The Best Apps for Any Student

Posted by Megan on May 22, 2014

Journey to the Centre of York

We live in a world now that has faster and faster technological advancements and luckily for us most of these advancements are not only quite beneficial but also very accessible. Students in the past didn’t have the luxury of smartphones, tablets, laptops, apps, the internet, Google, and so on.

A comic about life without Google.
I can’t even imagine not having Google as a resource. What’s a library again? (says the huge bookworm)

Now some students still prefer the ever reliable pencil and paper, maybe even a personal planner to keep themselves on track. However many of us are drawn to the many benefits of using available technologies so today I thought I would highlight some of my favourite apps – all of which are free unless otherwise stated.

Cellphone

(Google) Calendar

Google Calendar App icon

Use this app to keep track of all your commitments. I use mine to track my classes, tests and exams, study sessions, work, and so on. The best part is that it is connected with your Google account so you can access it from any connected technology such as your computer, tablet, or cellphone. You can even access it from your cellphone’s browser but I prefer the app version.

For those with Android phones, most come with alternative calendar apps – I promise you this one is worth the download. It’s sleek, easy to use, and has a ton of great features.

(Google) Drive

Google Drive App icon.

This is Google’s version of the ‘cloud’. The main difference here is that not only can you store your files in the cloud and access them from just about anywhere – Google Drive can also view most file types and can even be used to create documents such as text, spreadsheets, presentations, and more. Meaning you can start and finish your homework on the go, if need be!

Dropbox

Dropbox App icon

Dropbox is another free service (to a point) that uses the cloud so that you can access your files from anywhere. Installing the app on your phone is most useful for automatically storing your pictures on your phone for easy access from a laptop, but it can obviously be used for any file type. You can also unlock more data by inviting friends and following Dropbox for special offers.

Duolingo

Duolingo App icon

This is probably one of the most amazing language learning apps I’ve ever come across. And the best part? It’s completely free with no ads! It currently features Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, and English. It’s a mixture of fun and learning and I highly recommend it to anyone that is interested in learning another language. This would be particularly useful for language students and students studying at Glendon!

Evernote

Evernote is quite the competitor to the aforementioned Google Drive. This app also uses a cloud for easy access between devices. Evernote is definitely more specialized to note taking however and includes a bunch of easily used features such as to-do lists, voice reminders, and so on. The notes are also easily searchable so if you can’t find what you are looking for, it can find it for you. It will cut your notes off at a certain size if you aren’t a paid user, however I found the allotment to be quite generous. I recommend using this AND Google Drive.

Flipboard

Flipboard App icon.

Flipboard is more and more frequently pre-installed on Android devices and yet I’m not so sure that everyone knows about it so I’m going to talk about it. As a student it’s not always easy to keep up on any kind of news. Flipboard is a great way to remedy that. You can connect most of your social media and Flipboard will make them into separate mini magazines for easy viewing. It also comes with predetermined magazines such as Travel, News, Photography, and Food. You can also create your own topics. A lot of News companies have their own board on it so if you want to follow The New York Times or follow the celebrity magazine PEOPLE, you can also follow them on there.

IMDb

I think a lot of people are probably familiar with IMDb but for those that aren’t – it’s a great movie and tv database with a variety of great functions. For one it’s a great memory assist when you can’t remember who is in that one movie or you want to know what other tv shows a certain actor has been in. Aside from that it can also tell you when new episodes are airing, allows you to view and rate movies and shows, and even get recommendations for new ones based on categories. There are are numerous other features and
I personally use the app and website at least a couple times a week so I definitely recommend it!

Just Eat

Just Eat App icon.

Just Eat is my newest obsession, maybe because I was so stressed with exams that I didn’t have as much time to cook. Essentially it’s a great food ordering site. You can put in your postal code and it will bring up any affiliated delivery (and some pick up) locations close to you. You can sort by type or just pick a restaurant of your choosing. From there you can choose what you like off the menu, pick a tip amount, and have it delivered. Payment options include cash, debit and credit card. I’ve found this to be a super useful app, especially living in Toronto (well North York anyways) because there are so many options, many of which that are super tasty AND affordable. I live near York and get about 25 options (ish) depending on the time of day. You can also order ahead and either way you are provided with a delivery time which I’ve found to be quite accurate except for a few times where my food was delivered 20-30 minutes early – hey, I’m not complaining!

Kijiji

Kijiji App icon.

