Top apps for back to school — educational, organizational or just plain fun

Back to school apps

Which back-to-school apps are you downloading? (Photo credit: dougbelshaw)

Whether a new semester is just starting or you are already in the thick of your course load, odds are you could use a little help staying on top of your classes, as well as getting organized. The magical world of apps is here to help you. It is estimated that about 300 apps are created EVERY DAY. While we wouldn’t dream of going back to the dark ages before apps (shudder!), it can be challenging to shift through all of available options. So what are the top apps every college students needs before heading back to school? Here are your best bests—for educational or organizational purposes, as well as a few apps that are just plain fun. Because all work and no play…


  • Questia — The iOS app lets you tackle that research project even faster, with features that allow for search and discovery of Questia’s 75,000 books and 9 million articles, as well as an easy-turn page style and the ability to save your research while on the go.
  • Wolfram|Alpha — Working on a math, statistics, data analysis, physics or chemistry problem? Then you need Wolfram|Alpha. In “10 Back-to-school Android apps for students on India’s technology news blog Tech2, June 10, 2013, Naina Khedekar blogged about this app’s abilities as a “complete computational knowledge engine.” It also provides answers to subjects related to engineering and astronomy, life sciences, earth sciences, units and measurements, geography, weather, music, history and more.
  • StudyBlue Flashcards — Memorizing facts has never been easier. Make your own flashcards with this app and even share them with friends. So far more than 2.5 million students have shared 100 million study materials on the app.
  • WiFi Finder — Need to find the nearest hotspot to study? This app can help. It even filters the nearby free Internet spots by location type and gives you directions.

Organizational apps

  • Documents to Go — Dan Fletcher wrote in “Top 10 Back-to-School iPhone Applications” for Time about this app that lets you sync and view multiple Microsoft Office files, PDFs and more. A handy way to keep each class’ syllabus at the ready on your phone.
  • Evernote — Keep those class notes organized with this app. Type and synchronize your notes, photos and voice memes from your iPhone to the Web. You can even search and tag your notes.
  • MyHomework — Struggling to keep your schedule and assignments organized? MyHomework can help. It color codes assignments based on their due date and automatically syncs information from your phone to your computer.
  • Trello — Got a group project coming up? This app helps organize the project, delegate the work and set up daily tasks. If only it could do ALL the work.

Just plain fun

  • ArtRage — Discover your inner Monet or just doodle away with this painting app. Nathan Meunier mentioned it in an August 21, 2012, post on Mac Life, “8 Back-to-School Apps for College Students,” writing that the app “lets you hone your painting chops without all the messiness.”
  • Angry Birds/Fruit Ninjas/Plants vs. Zombies — Sure they have been around awhile, but this trifecta of time-wasters are still about the best ways to have fun on your phone.
  • Netflix/Hulu — Catch up on your favorite movies or TV shows with these apps that let you watch on the go and on your schedule.
  • The Photo Cookbook — Because you gotta eat and sometimes you simply can’t take the dining hall or takeout one more night. This app offers easy-to-follow beginner recipes that will keep you fed and impress your friends.

What are your fave apps for fun or school? Share your top picks in the comments below.

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