If you're a student, you're going to need a system, a system to organize classwork, exams, and life in general. And it's true, there is an app for everything. But there are lots of apps for planning.
When deciding on a planner app, you should obviously look for one with features most relevant to your life and your schedule. It should have a distinct purpose. And It shouldn't be thought of as one-stop shop productivity app. Here are the qualities to look for in a good student planner app:
Visually clean or info-dense
Highly customizable or highly structured
Integrated with other apps or self-contained, with all the features you'll need in one place
Specialized for students or transferrable to post-school life
Here, you can check out just a few of the best planner apps for students currently available. Each is highly rated, very affordable and, in several cases, geared specifically toward school and study.
Android, iOS and desktop: Free with paid upgrades available
Todoist is a project planner and to-do list all in one. Used by companies like Amazon and Disney, and made for everyone from students to executives, Todoist is an app that can carry you through school and beyond.
Although you can pay to upgrade, the free version offers more than most students are likely to need. Todoist includes features that help you:
Jot down important details or things to do before you forget them
Set up projects for each class and any other activities or hobbies you're involved in
Add "next action" items, so you can always be looking ahead to your next assignment
Check items off your list without losing them for good
Other helpful features include due dates for individual tasks and reminders that will pop up on your phone or email. Every feature is customizable too, so you won't be getting lots of notifications without asking for them.
Todoist also allows you to label tasks. You can label by priority, by context (laptop work, library, etc.) or really by any other system you want to create. You can also indicate recurring tasks, like weekly quizzes, so you never miss an assignment.
Android, iOS and desktop: Free with Microsoft account
A reworking of the long-appreciated Wunderlist, Microsoft To Do is a promising newcomer to the field of planner apps for students.
One feature that stands out in To Do is that things you didn't check off from previous days stay in the “Yesterday” box. That way you can specifically choose which items to transfer to "My day," and plan a better time for those that won't fit in today's schedule.
To Do allows you to sort tasks into basic lists that you set up, such as "Work," "Home," or "Lab." You can then add subtasks to the items on each list. For example, if your list includes, "Presentation for econ class," create subtasks for "Brainstorm subjects," "Find sources," etc.
To Do also includes some features that will please visually oriented people. Dark mode is helpful if you're reviewing your day just before sleep or when you first wake up in the morning. You can also change the background for each list, with lots of modern and inspiring designs.
iOS and desktop: Free with paid upgrades to Premium and Pro
Calendly simplifies scheduling with groups and individuals. As group projects have become the new normal, you’ll likely have to set up plenty of meetings with groups and individuals during the course of your time as a student, and odds are there are several online meeting platforms you rely on to get through the day. You can save a lot of time by scheduling and managing those meetings with Calendly.
Here's how it works:
Connect Calendly with your digital calendar, like Google Calendar, iCal, Office 365 and others.
Create a meeting request.
Set the parameters. For example, you can let recipients see your availability, so they can pick a day and time, or you can set a day and time and they can either accept it or request a different time.
Select recipients and send.
Calendly will gather responses from the people you want to meet with and you'll have a meeting set up without the long texting thread that's usually required.
Other helpful features include the options of round-robin or collective scheduling in the paid version. If others share their availability, Calendly will show times that work for everyone, so you can pick. Also, you can set up reminders both for yourself and for those who agreed to meet with you.
Calendly streamlines setting up meetings, so you can free up your time and attention for classes and other responsibilities.
Android, iOS and desktop: Free with paid Premium upgrade available
iStudiez is one of the highest-rated planner apps designed just for students. Enter your class schedule including the professor's name, contact info and office hours. Then, you can color code your classes and use icons to make it visually interesting and easy to scan.
"Week view" allows you to plan out your time and get ready for the upcoming week. "Day view" shows you tasks and scheduled items for today. For each class, you can add assignments, their due dates and specific tasks associated with them.
If you upgrade to iStudiez Pro, you can even get a regular update on your GPA. As you receive graded assignments back, enter the grade and point value and iStudiez will do the calculating for you with the GPA tracker. It keeps this info from semester to semester, so you can keep the big picture in mind.
