GUEST BLOG POST by Chineme Iloh
College life can be surprisingly difficult, and there isn’t really a manual for it. However, there are a ton of apps that can help us along the way.
Who would’ve thought that our mobile phones can insanely help us out in college? Apps make college life a ton easier by aiding us in everything, from studying to organisation. There’s an app for everything and everyone.
Digital technology is only getting better and better, and with improvements to apps comes improvements to our college life. I’m going to share a few of my favourite apps that are pretty darn useful.
Most of these apps are available on both Apple and Android, for free too, and they perfectly provide our college needs.
If you’re a college student make sure to check out a few apps listed below, and tell me what you think of them!
Here are 20 must-have apps for college students:
1. Adobe Acrobat Reader
Free for Apple/Android
First up is Adobe Acrobat Reader. I love this app to bits – it’s simple and straightforward, but it’s an insanely handy tool that’s essential for any college student.
PDFs are everywhere. In college, you’re probably going to work with a lot of PDF documents, for writing and easily sharing documents.
Adobe Acrobat Reader allows you to open, view and annotate PDF documents, straight from your mobile device.
It’s a great way to manage all of your PDF documents in one place. Adobe Acrobat Reader also allows you to fill in and sign forms, which is pretty useful.
My favourite feature is file sharing – this is perfect for handing in assignments or sharing documents with peers without any “technical difficulties”.
College students always have various projects and tasks to do, and Canva is the perfect tool for this.
Canva allows you to easily create beautiful digital graphics from a huge library of templates, elements and stock photos.
You can create anything, from Instagram posts and logos to posters and presentations – the options are unrestricted to whatever you want to create.
I also love one of Canva’s newer features, where you can now create short videos. This is perfect for both college projects and events, and personal needs.
Note-taking is super important in college – you need it for staying on top of your studies, and for organising your college life.
Evernote is a great note-taking app that allows you to quickly jot down thoughts and ideas. You can take notes in text, images and even recordings.
Evernote also allows you to add tasks and deadlines, so you can always stay on top of your assignments and your life. It’s perfect for managing everything related to both the studying and lifestyle aspects of college.
Something really great about Evernote is that it’s synchronised on multiple devices, so all your notes are saved onto the cloud and ready to be accessed anywhere. This allows you to back up all your notes and stay organised from any device.
Evernote also has an insanely useful web extension that every college student should have if they want to highlight and annotate web pages and images for research. The extension is a great way to take notes even more efficiently.
4. Focus To-Do
Focus To-Do is an effective task management and time management app. It basically doubles as a to-do list and a timer app, which is pretty cool.
With Focus To-Do, you can manage tasks efficiently, with the to-do list feature, and get them done in focus, with the timer feature.
The to-do lists feature allows you to make plans for practically anything: work, study shopping, anything! You can also set due dates and reminders to college assignments, so that you never miss a deadline.
Focus To-Do uses a timer based on the Pomodoro Technique – an effective time management technique that allows you to stay focused during intense studying. I highly recommend you try out the Pomodoro Technique if you want to get more done in less time.
There’s also a web extension for Focus To-Do, so you can stay focused from your computer as well.
$1.99 for Apple/Free for Android
Forest is a great productivity and timer app that encourages you to put your phone down and stay focused on your work for a set time.
I genuinely love using Forest, and I try to use it every time I put my phone down to focus on my work. Heck, I’m using it to write this blog post right now!
Forest uses a virtual tree (you can collect a bunch of different kinds of trees to diversity your forest over time) that grows the longer you work for, and dies if you leave the app, motivating you to stay focused.
Forest also allows you to plant a tree with friends, so you can all stay focused together. This is great if you’re studying in a group and you need to minimise distractions.
You can also plant real trees for every certain number of trees you grow in your mini-forest – an extra opportunity to save the environment sounds like a real incentive to me.
For Android users, while Forest is free initially, the premium version is definitely worth your coin if you want the same features as on Apple devices (whitelisting apps, planting real trees, planting with friends, etc.).
Forest also has a web extension that can sync to your account, so you can stay focused and grow your forest, on your computer too.
6. Genius Scan
Closely related to Adobe Acrobat Reader, scanning documents into PDF documents becomes fairly important in college.
Scanning documents is a good way to stay organised and have a digital version of notes or files that can be backed up onto your computers, or shared with other people.
