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11 Incredibly Useful Apps Every College Student Needs

Shubham Agarwal Updated 25-03-2019

Living the student lifestyle means you’ll have to learn to get the most out of the limited resources you have. And your smartphone is one of the most versatile resources you own.


Therefore, it’s crucial you utilize it in the most efficient way possible. Here the best apps to help out every college student.

1. Microsoft OneNote

Microsoft’s note-taking platform OneNote is the ultimate digital notebook. You can easily manage those huge chunks of notes from classes, organize them in subsections, and share with your peers. In addition, you can import pictures and annotate them with the built-in set of tools. If you have a stylus, you can even doodle.

OneNote also has a vast gamut of other utilities ideal for a student’s needs, including cross-platform sync, audio inputs if you’d like to import lecture recordings, the ability to add web clippings, and much more. OneNote, unlike other Office products, is free and available on nearly every platform.

Download: Microsoft OneNote for Android | iOS (Free)

2. Google’s Productivity Suite


Google’s productivity suite is another worthy addition to your digital arsenal, especially if you regularly collaborate with your fellow colleagues. For starters, all of its products are free and seamlessly sync across each other so that you can effortlessly move data across.

Whether you need to create presentations or simply jot down your tasks for the day, Google has an app for it such as Google Docs, Google Keep, Google Sheets, and more. Google also offers niche apps like the Science Journal, which lets users quickly log results and observations from their experiments.

Download: Google Apps for Android | iOS (Free)

3. TickTick


Having dozens of pending to-dos is an unavoidable part of your student phase. To ensure you have a proper schedule in place to deal with them, we recommend trying TickTick.

TickTick is more than a task management app. It’s an all-in-one productivity solution which comes with a host of tools that enable you to plan all your work without any hassles. You can build lists for specific purposes, add notes or sub-tasks to individual entries, and even collaborate with others.

Plus, the app has location-based reminders if you often forget to pick up milk from the store. What’s more, TickTick houses a bunch of other handy features like a Pomodoro timer and a habit tracker.

Download: TickTick for Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)


4. Forest

Forest App Website Screenshot

Smartphones can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they can assist you in reaching your goals quicker. But they can also be a significant distraction if you’re not careful.

Enter Forest. It’s a free app that helps you focus on what’s important—this could be a study session or dinner with your family. Forest allows you to put your phone down by employing a gamified timer.

For every moment you spend away from your phone, Forest will grow a seed. If you break the rules, the plant will die. If you don’t, it will blossom and you will score a few points.


Once you’ve enough points, you can invest those in Forest itself and the team behind the app will plant a sapling in real life. It’s a win-win situation. Forest also has an insights tab where you can view all your statistics and time distribution history.

Download: Forest for Android (Free, in-app purchases available) | iOS ($2, in-app purchases available)

5. Education Apps

Your phone’s app store has a multitude of apps where you can acquire a new skill Quickly & Easily Learn New Skills With These 8 Android Apps It's so easy to pick up a new skill (or language) by just using one of these apps. Read More or polish existing ones. On platforms like Coursera, you can even take professional courses and earn certifications once you’ve passed.

Moreover, you can learn languages whenever you have a spare minute or two and enroll in classes for alternative career options as well. There are both free and paid platforms available such as Udemy, Khan Academy, Duolingo, and more.

6. Brainly

Brainly demo

Brainly is a student-focused question and answer platform where you can pick strangers’ brains to solve your homework and projects. The process for submitting a new post is quite straightforward, although chances are someone has already asked the same question thanks to Brainly’s active audience.

Also, there’s an extensive search option if you’d like to look up particular queries. You can even chat with individual users to discuss a topic further or befriend them for later.

Download: Brainly for Android | iOS (Free)

7. iStudiez Pro

Being a student involves juggling numerous projects, assignments, and classes. However, with a defined schedule, you can make the situation slightly more bearable. And to do that, you need an app called iStudiez Pro.

The planner app allows you to keep tabs on all your agendas for today and later. There are dedicated tabs for inputting assignments, your timetable, exams, and more. In addition, you can get an overview of everything through a sophisticated calendar view and even divide the data based on subjects as well as semesters.

It also has options for saving teacher profiles and holidays. IStudiez Pro is cross-platform compatible and can sync with your computer.

Download: iStudiez Pro for Android | iOS (Free, premium version available)

8. Adobe Scan

Adobe Scan is a straightforward document scanner that lets you capture a wide range of documents, such as business cards and whiteboard scribblings. On top of that, it’s equipped with a series of smart utilities to make the process less cumbersome.

Adobe Scan can automatically recognize most of the documents you try to click. That means all you have to do is point your phone in the right direction and Scan will grab the document without you pressing or adjusting anything. Once you’ve taken the picture, you can edit the result with several cropping tools as well as filters for enhancing its clarity.

Furthermore, Adobe Scan allows you to stitch multiple files and form new PDFs from them. Before finishing up, you have the option to sign the documents as well. You can simply keep taking photos and appending them to the temporary project.

It even has the ability to parse business cards, which you can then easily save in your phone’s contacts. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is available if you’d like to extract the text instead of the image.

Download: Adobe Scan for Android | iOS (Free)

9. Alarmy

Of course, to employ the rest of the apps on this list, you will have to first wake up in the morning. As you already know, that isn’t always the easiest activity of your day. So to make sure you get up on time, try Alarmy.

Alarmy presents you with a challenge before you can stop an alarm. It could ask you to shake your phone ten times, take a picture, or solve a math problem.

The choice is yours, though Alarmy does have a setup process where it suggests challenges based on what kind of sleeper are you. Apart from that, Alarmy is a standard alarm app where you can configure multiple recurring alerts and check your past statistics.

