Make the grade with these 7 back-to-school apps

Make the grade with these 7 back-to-school apps

Whether you’re ready for it or not, schools have started back up again in the US. Last year, we highlighted some great desktop organization apps to commemorate the occasion.

Each of those apps was a great tool for ensuring you kept your schedule straight, assuming you were in your dorm room near your desktop computer or had a laptop you could tote around with you. This year, we’re focusing on some more generalized tips to make your school year a bit less stressful.

Here are seven apps that can make your life a little easier when it comes to your studies.

Staying on top of things

Wunderlist Windows | Mac | iPhone | Android | Web

If you’re always forgetting minor homework assignments or those pesky appointments with your professors, Wunderlist provides a great way to keep track of everything on your computer or smartphone. Create subject-specific lists and then add as many tasks to each list as you need. You can also assign dates to them and mark them by importance. Plus, you can sync your lists and tasks across computers by creating a free user account on the Wunderlist homepage.

Google CalendarWindows desktop widget | Web

If you’ve got an Android phone, Google Calendar is a must. Not only can you share your calendar with other Google users (think: group projects with multiple deadlines!) but you can also set it up to notify you via email or by text message whenever you’re approaching a deadline. You can even set up multiple calendars for types of events.

Making the grade

Microsoft Office OneNoteWindows | Android

You absolutely can’t go wrong with this note taking app. OneNote serves as a virtual notebook, with color coded tabs and different sections. The app’s drag-and-drop features are great, giving students a great level of flexibility when it comes to note taking in a classroom setting. Add pictures, include links, and share your notebooks with other users as needed. You can create a new notebook each semester to keep things even more organized.

Wikipedia – iPhone | Android | Web

By now, most students have probably been warned that Wikipedia isn’t a valid source when it comes to writing research papers in school. Still, Wikipedia can serve as a good starting point as it often links back to reputable sources where you can find actual source material. For getting a basic overview on virtually any topic under the sun (or wasting an hour, procrastinating on your actual homework assignment!), Wikipedia is a fantastic site to expand your knowledge.

Google DriveWindows | Mac | iPhone | Android | Web

Back when I was in college, students might have been able to play on a teacher’s sympathies if your printer broke down the day a big paper was due. That’s because USB drives and cloud storage solutions weren’t really put into use yet .

With services like Dropbox and 4Sync offering free basic accounts, you really don’t have any excuse to miss a deadline! Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) is my personal favorite since it can sync across multiple devices and integrates with your Gmail account. You can create folders for different class subjects and access your docs virtually anywhere that has an internet connection (you can save documents to view offline as well). It also means that the next time your printer bites the dust, your teacher’s going to expect you to hop over to the nearest print center or computer lab and hand in that research paper on time. Fair warning.

Choosing classes Web

You’ve probably already picked your classes for this semester, but in a few short months you’ll be picking new classes for the Spring. Sometimes a professor’s teaching style or demeanor makes all the difference in you making the grade.

Rate My Professor is a web app that acts as a repository for real student reviews of teachers. Each teacher with multiple ratings will have an average score based on helpfulness, clarity, easiness, and overall quality. There’s also a hotness score, measured by different colors of pepper icons. Of course, not everyone’s going to love even the best professors but having more reviews and opinions will give you a better idea of what to expect.

Pro tip: Search by your school first, or else prepare to browse through hundreds of results for professors with common last names.

Simmering down

SpotifyWindows | Mac | iPhone | Android

School shouldn’t be all work and no play. When you need some downtime (or even just some tunes to get you through your homework), Spotify can help. Create a playlist, search out your favorite songs, and jam out in your dorm room. US smartphone users can even take Spotify’s streaming radio feature with them on the go for free.

These apps should help you succeed and maintain your sanity. What’s the app you’ve found most useful for school? Let us know in the comments.

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