I am wanting to splurge a little more and Erin Condren’s planners just seem to be drawing towards me!

    • They are gorgeous! I especially love the rose gold options. Thanks so much for coming across my post and leaving a comment, Jordan!

  • Heather Louise

    just wanted to say this post was so helpful! thank you very much <3

  • Carlie Schmaeling

    This post was so helpful! I’m a soon to be college freshman next month and have only heard of/seen all the hype about the Lilly agendas, but now I’m certain I’ll love the one more!

  • Cristi

    I had already ordered my daughter a student planner from plum paper before I cam across your blog. Wish I would of ordered off your blog so you would of got something!! This is great information and I’m so glad I ordered the one I did after reading you blog! Thank you!