Genius Scan is a portable scanner on your mobile phone. It allows you to quickly and easily scan crisp, clear and legible documents into multipage PDF files.
The cool thing about Genius Scan is that the app automatically detects the shape of the paper, and crops it into shape while removing the background, just like a real scanner.
Genius Scan is perfect if you want to have an extra set of documents and avoid losing work!
7. Google Calendar
Getting yourself organised is imperative in college. Google Calendar is a simple but functional calendar and planner app that basically helps you get your college life together.
This app allows to schedule events, add reminders and sync them across devices. What I especially like about Google Calendar is that it automatically adds things like birthdays of your contacts, so you never forget to buy them a present.
Google Calendar is pretty simple, but it gets the job done really well, so I highly recommend it for any college student.
8. Google Docs
Having a word processing app on your mobile phone is super useful. It’s surprising the number of times I’ve had to quickly edit a document on the way to a class, and Google Docs has been life-saving for this.
Everything you type on Google Docs is automatically synced and backed up onto Google Drive, which is useful if you’re afraid of losing all your work.
Google Docs is especially great for group projects – peers can work together on a document, and all the work is synced in real-time. Pretty cool, right?
A nice bonus to Google Docs is that you can also write up documents offline, so you can do assignments on the go. This is so useful for college students because we’re often super busy, so we often have work to do when we’re out and about.
Plus, using a ton of mobile data to do work isn’t fun.
9. Google Drive
You’ve probably noticed I’ve mentioned Google Drive a few times now. Here’s why you should install this app:
Having everything backed up and synced on the Drive is the perfect way for you to save and share your college documents with other devices and other people.
Google Drive allows you to store and access your files from anywhere. You can share your files with anyone in your contacts super easily and quickly. The Drive makes it effortless.
Plus, everything you do on Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, etc. is automatically backed up on Google Drive. For college students who handle a lot of Google documents, the Drive is an essential app for your mobile device.
Let’s face it – without a grammar and spell checker, the way we’re typing would be all over the place.
Grammarly has been a huge lifesaver for all of us. Now that it’s on mobile devices too, college students can finally write on their phones with confidence. The grammar and spell check does everything for you.
What I especially love about Grammarly are the word predictions and smart auto-correct features. You don’t have to worry about sending a message that you didn’t mean to, because the auto-correct is actually correct most of the time!
These features allow you to type more in less time, which is so ideal. Plus, Grammarly works in all of your favourite apps, so you have great grammar everywhere you type.
Grammarly is best known for its insanely useful web extension, so I recommend trying that out too, if you haven’t installed it already.
If you’re a college student who works with group tasks a lot, GroupMe is the perfect app for you and your peers.
GroupMe is a social app that allows you to communicate with group members and coordinate who’s doing what on group projects.
It can sometimes be really hard to coordinate tasks, especially with large groups, but GroupMe solves that problem instantly.
GroupMe also allows you to create events and meetings, send messages, and share media (photos, videos, GIFs, tweets and more) with other people.
A promising app, right? GroupMe was practically made for college students, so tell your friends to install it, and see how much easier your group projects become.
College is a great time to start thinking about your career for when you graduate, and start driving towards it. Networking and building contacts early on in college are pretty important, so LinkedIn is insanely helpful for this.
LinkedIn is a social app that allows you to build your professional profile and message contacts and recruiters. You can start connecting with employers, grad schools, future colleagues and more, right from the app.
With LinkedIn, you can also stay updated in the professional world, with tons of business and industry updates.
On your LinkedIn profile, you can highlight all the skills you’ve picked up in college and high school, and find jobs and internships because of it.
Staying prepared for life after college is a super smart move, and LinkedIn allows you to do just that.
College life is much more smooth sailing when you’re on top of your money. Let’s be real, money-management can be really difficult in college – that’s where Mint comes in.
Mint is a budget tracker and planner, as well as a finance manager, that allows you to easily keep track of your money spending, all with a handy app.
This app is perfect for creating a budget and staying on top of your finances. Mint is something every college student is going to wish they had.
With Mint, you can set financial goals, such as saving up for a car or paying off student loans. You then get personalised insights on saving money, budgeting and how you’re spending your money.
Mint also analyses your credit score with tips for improvement, track bills, sets alerts and so much more.
I must’ve convinced you to install Mint by now – it will literally be your college life-saver!
14. My Water & Drink Reminder
Free for Apple
As a college student, it’s surprisingly easy to forget to drink water. We’re often so busy that remembering to stop and drink water isn’t really on our agenda.