Android, iOS and desktop: Free or $4.99 per year for Premium
myHomework is a clean and simple version of a student planner app. Many teachers have already adopted it for e-learning or online instruction, but it's great for individual use as well. Check this out if you're interested in the best apps for teachers.
It's formatted for several types of class scheduling, such as block, period, or time-based schedules. myHomework allows you to not only input assignments and add tasks required to complete them, it also allows for prioritizing and categorizing tasks, so you can focus on what's most needed at any given time. You can get reminders for upcoming due dates too, so you don’t miss deadlines on accident.
While you do need internet connectivity to sync with other devices, it still has full functionality even when you're not connected to WiFi. The free version has plenty of great features, but the paid version lets you get rid of ads as well as share assignments, attach files to assignments and switch out your theme.
Android, iOS and desktop: Free with paid upgrade available
Power Planner is a well-established student planner app with many of the same features as myHomework and iStudiez, like entering your schedule, keeping track of your GPA and viewing assignments and exams.
Though the app is already full of useful features, one element that sets it apart from other similar apps is the responsiveness of the developer. Power Planner is updated regularly, offering continual improvements to its features.
The GPA calculator is more robust in this app compared to others, with its "What if?" feature, which calculates what scores you need on assignments to get an A in a class. It also includes notifications for due dates coming up. The paid version allows you to enter more grades and stores your GPA info from one semester to the next.
In addition to finding a great planner app, these tips can help you increase your productivity and keep your schedule running smoothly. No matter which app you choose, you’ll get more out of it if you use it alongside smart planning practices.
At the beginning of each semester, set aside a couple of hours to prepare yourself and get everything organized in your app and in your head. Make it fun: take yourself out for coffee, turn on your favorite music and turn off your texting and other notifications. This is time to get in the zone.
Give yourself time to look through your new app's features and figure out the best way to use them in your context. It's often helpful to read some reviews, as people will talk about the features they like. It's also an easy way to learn how to use the app.
Gather your syllabi, work schedules and any other pertinent calendar info. First, enter all your calendar info for the semester. This helps you understand what your weekly schedule will be like. Then create projects or enter assignments for any big projects your professors already have planned.
For example, the class may feature a video assignment due at the end of the semester. Create a task called "plan out video project," and set the due date for around the time you want to begin the project. You don't want to get bogged down in planning the details of all those projects during your semester review. If you stay focused on the big picture though, you may have time for more specific project planning at the end of your review session.
This is also a good time to set some goals for yourself. Do you want to turn in more assignments on time or participate more in class? Do you want to learn a new instrument or join a team? Get inspired about doing more than just making it through the semester. With a powerful app on your side, this could be your best semester yet and there's more to that than just getting good grades.
In order to keep your planner system functional, you have to keep giving it attention. Set up a time every week—about 30 minutes to an hour—for reviewing your projects and planning out your week. Make this appointment as set-in-stone as your class times, so you aren’t tempted to put it off.
You can use this time to input any grades you've received if you've chosen an app with a GPA-tracking feature. Make sure that for every project, assignment or exam, you've entered specific tasks to prepare for them as well. You don't want to just remember that you have something due. You want to have a plan for turning in the best work you can do!
This is also a great time to set up meetings you'll need for the week. Use an app like Calendly to send out requests for meetings, so you're not working last minute to find a time when everyone can meet.
And don't forget to schedule in some rest! One of the best ways to stay motivated and stick with your work is to know you have some quality fun time coming.
At some point every day (morning often works best), look over your schedule and your list of things to do. This usually doesn’t take more than five minutes, but it can do a lot to help you bring your best to the things that are important to you.
Choosing the student planner app that’s right for you is a great way of keeping your mind focused and your grades high in the coming semester. Especially if you keep your app up-to-date with regular reviews, it will help you stay on top of your classes and work.
A great calendar app can also help you to make the most of the other aspects of your life, for a less stressful, more rewarding student experience. The world needs what you have to give, and these apps can help you give your best.
Ask anyone what their goals are, and one at the top of many lists is “I need to get organized!”
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