Academic Success? There's an App for That

by
Freelance Writer

Apr   2014

Wed

02

Adjusting to the differences between high school and college course work can be a challenge. We hate to break it to you, but the quantity and difficulty of the work will likely be more intense than you’re accustomed to. That’s why it’s important to develop strong study skills in high school, to strengthen those skills in college, and to ask for help from professors and campus tutoring offices as needed. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a couple of handy apps on that smartphone in your pocket that can help you along the way.

We’ve compiled a list of must-have smartphone apps for college students. They’ll help you study better, plan better, and even sleep better. And no, Facebook is not one of them.

AudioNote

Compatible with iPhone and Android
Cost: $1.99

Tired of hand cramps from scribbling down your professor’s every word? With AudioNote, an app that synchronizes your handwritten and typed notes with audio recordings, you can be more present during lectures and discussions instead of focusing on taking verbatim notes. Later, when you’re studying, you can tap on specific sections of your notes to jump to that part of the recording.

iPhone Screenshot 1

EasyBib

Compatible with iPhone and Android
Cost: Free

Just use your camera to scan a book's barcode (or in the absence of a barcode, enter the title) and—bam!—EasyBib creates a citation in your choice of MLA, AP, or Chicago styles. The app then allows you to e-mail the citation to yourself and keeps track of past citations you’ve created. Now, if only it could write the paper too . . .

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Simply Noise

Compatible with iPhone and Android
Cost: $0.99

Simply Noise is just that—a refreshingly straightforward app that produces white noise. Use it to avoid distractions while studying or to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep. While it is a relatively simple program, it does offer features like different variations of white noise, an auto-shutoff timer, and a screen dimmer. 

iPhone Screenshot 2

OverDrive

Compatible with iPhone and Android
Cost: Free

Before you shell out your entire paycheck for a textbook, connect to your college or town library via OverDrive to see whether the e-book or audiobook is available for free. Although it might be hard to track down high-level scholarly texts, you’re bound to find a book you need. And take heart: someday, when you’re no longer a college student, you might just be able to use it for leisurely reading in your spare time.

iPhone Screenshot 1

Habit

Compatible with iPhone
Cost: Free

Habit won’t wow you with dazzling graphics, but that’s an acceptable sacrifice for an app that could change your life for the better. This no-frills, color-coded program provides an effective way to visualize and track the habits you’re trying to make a natural part of your behavior. Whether your goal is to study for an hour a day or to exercise every weekend, Habit’s design encourages you to build momentum with your habits—the best way to embed them in your brain.

Evernote

Compatible with iPhone and Android
Cost: Free with $4.99/month upgrade available

Used by tens of millions of people worldwide, Evernote is hands-down one of the best multipurpose apps for students. It allows you to take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, and record audio all in one searchable place, and it automatically syncs between any computer or mobile device you use. The makers of Evernote also offer an impressive catalogue of companion productivity apps, including Evernote Peek, which uses your notes to create flash cards and quizzes; Evernote Clearly, which de-clutters online articles and webpages for distraction-free reading; and Penultimate, an easy-to-use handwriting app for iPad.

iPhone Screenshot 1

StudyBlue

Compatible with iPhone and Android
Cost: Free

StudyBlue’s best feature is that it lets you create digital flashcards—or use one of more than 150 million flashcards and flashcard decks created by other students—and study them while keeping track of what you know. StudyBlue also can serve as a planner, allowing you to set reminders for tests and other assignments. Plus, if your classmates have the app, you can message them or collaborate virtually on study materials.

iPhone Screenshot 1

iStudiez Lite

Compatible with iPhone  
Cost: Free with a $2.99 upgrade available

It’s time to toss that dingy assignment book. A productivity app created specifically for students, this program allows you to input your course schedule and assignments to make sure you stay on top of your studies this semester. With a pleasant, easy-to-use interface, this is perhaps one of the best academic planners available.

iPhone Screenshot 1

Pages, Keynote, and Numbers

Compatible with iPhone
Cost: Free to new iPhone users or $9.99 each

Need to do homework on the go? Make sure you have the three programs that make up Apple’s mobile version of Microsoft Office. With iCloud sync, all your papers, spreadsheets, and presentations will be in one place no matter what device you're working on. PC users, don’t fret: these apps also have the ability to export files in .doc, .xls, and .ppt formats.

Google Drive

Compatible with iPhone
Cost: Free

Like the official Microsoft Office Pages, Keynote, and Numbers apps above, Google Drive is the mobile companion to the Web-based app. With word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation capabilities, it’s a super helpful app if you’re a Drive convert already. You can even edit your docs on the go! (Not that we recommend working on your term paper via smartphone, but it’s nice to know you have the option.)  

iPhone Screenshot 1

Freaky Alarm

Compatible with iPhone and Android
Cost: $1.99

No matter how much studying you do, you won’t ace your final exam if you sleep through it. With Freaky Alarm, you’ll never miss a class, test, or appointment again. The alarm requires you to answer a customizable number of arithmetic questions and hand-eye coordination games before it will turn off. In addition, you can set it up to force you out of bed by making you take a picture of any item located elsewhere in your dormitory, like the coffeemaker on the other side of the room. Fair warning: the default alarm is not kidding around, with sounds like gunshots, ambulance sirens, and barking dogs—but if that gives your roomie a heart attack, you also can set it to your favorite song.

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Note: Did you know you could win a $10,000 scholarship for college or grad school just by registering on CollegeXpress? This is one of the quickest, easiest scholarships you’ll ever apply for. Register Now »

About Emily Lemiska

Emily Lemiska is a writer and communications professional from Boston.

 
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