The Most Useful Apps for Students

The Most Useful Apps for Students

TierneyMJ /

With phones and tablets a part of our everyday lives, there’s an app for nearly everything. Although you probably have apps for social media, games, and your favorite stores, you may not have considered downloading any apps to help you out while you’re in college. From school-sponsored apps to apps that keep you in the loop about local events to apps that will aid in studying and organization, there really is an app for everything.

School-specific apps:

If you’re headed to college, a great first step is to check if your institution has an app. Some schools, like New York University and Clemson University, have apps that are intended to help students navigate campus and college life. It may include a campus map, information about campus resources, or a calendar of school events. NYU’s app (NYU Mobile) has a feature that shows the schedules and real-time location of shuttle buses on the map. On Clemson’s app (my.Clemson) you can find dining hall menus and parking availability.

Community apps:

If you’re moving to a new city or state for school, it’s especially important to find ways to connect with your new community. Eventbrite shows local events happening in your area. To connect with neighbors, get nearby recommendations, and be alerted to local news, consider an app like Nextdoor. Also, don’t forget to check for local transit apps to keep up on subway, bus, or other local transportation schedules. Similarly, Lyft, Uber, and other ride services can help you out when you’re in a bind and need to get somewhere quickly.

Apps for studying and organization:

  • My Study Life, myHomework Student Planner, and Homework apps: Memorizing your class schedule and keeping track of assignments and exam dates can be a challenge. Apps like these can help by showing your classes, assignment due dates, and exam dates on a single calendar. Although you have to input the tasks you want to track, it’s easier than constantly checking the syllabus or a written planner, and you can even get reminders when due dates are coming up!
  • Quizlet: When a quiz or exam is coming up, use Quizlet to make virtual flashcards for memorizing vocabulary and terms. Quizlet even has a matching game you can use to test yourself. There are also premade sets, audio clips of foreign languages, and the ability to upload your own images—if you upgrade to the paid app.
  • Magoosh Test Prep: For anyone preparing for a standardized test, developer Magoosh has test prep apps available for the ACT, AP Calculus, GMAT, GRE, IELTS, LSAT, MCAT, PSAT, Praxis, SAT, and TOEFL exams. They also have apps for vocabulary, grammar, and mental math practice!
  • Duolingo: If you’re learning a foreign language, Duolingo offers a free way to study. With over 30 languages available (including Klingon, if you want to impress your Star Trek-loving friends), chances are you’ll find something that can help you. Practice for your upcoming test (or just brush up your skills) with their short lessons and games.

Safety apps:

  • Noonlight: Although schools have campus safety officers as well as emergency call boxes or panic buttons scattered around campus, they can’t be everywhere. Apps like Noonlight (previously called SafeTrek) can give you peace of mind whenever you’re uncomfortable or in an unfamiliar area. Rather than drawing attention to yourself by calling 9-1-1 if you feel like you’re in danger, you open the app, and hold your finger on the screen. If you take your finger off the screen, you can input a PIN to disable the app (when you get to where you’re going); if you do not key in the PIN, emergency services are contacted. There is also an option to text the dispatcher within the app, so you can relay information without others knowing.
  • Citizen: Alternately, apps like Citizen can keep you informed of incidents and crime in your area. Other users can report incidents like missing persons and crimes in progress, which you may otherwise miss. This allows you to be more alert and prepared. Safety first!

 General apps:

  • Venmo: Pay your friends back ASAP for meals, shared activities, or anything else that might come up! It connects to your bank account so you don’t have to worry about carrying cash.
  • Alarmy: Have a hard time rolling out of bed in the morning? Alarmy forces you to do a task (take a picture of a specific item in your house, shake the phone for 30 seconds, solve a math problem, or memorize a pattern) to turn it off.
  • Google Drive, Google Docs, and Google Sheets: Have a group project you need to work on, but don’t want to leave your dorm? Need to make last-minute changes to a paper before emailing it to a professor? Want to get some work done while you’re on the bus without taking out your laptop? Google Drive and it’s associated apps will allow you to access word documents, spreadsheets, and more from the convenience of your phone.

What’s your favorite app?

About Hannah Holley

Hannah earned a BS in Psychology from the College of Charleston, and an MA in applied behavior analysis from Ball State University. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and worked as a therapist for children with special needs for more than five years, but now spends most of her time keeping up with her own toddler. In between playing cars and picking up after her tiny human tornado, she loves to try new recipes, take photographs, and re-watch episodes of "Parks and Recreation" for the 10th time. Hannah lives in Charleston, SC.

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