However, drinking water regularly is super important. We should be aiming for 8 glasses a day, as this is a healthy level of water intake for good nutrition.
My Water & Drink Reminder pretty much sums itself up with the name alone – it handily reminds you to drink water.
This app allows you to track your water intake and set yourself intake goals, so you’re always on top of how much water you’re drinking each day.
Unfortunately, this app is only available on Apple devices, but Water Reminder – Remind Drink Water is an equally great alternative for Android devices.
For any college students who love taking digital notes for studying, OneNote is a fantastic option.
OneNote is a note-taking app that allows you to take notes in various forms, such as text, images, videos, drawings, and more.
You can organise and share your thoughts and ideas from anywhere, as OneNote is highly customisable and syncs across all of your devices, which is great!
Losing the important stuff in a pile of tabs and apps open can be super overwhelming. It’s not fun to have to go through over 100 tabs on your browser, just to find the one thing you’re looking for.
Pocket is a great app to install because it allows you to easily save articles, videos, images and more, for when you need them.
Also, Pocket doesn’t require an Internet connection, so if you ever decide to read a few articles that you’ve been saving while out and about, Pocket allows you to do just that.
There’s also a web extension for Pocket, so you can save important tabs for later on your computer too.
Having the right revision resources in college is important when it comes to studying for exams. For me, Quizlet is my go-to revision app.
With the Quizlet mobile app, you can revise anywhere, which is why I love it. Quizlet has a wide range of study features too, such as flashcards, learn, test, and more – there’s bound to be a study mode that’s right for you.
Flashcards are the simplest form, with a question or key term on one side, and an answer on the other. This is perfect for quick revision the night before an exam, or on the go.
You can revise from flashcard sets other people have made, or you can make your own.
I particularly love the test mode, which allows you to give yourself a mini-test of what you revised. This is great for active recall and preparing for an actual assessment, making Quizlet an all-round super helpful app.
As a student who’s always listening to music while studying, having a music player app is super important for me.
It feels great to put in my earphones and be immersed in my work, along with the music, and focus on it without distractions. That’s why Spotify is an essential app for any college student.
You can listen to music on Spotify while doing almost anything: when having a chilled evening, you can listen to a lo-fi playlist; when at the gym, you can listen to a workout playlist. You get the point. Spotify is made for everyday college life.
The Premium feature is definitely something I’d recommend if you want to skip ads and choose the songs you listen to.
Spotify also has a huge library and podcasts and ready-made playlists, so you’ll never run out of things to listen to.
Everyone loves free gift cards. It’s a great way to buy the things we’ve been eyeing for a long time, without spending a dime!
Shopkick is an amazing app that awards you points just from walking into your favourite stores and retailers (Best Buy, Ulta, ASOS, and more!)
When you accumulate enough points, you can then earn rewards and gift cards for shopping, as well as exclusive deals and discounts
You collect points in other ways too, such as by scanning items and scanning receipts. In some cases, you don’t even need to buy anything and you get offered free gift cards for a ton of great stores (Amazon, Starbucks, Target, and more!)
For any university students in the UK, UNiDAYS is going to be your best friend.
This app offers discount codes, offers, rewards and more, exclusively for university students, to all of your favourite stores (PRETTYLITTLETHING, Nike, Apple, and more!) Almost every store supports UNiDAYS, which is great.
All you have to do is sign up with your university email, and you’re granted an endless library of discount codes and offers. If you love shopping, UNiDAYS is your oasis.
This app is the perfect way for you to save money, which is super important for university students.
Conclusion on Must-Have Apps for College Students
Who would’ve thought that a few apps on a mobile phone can make your college life so much easier? Of course, the only way to see if they work for you is to try them out. Download the apps that caught your interest and give them a test drive to see the ones you like!
However, these apps are just a few of the best mobile applications for college students out there.
I’m interested in knowing what apps for college you’ve found and swear by. Are there any insanely great apps that have really boosted your college experience? Let me know below!
GUEST BLOGGER SHORT BIO
Oh, hey! I’m Chineme from chinemeiloh.com, and I’m the blogger behind this post! I’m currently a student in the UK, and I’m studying (and enjoying) the IB course. I’m all about offering motivation, encouragement and enjoyment to students across the world, so you can find me over at my blog and studygram, offering all sorts of study tips and advice!
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