Like it or not, it’s that time of year again. Back to school! Yeah, the sweet indulgences of summer are quickly fading, and it’s once again time to get back to reality. For those of you heading off to face a bold new academic world, we want to make that transition as smooth as possible. As students, you’ll be taking on new challenges like learning French and getting through the week with only $10 in your pocket. So whether you’re heading off to your first year of college, or going back to reclaim your high school, here are five free apps that should prove useful in your day-to-day studies.
To heighten the suspense and drama, we’re presenting the apps on this list in reverse order of importance. Let the reverse countdown begin!
School is expensive. With tuition, clothes, pencils, notebooks, and (of course) textbooks, you can quickly find your wallet emptied before the semester even starts.
That’s why it’s important to save money anywhere you can — and that’s why this app is on this list.
Made by (you guessed it) the people of Chegg.com, this app will bring the same great textbook savings that they’re known for directly to your mobile device.
You can search for the best deals simply by scanning the barcode (or typing in the ISB) of any book.
4. Wikipanion by Wikipedia
I know that all the teachers reading this just closed their web browsers in a mix of anger and frustration. But the truth is Wikipedia is an essential tool for most students.
Honestly, this app is quite simple, providing a mobile portal to your favorite online encyclopedia.
It will get you the information you need, but just remember, don’t cite Wikipedia in your papers!
One of the things signifying the start of a school year is the purchase of an expensive calculator.
Bulky, costly and, to most of us, worthless outside of class, these devices usually end up being one more expenditure added to the price of admission for another year of school.
Luckily though, this year you can save your money thanks to the Free Graphing Calculator. Available in Apple’s App Store, this calculator offers all of the standard arithmetic functions that you need, along with graphing functions that can handle up to four color-coded equations at once.
In addition to all of the other bells and whistles one would expect on a graphing calculator, this app gives you a reference page explaining the basic equations and verbiage that one might need for a class requiring a calculator.
The only real catch to this app? You might end up with a teacher who doesn’t let you use your phone in class.
2. Wunderlist by 6 Wunderkinder GmbH
I know how it goes. It’s the start of a new year and you’re optimistic. This will be the year where you keep it all together. But with work, studies, extracurriculars and friends it can be difficult to keep everything accounted for. We understand this, and that’s why Wunderlist is here on this list.
Think of this app as your digital, cloud-enabled, crossplatform planner. (Apps are available for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.) No matter where you are, you can tasks that’ll be instantly uploaded to your own personal Wunderlist on the web (foregoing the need for device syncs or third party servers).
While these words sound quite technical, the app is actually extremely easy to use. You can make to-do lists with the touch of a finger and even create widgets to set up lists outside of the app for easy access.
You can write notes to help jog your memory and star important items to make them stand out. Simple yet effective, Wunderlist allows you to keep track of your schedule even if you don’t have your mobile device on you.
I’m sure many of you are looking at this last one with an apathetic glare. However, trust me. This is one of the more impressive apps that I have seen, as it helps you keep track of a plethora of information over the web, computer, and of course on your mobile devices.
Probably the most pertinent function of this app is its ability to sync and organize all of your notes. Whether you’re taking them on smartphone, tablet, or PC, the app will store your notes securely in your Evernote account online.
Even better, Evernote can take your notes for you as an audio recorder, granted that your device is outfitted with the right hardware. But while recording lectures can be a nice luxury, be warned that recording all of your lectures will quickly deplete your allotted storage (60MB for free accounts).
Beyond just notes, you can also use Evernote to organize, store and sync pictures, documents, and basically anything else you could save to your phone.
For instance, if you’re creating a photo album on your phone, Evernote can automatically upload all of your snapshots, building a useful archive for later reference. This app also has a built in OCR (Optical Character Reading) tool, so finding older photos is an absolute breeze.
Evernote’s maximum potential is really reflective of the creativity of the user. Do you want to import and splice a video clip that you shot on your phone with one that’s on your computer? Do you need to send a number of documents from your phone, tablet and laptop to your school computer for a presentation? Evernote makes all of this possible and so much more.
Offering such a great deal of utility in a simple package, Evernote is an app that will make anyone’s life easier. It should be a staple for any student — or any other mobile user, for that matter.