I think EVERYONE probably knows about Kajiji. However I didn’t realize that they had an app so I thought I would share. I personally have found this app to be amazing for every section I’ve needed it for – apartments/rooms for rent, jobs, free or cheap lightly used furniture, pets, etc. People sometimes get their backs up about services like this however in my experience I’ve never had anything of concern happen. Most people are quite punctual about replying and are super friendly!

LinkedIn

LinkedIn App icon.

EVERY student should have a LinkedIn account. For those who aren’t familiar, it’s a professional networking site. You can connect with your peers, coworkers, bosses, etc. who then can write you recommendations, endorse your skills, and so on. You can also join groups and follow companies to expand your network. It’s also great to include your URL on your resume because interested employers can go to your page to see the rest of your information. Some people are also fortunate to find employment through the app through recruiters and even employers. I know one such person myself (shoutout to D)!

(Google) Maps

Google Maps App icon.

This is the best app of life, especially for those of you that are directionally challenged like me. I’ve literally gotten lost with a friend ONE STREET OVER FROM MY PLACE which is pretty sad. But funny. I choose to focus on the funny. Anyways, I have used this app for everything. It’s connected with transit so you can sync with your currently location and put in where you want to go and it will tell you what routes are available, where, at what time, when you will get to your destination, etc. You can even do so for future dates/times. I have even used this on campus when I’ve been trying to find a building I haven’t been to before. The best part about the app is that if you turn on your GPS it will essentially live direct you and follow your movement so you stay on the right track. And for cyclists it also is connected with tons of bike trials which can be useful. I also find this useful because I’m a huge GTA n00b despite living near campus two years and it makes me feel comfortable knowing where I am relative to home 🙂

Rdio

Rdio App icon.

Rdio is my one true love. I use this app for hours almost every day. Essentially it’s a music app, which I’m proud to say I’ve been following since the beginning (2010). At it’s basic form, it’s like having access to all of iTunes. You can listen for free for up to six months with access to stations on mobile, or stations, albums, AND playlists on the web. You can also try a free 14 day trial for unlimited which gives you all the features. I HIGHLY recommend that you try the trial. If you do decide to pay it’s only $10 a month, cheaper than most albums. I prefer this to downloading because it’s more ethical and you directly support the artists you listen to (also you won’t get bad quality songs with voice overs and viruses and what not). And just like main music releases, they update their collection every Tuesday which is super awesome! My new favourite feature is definitely the stations which can autoplay based on artists you like, what you normally listen to, etc. If you do one thing from this list, promise me you will try this one, you won’t be disappointed 😀 For those who are worried about streaming costs, you can also download directly to your phone to play offline. And they have social features so you can add your Facebook friends or companies like MTV and share and listen to their music. Yes, I’m obsessed.

SAM

SAM App icon.

This app is great for those suffering from anxiety. It’s full name is Self-help Anxiety Management. It has a beautiful interface which allows you to track your symptoms, learn more about anxiety, and even includes a variety of digital exercises to maintain or reduce your anxiety. Even if you aren’t officially diagnosed with anxiety, an app like this is SUPER helpful around stressful times of the year such as exams. I really recommend it.

York U Safety

York U Safety App icon.

Again, most of you have already probably heard of this app. However, if you don’t yet have it, it’s worth the download. It includes features such as:

  • A loud emergency alarm
  • Direct button to York U security
  • Emergency contacts
  • A safety toolbox
  • Campus map which can also direct you to and from most buildings
  • Direct contact to goSAFE
  • Shuttle information
  • YU security info
  • Counselling and support info

So get it!

Computer Programs

I definitely recommend the computer versions of the apps above (that have them).

On top of that I also recommend Scattrbrain to keep track of your to dos. It’s a beautiful program that rests on your desktop and you can sort your tasks by date, colour, etc.

An image of the Scattrbrain program.
This is what Scattrbrain can look like, except the background will be YOUR desktop background. You can choose the colour of each individual task and by putting a date, they will be sorted chronologically.

Chrome Extensions

StayFocusd is a great extension you can install in Chrome which will increase your productivity by limiting your internet access. You can give yourself a timer, you can block only certain sites (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, for instance), and it also has a great feature where you can’t undo the blocking until a certain time. So if you block it the whole day before your exam (for example) and you try to turn it off – you can’t. A lot of students find this super helpful although personally I find it infuriating 😛

Logo of StayFocusd.

Well this is it, my list of apps, programs, and extensions that I’ve found most useful as a student. Which ones are your favourites? Which ones am I missing? Comment below!

-M

Megan
Megan

Megan is a third-year Psychology student. Follow her on her journey of self-development as she explores and ventures through campus.

See other posts by Megan

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