Academic Calendars: What Are They?

An academic calendar or school calendar is basically a schedule of dates or events involved in a school year. From January to December, there are lots of significant dates in the academic year from the exams, holidays, enrollment, deadlines, etc. And these calendars matter in case people forget about what is bound to happen daily, weekly, monthly, and annually. Also, an academic calendar is useful for any teacher or student planner to ensure they can keep track of their school schedules 24/7.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), around 56.4 million students are expected to attend the elementary, middle, and high school departments in America.

Why Are Academic Calendars Important?

An academic calendar is essential to ensure every person concerned about school activities and dates will be reminded about every significant schedule. Whether students wish to enroll or drop classes down to teachers who are given deadlines of when to submit grades, an academic calendar can surely help in keeping operations smooth in school. And the best part is the calendar is like your own personal planner for school because lots of data can be recorded from every holiday, exam date, graduation commencement, payment due, and more—you won’t miss a thing!

Also, academic calendars matter to set a timeline of school-related activities. By setting timelines, students will be driven to ensure they won’t miss the deadlines. In fact, it has been reported that 56.4 million students are estimated to attend elementary, middle, and high schools in America. And those are solely for students in the US. How much more when you include the global statistics, including teachers and parents who are also concerned about school activities? Clearly, the said calendar is more than just a list of dates. It also unites people to follow a similar schedule rather than making their own deadlines and dates that would confuse everyone.

Benefits of an Academic Calendar

An academic calendar is not only important since it is also beneficial. In fact, every institution has its own set of calendars planned for an entire school year. But what exactly are these benefits expected from academic calendars? Learn more about such advantages below.

Proper Time Management: The most common advantage of an academic calendar is its way to improve time management in school. As people get busy in school, others somehow lose track of the dates and events. Thankfully, forgetfulness can be fought if there is a calendar to remind students, teachers, and parents about school-related activities.Effective Use of Resources: With everything carefully planned out in an academic calendar, it would be easier to utilize resources effectively. A common example is when to provide test papers, school equipment, and other examples for the school budget. Those will also be scheduled in the academic calendar to avoid wasting resources in the process.Detailed Timeline of Events: Academic calendars are likely curated by the school staff so it only makes sense for the calendars to have detailed information. Besides knowing when the school enrollment is, the calendar can also include additional info like when the enrollment’s time, deadline, extension, and so much more. And the more detail added that is relevant to the school will help you come up with an efficient timeline of events.Sets Goals and Objectives: Another highlight is that an academic calendar helps set the school’s official objective and goal statements. Without objectives, it would be hard for the school to run successfully. There must be tasks to achieve to ensure the school runs productively and according to plan. Hence, state those goals in the academic calendar for future reference.

Significant Dates of Academic Calendars

In every semester, day by day, a lot of dates are to be remembered. And you are not just going to divide the calendar according to school days and weekends. There are specific dates to consider. So in case you are wondering what important dates should be remembered in a standard academic calendar, you can use this reference below:

School Sessions: The basic schedule is to note in the calendar when the school sessions are. So if there are classes from Monday to Friday, then those parts of the calendar would be marked as a school session. However, you have to segregate those dates from weekends, special events, and holidays. And that classification is how people will know when normal school sessions are and when significant dates happen.Curricular Activities: Important school events like sports fest, job fairs, and religious events are worth adding to the calendar. Not every day from the academic year consists of staying inside the classroom all the time anyway. So be sure to highlight when the curricular activities happen to prepare everybody about the planned events.Significant Meetings: If there are planned meetings important in school, it works best to plot them ahead of time. That way, parents or teachers can ensure to place some time in organizing such meetings. Significant meetings include the parent-teacher meeting and the school council meeting.Enrollment Schedule: The enrollment schedule is one of the most important parts of an academic calendar. It should be clear when the school starts accepting enrollees including the deadlines for the enrollment. The same goes for the schedule or deadlines of possible dropouts and withdrawals among students.Examination Dates: Students, teachers, and parents would naturally be concerned about the examination dates. Tests are critical among schools in the first place. That way, teachers would know when to create test sheets, students can prepare their study plans, and parents can settle for the tuition fees early.Internal and External Assessment: The school’s official internal and external assessment program cannot be forgotten. This schedule highlights when to analyze and fully evaluate the school’s overall factors from the student performance, teacher performance, school facility assessment, and so much more.

How to Create an Academic Calendar

Are you ready to make your own academic calendar? Don’t fret because you can surely achieve it with a step-by-step guide and sample templates to make the process easier. So without further ado, here are the steps on how to create the academic calendar:

Step 1: Coordinate with the Staff and Management in Planning

First things first, meet with the school staff and management to plan the academic calendar. Coordinating with important people is necessary because you cannot just decide when events will happen without proper authorization. Maybe you already have a brilliant plan of what month the parents’ day should be but the university has not approved your request yet. Hence, teaming up with the staff helps you gather data on what details to add to the academic calendar later on.

Step 2: List the Significant Dates in a Draft

From what was discussed with the staff or management earlier, take note of the important dates to add to the academic calendar. Write the details in a draft first where you list down every significant day and month of the academic year. As you list the dates, do not forget to arrange them according to what happens first until last. So naturally, you start from January 1 down to December 31. And be sure to label what every day signifies so people won’t have to guess what to observe per day.

Step 3: Use a Sample Academic Calendar

Making an academic calendar out of scratch is unnecessary when you have a sample academic calendar to use. Just select your preferred template from the samples above this article until you can edit, download, and print academic calendars shortly. Besides the printable version, you can have calendars in soft copies too. And be sure to design the calendar in the best way possible so your document is not only detailed but presentable as well.

Step 4: Organize the Calendar with Tables and Charts

Academic calendars should be easy to read. And the best tip to do is to avoid writing in long sentences and paragraphs. Instead, provide a visual schedule with tables and charts. You can make 12 tables with the days of the whole month per table and write the significant events associated with each day. Or maybe you categorize your chart by dividing data related to preschool, middle school, high school, and college. Go for whatever organizes your calendar the best.

Step 5: Update the Calendar Regularly

Once you are finished making the academic calendar, the job isn’t finished yet. Expect to update it regularly by marking which events or data have happened already, have been canceled, or have been changed. Therefore, school calendars should also be flexible because you never know what to expect. Some examination dates might be moved to another week or that there are other special holidays to note down too. What matters most is that you stay updated with the calendar if there is any change so people won’t have to be confused.


How many days is an academic year?

Generally, the academic year is categorized into two semesters with 18 weeks. So on average, it would take 180 days of an academic year. But, the K–12 program breaks down into two nine-week periods or maybe three six-week periods. And it also depends on the school on how that goes.

How many quarters does an academic calendar have?

In applying the quarter system to the academic calendar, there would be around three quarters involved. And this quarter system is a popular approach if you don’t wish to use the traditional two semesters or summer term system. Nonetheless, every quarter contains 10–12 weeks which would total up to 32 or 36 weeks of the school session.

What is the difference between a calendar year and an academic year?

The calendar year is mainly your basic calendar from January 1 until December 31. Meanwhile, an academic year is composed of two semesters which are from January to June and July to December. And those school sessions also have a study schedule that naturally takes around 13 weeks.

After everything you learned about what academic calendars are for, your only concern is to know how to use them. In fact, sample academic calendars are already available for you to tweak, print, and download anytime. Just make sure all the data inputted in the calendar are correct until it will be approved by the school authorities. And most importantly, share that calendar with everyone concerned about the school to be united as one on how to ace the school year with a well-crafted schedule to observe.