Are you in high school? Maybe you are entering college as a freshman or going for an advanced degree? For every academic challenge, these apps should be at the top of your back-to-school shopping list!
The fleet of apps like Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, and even Wikipedia can quickly become methods of procrastination. But the solution to this problem isn’t to block yourself completely from technology.
The computer, mobile, and apps are a reality for a student’s life too. Many class projects, research assignments, and group work now require computers and the internet.
Thankfully, there are tons of websites and apps that can enhance your education rather than hinder it. So this collection of twenty apps and websites is here to help you get through an entire day at school.
Apps for Starting Your Day
It can be a struggle to get anything done when you aren’t feeling motivated or well-rested. That’s where these apps come in.
Let’s face it, getting enough sleep when you’re in school is hard! Between late-night study sessions and early morning classes, it can be impossible to get the amount of sleep you should.
Make the waking up process as easy as possible to feel refreshed. That’s where SleepCycle comes in. There are a lot of effective alarm apps that make sure you’ll get up in the morning. But SleepCycle takes it one step further.
Place your phone on the top corner of your mattress while you sleep. SleepCycle will monitor your sleeping patterns — only waking you when you are in a light sleep stage. SleepCycle ensures that you will always feel well-rested when you wake up, even if you fall short of sleep hours.
It’s important to start the day knowing what’s in store for you as the day goes on. Any.do makes sure you stay on top of all important tasks and chores always.
Use the lists to break tasks down into smaller sub-tasks, sort by priority, and share them with others. Synchronize all lists across several devices, browsers, and the web to stay aware always.
No matter what your major is, it’s important to stay up-to-date on current events. A good feed reader is the best solution.
Feedly lets you curate feeds from any website, blog, or online newspaper that you like to follow. Quickly scan your top sites over breakfast (or while you’re still in bed, no judgment) without visiting each site individually or getting distracted browsing the web.
Feedly is available on the web, Android, and iOS. It also integrates with over 200 third party apps.
Apps for Class
The many apps on your phone bring their own distractions. Here are three great apps to keep you focused and productive during class time.
Forest can quickly become one of your favorite focus apps. Forest encourages you to stay on course by growing a virtual tree. It doesn’t lock you out of websites and apps but pricks your conscience with a warning.
It takes a minimum of thirty minutes for your tree to grow and be added to your forest. But if you check your phone or visit a blacklisted site within that time frame, the tree will die.
You are awarded virtual coins when you grow a complete tress. These earned coins go towards planting an actual tree in problem spots around the world. This app is perfect for avoiding your phone and its distractions while working on your school projects.
Download: Forest for Chrome (Free)
When your professor is highlighting a key point in the class, you may want to be sure that you can get down exactly what they are saying word-for-word. While the most effective method of notetaking is certainly not to take down everything your professor says, it can come in handy for short bits of information.
Instead of trying to transcribe their lecture, why not set your phone out and have the Dragon Anywhere mobile speech to text apps do most of the work for you?
There are several speech recognition apps on the market for mobile platforms, but Dragon is an industry leading solution. Dragon Anywhere is subscription-based and is available for purchase in U.S and Canada only.
An important diagram on the board? Not enough copies made of an important handout? Use CamScanner to immediately transform an image into a PDF file that can be easily integrated into your documents for future use.
Not only that, but CamScanner also has several features that allow you to interact with, share, and edit your files more efficiently than other existing apps.
Apps for Group Projects
There is nothing more frustrating than group projects. However, they will be a part of your educational experience, so it’s best to make the process as easy as possible. Use these three apps to keep your grades intact no matter who is in your group!
Probably the most infuriating part of any group project is trying to establish a time when all members of your group can meet. Calendly is a web app that makes the impossible possible by automating the entire process to find the most convenient time for everyone. The video above shows how it all works.
Calendly offers a basic free tier. The Premium and Pro plans are priced for larger teams.
Want something just as clever and free? Use Cortana and Calendar.help for painless scheduling.
8. Google Docs
Okay, okay, I know that everyone knows about Google Docs.
When it comes to group work, there really isn’t any other web-based interface that can so universally facilitate group work on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Everything is stored online and can be completed in real-time, with an incredible number of opportunities for interaction through chat, comments, and revision histories.
Google Docs removes any worries about software incompatibilities, people having different operating systems or sharing files back and forth through email. Instead, it provides a hassle-free collaborative workspace.
Plus, you can move and work with the free Google apps too.
9. Kanban Flow
Another huge component of group work is making sure that everyone knows their role and gets their tasks done on time.
Instead of sending constant reminder texts or hoping that everything comes together in the end, Kanban Flow is a great, visual way to increase personal and team productivity.
This visual representation of a multi-user to-do list allows real-time collaboration (with mobile support and easy methods for attaching documents) that is structured enough for people to know what they should be doing, but flexible enough to adapt to any custom changes you may want to try.
Visit: Kanban Flow for Mobile Web (Free, Premium)
Apps for Staying Healthy
It’s common for students to stop taking care of their health, especially when things get stressful. Unfortunately, this is one of the worst things a student could do! Staying healthy allows you to be more productive, happier, and to perform better in school overall—students should be making their health a priority, not an afterthought.
These apps should leave you feeling energized, hydrated, and focused.
The biggest excuse any student has for not working out is that there “just isn’t any time!”
It’s a challenge to find time to work out, but it’s not impossible! Even if you only have five minutes to dedicate to working out, that’s better than nothing when it comes to keeping you healthy. Sworkit is one of the best ways to make the most out of any time you have.
