Please note: This article was written and published several years ago and may no longer be accurate.
Click here to view my more recent posts!
Disclaimer: I received this product for free to review. Links in this post may be affiliate, meaning I will earn a small commission if you make a purchase. All opinions are my own and can’t be bought. More legal information is available here.
Hi guys! We have officially made it, yet again, to back-to-school season (!), and I know that my many fellow planner nerds are super excited about picking out their new agenda for this fall. If you’ve been on the hunt and don’t know where to go, or you’re specifically considering the Ultimate Student Planner from ClassTracker, then I’ve got just the post for you. I’d love to tell you what I thought of this planner!
1. The Basics
Let me just start by saying that I am super particular when it comes to planners. When I was in high school, the school used to give out free planners, and I would throw mine away and go out and buy myself one from the store. It’s that important to me. That being said, I always worry a bit when someone asks me to check out a new planner I haven’t seen before, because I’m afraid that I’ll absolutely hate it. Luckily here, that was not the case.
Upon first look, this planner seems simple, but still insta-worthy (for real). I got the Ultimate Student Planner in the coral color, and it is even cuter in person than it was online. (I’m also a big fan of the sea foam color, but it’s available in four additional colors as well, so you can find something to match your Instagram palette.) The cover is a simple design covered by a thin, clear, plastic material to keep the color from fading, as well—so it’ll look pretty all semester long.
The binding is also noticeably sturdy and coated in plastic, so you don’t have to worry about stabbing yourself with any metal when reaching into your bag.
The Ultimate Student Planner is a mid-size planner; a little bigger than a typical small one, but not as big as the 8.5×11″ monsters that some like to carry around. I actually really enjoy this size planner; my favorite one I had in high school was about this size. It’s big enough that it doesn’t get lost in your backpack, but not so big that it takes up a lot of space!
Overall, my first impression of it was great, because the quality of materials makes me feel confident that it will last the entire semester.
2. The Weekly Spread
The Ultimate Student Planner’s ultra-simple design makes it visually appealing, clear, and easy to work with. The creator of the planner and longtime academic coach Lesley Martin said that she worked directly with students to figure what they wanted from a planner, and I think she hit the nail on the head. It does exactly what it’s supposed to do: keep you on track with your schoolwork.
The weekly spread has specific places for you to write down quizzes, tests, exams, projects, and other important stuff, but maintains a large portion specifically for miscellaneous assignments. I like this set-up because I can see the week ahead at a glance. I didn’t realize this until I started using this planner, but I found myself always having trouble figuring out how to denote tests and essay due dates in other planners. I would write exam dates in my planner at the beginning of the semester, but by the time the test day actually came, my note had been buried under dozens of other assignments. This layout keeps important dates at the top, so you can see what’s happening this week without having to read through every day.
The same applies to the bottom section of the weekly view, where you can denote activities that you have planned for the day, like club meetings or even doctor’s appointments. Now, these events won’t get buried under lengthy assignment descriptions; they have their own place in your planner.
Also included on each page is a section for reminders, and each weekly spread has a to-do list available. All-in-all, the weekly spread of the Ultimate Student Planner looks a lot like how I designed my own bullet journal weekly spread—except that I don’t have to draw any lines in this planner (they’re all there for me already!).
3. The Monthly Spread
If I had to pick one word to describe the overall design of the Ultimate Student Planner, I’d say simple. Its straightforward design doesn’t include any unnecessary drawings of flowers that distract from what it’s meant to do.
The monthly spread, despite its sheer “nakedness,” is actually one of my favorite monthly layouts I’ve seen in a planner like this, because it actually has room for me to write in the boxes. I never understood why you’d want to see the month ahead but not be able to write on it, so it’s nice to see a planner with sizable boxes for the days of the month. With this planner, I can write in my family’s birthdays and my appointments in the same box (gasp!).
4. Who is this planner good for?
So now that I’ve raved a bit about the overall layout and functionality of the Ultimate Student Planner, I will name a few drawbacks.
Firstly, this planner is not for someone who isn’t in school. It’s really that simple. A lot of us (especially girls!) like to continue using a planner after we graduate college just to help manage our hectic lives — but if that’s the case for you, this is not the planner to buy.
This is simply because, as Martin pointed out, the Ultimate Student Planner was designed specifically for students. She and her team worked “with college and some high school students to develop a planner that made sense to them.” It includes spots for tests, essays, and assignments, and while it also includes a simple to-do list and daily reminders, it really isn’t designed to be used by people who just need it for adulting.
“My goals were to keep the design clean, have ample room without being cumbersome, be aligned with how students need to organize themselves and of course, be affordable,” Martin said, and that was all accomplished—it just wouldn’t work for a mom-of-three trying to plan her days.
The planner is, however, good for someone who loves to color code (like me!). Because it doesn’t come with a color scheme pre-determined (all the inside pages are just black and gray), you can use whatever colors your heart desires, and it will still look pretty and won’t hurt your eyes with clashing hues.
It’s also good for people in my position: I like to keep my school and my work/personal lives separate. For this reason, I oftentimes have two planners: one for school, and one for the rest of my life. This planner is the perfect academic planner. It has everything I need, and nothing that I don’t. (I can even count down to my wedding with the “weeks until” feature in the bottom right corner!)
I know not everyone is like that, but anyone looking for a planner mainly for school will fall in love with this planner as soon as they start using it. ClassTracker just really knows how to design a simple planner that works for students.
To sum up this rather lengthy review, here are the major points:
- Thin, but sturdy design
- Simple color scheme makes color-coding a breeze
- Specific spots for different categories of responsibilities
- Insta-worthy cover
- Large lines and boxes with plenty of room for those of us (ahem) with big handwriting
- No wasted space
- Affordable (read: cheapest planner of this quality that I’ve seen on the market)
- Made specifically for students (although this isn’t a con if you are a student!)
- Because of con #1, it’s only available in August to July layouts; not January to December
So that’s what I thought about the Ultimate Student Planner from ClassTracker! If you’re interested in learning more or purchasing this product, click here to visit their official website.
What’s your planner of choice this fall? Share with us in the comments!