Do you have everything you need to finish out the semester? Notebooks, pencils, pens, that messenger bag you saw that looked like it could hold half your textbooks and your laptop and not drag you down. But what about all those other things designed to make your life much easier that weren’t around when your parents were going through their own college experience? Anymore, the smart phone is as much an academic tool as it is a functional device to call home to the parents suffering from an empty nest. There are apps for everything from document sharing to voice recording, and a lot of these can be put to good use in the classroom. We’ve gathered together the ten apps most likely to make getting through your studies easier and definitely without breaking the bank.
1. Amazon Kindle/Barnes & Noble (B&N) Nook
The primary tool of any successful college student is having the right books. Both Amazon Kindle for Android and B&N Nook for Android apps allow you to download your existing e-book library for fast and easy reference. Most Android-based phones come with the Kindle app already installed, but both apps are free, user-friendly, and grant access to thousands upon thousands of books and textbooks and often at a significantly lower cost than buying the same texts from the campus bookstore. Features include bookmarking, highlighting, an in-house dictionary, and word/phrase search function. If you are serious about having e-book copies of all your text books, equipping yourself with both apps is highly recommended. Neither retailer has the e-book rights to everything, but between both, most bases can be covered.
2. Gdocs for Android
Google Docs has taken their revolutionary web-based word processing software and made it applicable to the smart phone. Access existing files, create new ones, generate .pdfs, import and export documents, and share your files with others with this free app—just as if you were sitting right at your computer. The best part? You can print straight from your phone via Google Cloud to any printer connected to the internet via a computer or Wi-Fi.
3. Study Droid
Use flashcards to study? Don’t bother getting pack upon pack of 3-by-5 cards anymore. Study Droid is an independently designed free application that works on both your computer and smart phone to create, organize, and study with flashcards. There is even an extensive database of cards made by other users (the site claims over 10 million) to add to your own collection.
The full power of Wikipedia comes to your fingertips with this free WikiDroid app by Sirius Applications Ltd. Search articles, find sources, or delve deeper into a subject to get you started on that research assignment. We just recommend keeping your phone put away when exam time comes around.
This goes out and beyond the default daily diary pre-installed on Android operating systems. A New York Times “Top 10 Must-Have App,” Evernote lets you keep track of things as they happen: something your professor mentioned in passing during office hours, a debate you had with a friend where neither of you had a pen and paper, even keeping track of that perfect study nook you found at a coffee shop a short walk off campus. It operates off your Google account and lets you keep notes via text, voice, or photo. It even tracks your location for each note so that you can look it up on a map later if necessary. This is incredibly useful even outside of an academic setting, and the clean design makes it fast and easy to use. What makes it even better? It syncs to every electronic device you have that can have the app installed. Access the notes on your phone from your computer or tablet and vice versa. Information you need when and where you need it.
No more fighting for the scanners or Xerox machines in the computer lab and campus library. Droidscan is a free app that acts as a full or partial document scanner just by using the built-in point-and-shoot camera your smart phone comes equipped with. Images are converted into .jpeg or .pdf format and saved at a high and readable resolution. The Pro (paid) version of this app allows for a few more high-tech features such as incorporating multiple images into one file, upload with Gdocs, and easy sharing of multi-page .pdfs.
Track your homework assignments and grades with this simple and free CorsePro app. It is only in the demo stages, currently, which limits the number of courses trackable with it. However, if you are the sort of student that likes to keep organized and keep a close eye on your personal progress at the same time, this app is a promising must-have.
8. Voice Recorder
This is another free app off the Android Market that syncs with your Google account, allowing you to not only record audio of anything from simple notes-to-self to lectures but to email the file to wherever it might need to go quickly and easily. Files are also searchable by title and date, and a bonus is that these same files (where appropriate) can be turned into ringtones.
Here is an app truly invaluable to the average, starving college student. Track your finances, your tuition payments, your text book expenditures, your meal allowances, all through the clean design of this free app from Intuit Inc. Spending too much at Starbucks? Mint will tell you exactly how much. Sign up with your email, create a password, connect your bank account and credit cards, and start tracking. The app is secure, so losing your phone won’t mean that someone has direct access to your accounts and savings without knowing your specific log-in information and password. The only noticeable drawback could arise depending on what phone you use. The site claims: “We currently don’t support Android phones with a QVGA display, such as the Motorola Charm or the Samsung Moment.”
Book shopping or getting stuff for the dorm? Grocery shopping and really wanting something other than ramen that’s just as cheap? SnapTell is a free application for both Android and iPhone that lets you take a picture of a product’s barcode and compare it to other retailers on the fly. The Android app, particularly, has a function that allows for image recognition as well as barcode identification, making it indispensable to the frugal shopper.