Enter the amount of time that you have into the app and your preferred kind of exercise (Strength, Cardio, Yoga or Stretching) and the app will then guide you through a selection of exercises that you can complete in the time that you have available.
It’s important to exercise, but it’s even more important to make sure that you are fueling your body with healthy, nutritious food. While MyFitnessPal is best known as a calorie counting app for the sake of weight loss, it is also a great way to make sure that you are getting all the nutrients that you need.
This app is a great way to track the foods you eat (MyFitnessPal has one of the biggest food libraries on the internet). Make sure that you’re eating your vegetables and drinking enough water—these will help you function better at school too!
Staying active isn’t just about working out—it’s also about making sure that you don’t sit at a desk all day, which is all too easy to do when you are studying all day! There are a lot of GPS fitness trackers , but Runkeeper is one of the best ways to use GPS and see what your activity looks like day-to-day.
Runkeeper can track your runs, hikes, walks, or just about any physical activity in real time. You can set fitness goals or just let the app nudge you to get more active if you have been sitting around for long.
Apps for Writing Papers
Writing papers can quickly become an overwhelming part of your coursework. Use these apps to keep your information organized, your citations correct, and the whole writing process as painless as possible!
Researching a paper can be one of the most frustrating experiences possible, especially if you’re left with a bunch of disorganized PDFs scattered all over your desktop. Instead, download Mendeley—a reference manager app and social website intended for researchers and students.
Follow researchers whose work you are interested, store and save PDFs in a centralized location, annotate them with any notes you may want, and create automatic citations that conform to any style guide with the handy Citation Manager.
Basic Mendeley is free with 2GB of shared space. You can upgrade for more space with the Premium plan. Mendeley is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux with companion apps for Android and iOS.
14. Hemingway Editor
It’s fantastic to have a friend on hand to read over your papers before you submit them—but what if your essay-reading friend is busy with their own assignments?
Enter Hemingway, a website that will give you a detailed breakdown of your writing and give you hints on what you should be paying attention to in your edits. It isn’t a perfect substitute for another person, but it’s a great way to recognize bad habits in your writing and any typos or spelling mistakes that you may have made.
Download: Hemingway for Web (Free)
Apps for Around Campus
When you’re spending all your time on the go it’s important that your phone is equipped with the apps you need to be prepared for anything at a moment’s notice. These apps will make sure that you are always equipped to handle any kind of surprise–whether it’s a threat to your safety, an unexpected purchase, or a health emergency.
15. Circle of 6
Many schools now have great walk-home services that can make sure you get back to your dorm safely after a late night class. If your school doesn’t offer this option, or if you’re somewhere out of range of this service, Circle of 6 is an alternative way of ensuring your safety.
Open the app before you leave, and it will bring up the contact details of six trusted friends that you have pre-selected. If you find yourself in trouble, it only takes two taps to send a text to these friends with your exact location, to call emergency services, or to look up information on health and safety topics.
Download: Circle of 6 for iOS (Free)
Finances aren’t anyone’s favorite thing to talk about, but it’s a lot better to be aware of a bad financial situation than to be caught off guard by problems down the road. Managing your money with Mint is easy to do. Connect the free personal finance manager with all your bank accounts for accurate and current financial information and use it to set (and stick to) a budget.
Apps for Studying
It goes without saying that studying will take up a big part of your time this school year. These apps can help you study more efficiently, helping you to boost your marks, retain more information, and free up some time for activities you yearn to do.
17. Clockwork Tomato
The Pomodoro Technique is well known for being one of the most effective ways to complete on-going tasks that require concentration. The technique requires you to work for a set amount of time (generally 25 minutes), before taking a short break (generally 3-5 minutes). After four sets of this (two hours total), you can take a longer break.
You will be spoilt for choice with Pomodoro timer app for all platforms .
But if you are a student, go for a simpler one. Clockwork Tomato is one of the free options available for Android that is uncomplicated, but it also provides handy stats to track your efforts.
Download: Clockwork Tomato for Android (Free)
While they don’t work in every subject, Flashcards can be invaluable. This app is a great option for flashcards because it synchronizes across devices, allows you to embed media, and enables you to customize your card layouts and timing. Anki has combined all the best parts of creating flashcards by hand with some of the best parts of technology, and the combination makes this app a studying essential.
A note of caution — the iOS mobile app does require a purchase, so try the desktop version alone before deciding whether you need a mobile version of your flashcards as well.
Download: Anki for iOS ($24.99)
Struggling with a complicated concept or a course that doesn’t seem to have any coherent outline? Create one yourself using the web-based mind map program MindMup. This program is incredibly easy to use, with an interface that allows you to work on your mind map in real time with other users, save your mind map to Google Drive or Dropbox, or use its “completed” notice to mark off the branches that you no longer need to study.
MindMup also offers a Gold plan that comes with increased storage capacity.
Download: MindMup for Web (Free)
20. Language Apps
No list of study apps would be complete without a shout out to the huge number of free language learning apps available for those studying another language at school. There are a huge number available (with frequent updates making them nearly as good as any paid language learning programs!), so take the time to pick out the one that best fits your learning style and language of choice!
Study and Learn Better With Technology
The fact of the matter is that our electronics, and the internet, are here to stay in schools. Instead of letting them be a distraction, it’s far better to ensure that we are using these incredible tools as powerful sources of information, motivation, and inspiration that they can be.
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