College students are constantly connected to a variety of gadgets, from smartphones to tablets and laptops to wearables. And both Apple and Android offer dozens of apps to help them get the most out of their work and play.
Here are 10 of the best apps I use on a regular basis… while some have the option of paid upgrades or in-app purchases, all are free!
Download this app on your computer to block yourself from accessing certain websites while you’re studying or otherwise engaged. After you set a timer, SelfControl won’t be able to access those sites until the timer is up – even if you restart your computer or try to delete the app. Eliminate the ability to procrastinate and block Facebook, Tumblr… or any other, um… personal website.
Financial responsibility is an important part of adulthood, but can be difficult if you don’t know where to start. Enter Mint. Connect your bank accounts and credit cards to monitor your spending. Purchases are categorized automatically so you can analyze your spending. You can also set monthly budgets by category and get notifications if you’re getting close to your spending limit.
Researching a paper? Reading a news article you want to save for later? See a Buzzfeed post you want to share with your friends after class? Use Pocket, which you can download on all of your devices or access from the web. Pocket is a great way to keep track of digital stuff… so you’re never stuck trying to remember that safe place you put it in.
Evernote (free with paid upgrades)
This is the best note taking app I’ve ever used. Keep track of all of your class notes in one place; collaborate on study guides; share projects with your friends and work groups – all on Evernote. The best part is you can download the app on all of your devices so you never have to worry about carrying around a bulky notebook or forgetting to bring your notes with you to class.
The “Freshman 15” weight gain is inevitable in college… you’re surrounded by food packed with fat and curbs! Introducing exercise into your daily routine is a great way to fight off that Freshman 15 – and this is where Pact, an app that pays you to work out, comes into play. Yes, you read that right – get PAID to work out. Pact also syncs with fitness trackers like FitBit or Jawbone Up! so if you reach your step goal for the day, it counts as an exercise. Check it out!
The Switch app is Tinder for jobs. Create your professional profile like you would on LinkedIn and then scan for jobs based on your skillset. Swipe right on the ones you like and left on the ones you don’t. If a hiring manager swipes right on you, you’ll be connected and will have the ability to chat. For students seeking a new internship or job, Switch is a must-have app.
Don’t wait until you’re looking for a job to create a LinkedIn profile… create one now and connect with classmates, alumni, professors, mentors and potential employers. Join groups, share newsworthy articles, follow companies – and start to build your professional network now. Trust me, your job searching will be much easier when you graduate… if you put real effort into LinkedIn now.
Any.do is the best to-do list and task manager app I’ve used. You can create categorized lists and tasks to keep your groceries, homework and daily duties in order. Share your lists with other people who have the app. I created a communal shopping list with roommates so we all knew when we needed toilet paper, paper towels or laundry detergent. You can also create reminders and set deadlines so you never again forget an assignment or miss an important date for work.
iTunes U has a wealth of curriculum and course material from many top universities and colleges (your school might already have curriculum posted). Browse subjects and courses in a variety of formats (podcasts, videos, text) to enhance your education or extend your research. Besides, you may not understand your professor’s explanation of a certain subject… but there could be another explanation that makes far more sense to you. And iTunes U is the place to find it.
Never worry about losing your homework or important computer files again! Google drive is part of the suite of Google products that comes integrated with any Google account; download the Drive app and access your files from anywhere. It’s also a great collaboration tool for group projects or organizations. Create files, share with team members and watch the collaboration happen in real time! (Bonus: Upload pictures from your phone to free up precious space so you can download even more free apps!)
Do you have other apps to recommend? Leave a note in the Comments section below!
About the Author: Lauren Kirkpatrick is YouTern’s Social Media Manager. She graduated from San Diego State in 2011 with a Bachelors degree in Public Relations and University of Southern California in 2013, with a Masters degree in Digital Media. In her personal life, Lauren is never more than 3 feet from her iPhone or Macbook – she says “they have their own side of the bed” (and our guess is they probably also have their own iNames!). Lauren is a sports junkie, TV aficionado and expert baker. Follow Lauren on Twitter!