Five apps you need to excel at college life

Five apps you need to excel at college life

Stay on top of assignments, class schedules, and exam timetables by installing these must-have apps on your smartphones before going back to college.

Laptop? Check. Stationery? Check. A smartphone with the right learning aids? Hold on, let’s recheck that. Sure, you could get by college during the years of only pen and paper, but now—now, you can do a whole lot more than just get by with a modern smartphone. Here’s a list of apps that’ll help you excel in your college life:


Even if your primary note-taking tool is a notebook with folded and weatherworn pages, you can always fire up OneNote on your smartphone when the professor walks into announce some changes to the assignment well after you’ve packed your things. OneNote is a time-tested note-taking tool by Microsoft. It’s free to use and is available on Android and iOS. A more sophisticated version is available for your computer as well. Notes on OneNote are divided into notebooks, sections, and pages. OneNote is capable of storing drawings, mathematical equations, screen clippings, pictures, and recorded clips of audio and video. OneNote notebooks can be synced across devices using a Microsoft account.


Back in the day, a dictionary always referred to a thick, heavy book of words and their definitions. Today it’s only as big as your smartphone. WordWeb is a reliable English dictionary app that’s available on Android and iOS. It’s also available on Windows as a classic application. It’s free to use and has no ads. The best part about WordWeb is that it works completely offline. This can be extremely helpful when you’re ambling along those empty sections of the cloister where network is inexplicably patchy. Here’s a cool shortcut too: if you’ve got WordWeb installed on an Android phone running the Marshmallow version or later, you can simply select a word from the text, expand the word selection menu and tap WordWeb to look its definition up.

My Study Life

When the phone calendar is already flooded with FIFA match dates and friends’ birthdays, keeping up with subjects, class schedules, assignments, and exam timetables can be hard. My Study Life is a planner that helps you record and keep track of all these things so you can stay on top of classes, assignments, and exams without losing marks. My Study Life is a free app that’s available on Android and iOS. It can also be used on a computer through the web. Data is synced across all the devices you use. The nice bit is that it’s completely free of ads.


Missing a class and losing precious notes for difficult topics is a regular part of college life. But what happens when you finally get your hands on the notes you missed and know you haven’t got long to scan or photocopy it? What do you do then? Try CamScanner. It’s a free app that lets you quickly convert camera images into neatly cropped, optimised PDF documents. As a result, a booklet of five sheets quickly becomes a PDF you can share with your friends who also missed their notes. And if you want to edit the text you see on paper, CamScanner’s optical character recognition (OCR) function should help you achieve it. The only fly in the ointment is that the app contains ads.

Audio Recorder

Maybe you want to go back and listen to the exact pronunciation of that foreign word your professor used after class. Maybe you want to capture the first song your best friend played on their guitar on a rainy evening. Whichever be the case, your college experience is never full enough without those tiny voice notes and messages you recorded when you felt the moment was precious. Try Audio Recorder by Sony Mobile. It’s a free app for Android that lets you record audio while keeping the screen turned off. It’s free of ads and occupies very little disk space on your phone.

For more laptop buying guides, check out our Back to College microsite here.

Vignesh Giridharan

Vignesh Giridharan

Progressively identifies more with the term ‘legacy device’ as time marches on. View Full Profile
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