Download: Alarmy for Android | iOS (Free)

10. Realbyte

Money is the most critical resource students usually struggle with. With precise budgeting, however, you can easily cut back and keep track of where you’re spending. The app we recommend for this is Realbyte.

Realbyte comes with a ton of features and lets you add expenses however you want. You can categorize your data depending on the source and configure multiple accounts as well. There’s a comprehensive dashboard where you can see your balance and access specific details through filters.

Realbyte also has options for attaching receipts and larger expenses like real-estate. To visualize everything on the big screen, you can load Realbyte on a web browser too.

Download: Realbyte Money Manager for Android | iOS (Free)
Download: Realbyte Money Manager (+PC Editing) for Android ($5) | iOS ($4)

11. 15 Minutes Recipes

Finding enough time (or learning) to cook proper meals is almost a fantasy for most students. Fortunately, a free app called 15 Minutes Recipes reveals dishes that you can prepare quickly without much experience.

15 Minutes Recipes hosts thousands of recipes for easy meals you can cook in just a few minutes. You can search for particular ones or filter them based on the ingredients you have. There’s a built-in timer, and the app also shows how many calories are in each dish. 15 Minutes Recipes supports Wear OS smartwatches, so you can send procedures to your wrist if you want to.

Sadly, 15 Minutes Recipes is only available for Android. iOS users can instead give Jamie’s Recipes a shot.

Download: 15 Minutes Recipes (Free, in-app purchases available)
Download: Jamie’s Recipes (Free)

Survive Student Life With More Resources

Downloading these apps will definitely help you live a more organized and efficient student life. But there’s a wide range of other aspects they don’t cover. For those, you should visit some lesser-known websites every student should bookmark.

And if you’re looking for a better way to stay in touch, check out our comparison of the best Android email apps The 10 Best Email Apps for Android, Compared Email on a smartphone? Use one of these excellent email apps for Android to make the experience more productive and enjoyable. Read More .

Related topics: Android Apps, Education Technology, iOS Apps, Note-Taking Apps, Students, Study Tips.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Anmol Soni
    April 23, 2019 at 11:02 pm

    There's also an app called UNIBEES that helps you find free food and events on campus. They are currently live in 100 Universities in the US!

  2. Mohamed Asharaf
    February 24, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    instead of using Evernote we can opt for googleKeep which is free and easy accesible

    • Guy McDowell
      February 29, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      Google Keep works great too! Thank you for recommending that.

  3. Anonymous
    January 5, 2016 at 7:14 am

    myly app is a great pp for college students to manage their smart classes..

    • Guy McDowell
      January 7, 2016 at 4:38 pm

      Interesting. Thank you for mentioning the MyLy app. It looks to be pretty new.

  4. Shawn D
    September 25, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Another side scanner app that is a slightly different use is ABBY Text Grabber. More of a true OCR where you get ready to cut and paste text you can clean up first for bad scans and bonus, it does translation to some degree. It goes on sale all the time so keep a lookout for the reduced price. I use it for getting text into many programs without having to futz through a PDF.

    • Guy M
      September 26, 2014 at 12:17 am

      I recall ABBYY for flatbed scanning and OCR. They've been around for years and have pioneered a lot scanning and OCR technologies.

      If they have an app for the Android, it's definitely worth a look. Thanks Shawn! You're just full of scanning app gold. Keep it coming!

  5. Shawn D
    September 25, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    Good list but I dropped CamScanner a while ago for ScanBot which also includes OCR (in-app purchase) and the abilty to upload automatically to many cloud services including Google Drive which you mentioned. CamScanner is still a great app, but I found ScanBot to be a better product with better features for less. Available on both IOS and Android.

    • Guy M
      September 25, 2014 at 7:15 pm

      Thanks Shawn! Somehow I missed ScanBot. Good call.

  6. Eric L
    September 25, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Google Drive includes doc doc scanning. What does CamScan offer that Drive doesn't?

    • Guy M
      September 25, 2014 at 7:29 pm

      Eric, solid question.

      CamScan allows you to do much more with the scanned item, right on your Android phone or tablet, without having to log on to their site. You can tag it, do batch scans, optimize the scan, e-mail it to yourself and a few other things.

      When you do log on to the CamScanner site and work with your scans, you can do a lot more with them than you can in Google Drive, like OCR, editing, etc.

      Google Drive App pretty much only allows you to scan the item. If you want to manipulate it or do anything significant with it, you need get on the Google Drive site.

  7. justgroovy
    September 25, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    For Evernote Premium, I believe $5/month comes out to $60 per year and not $45 as stated, unless multiplication tables have changed since I was in school. Just keeping it real...

    • Guy M
      September 25, 2014 at 7:14 pm

      Evernote offers a discounted price if you pay for the entire year up front, instead of month-to-month. Other than that, yes, your maths are spot on.

    • rose
      September 25, 2014 at 11:51 pm

      You didn't get it right. It's a discounted subscription when you subscribe for the whole year it's 45$.

  8. Guy M
    September 25, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    VPNs are handy but not really a necessity for studying. Most people want VPNs for things like Netflix, gaming, and shady websites.

    If you need access to a site for legitimate study purposes, talk to your IT folks or your professor and they should be able to open it for you.

    • Skylark
      September 26, 2014 at 4:33 am

      Or you'll get a generic response that tells you nobody really cares.

    • Guy M
      September 26, 2014 at 11:41 am

      That's why I suggested going to talk to them - face to face. I've found I usually get better responses that way, if I'm friendly and reasonable.

  9. Chinmay S
    September 25, 2014 at 3:36 am

    You should have listed some VPN apps. Most of the colleges use Cyberoam to block many websites. I currently have Droid VPN installed on my android device. It works but speed is reduced drastically.