Now that the age of the smartphone is officially upon us, it’s safe to say that the majority of college students have some form of mobile telephone that does more than simply place calls and send messages. Whether it be iPhone, Galaxy, HTC One or Droid, these mobile computers have the capability of being used for extreme academic efficiency and assistance. Through either the iPhone app store or Google Play, students have millions of applications at their fingertips. The sheer volume of choices can be overwhelming, especially to the new user. So, as a means of assistance, I have combed through thousands of apps on both platforms to discover the very best options available to college students.
As a college student myself, I have a pretty good gauge of what my peers are looking for when it comes to their phone. However, as a senior who was not aware of the many technological resources available during most of my collegiate career, I figured it would be best to go to the underclassmen to see how much they know.
“The only apps I have are Twitter, Youtube and a couple of games,” said sophomore Michael English. “I wouldn’t even really know where to start when if I were to try to find new apps.”
“I want an app that will help me study and keep me organized so I can do well,” said sophomore Chris Deisenroth. “I’m also extremely interested in social networking and communication. Those types of sites are my main news and communication outlets.”
So let’s start with the big three. I figure it’s best just to acknowledge these behemoths just in case you live under a rock, and then move to some of the lesser-known downloadables.
Get it. Figure it out. Learn to like it. Twitter has become a big deal in the past few years, and odds are you’re going to have to use it professionally at least once in your life. It’s one of the best sources for breaking news, sports updates and social interaction. Twitter has become so much more than a social media site. Lives have been changed in merely 140 characters. Get accustomed to Twitter. You’ll need it.
Youtube is the go-to source for all videos on the web. With your smartphone you can have instant access to a plethora of educational and recreational videos at the tip of your fingers. Youtube is what you make of it. But with some digging and an active interest, it can be a valuable resource to any college student.
Fire the weatherman because built-in to most smartphones is a gps based weather app. This app grabs your location and gives you various weather forecasts for the hour, day, week or month. It’s a critical feature to have at your fingertips when running to class or heading home.
Back To Academics
Now this is where things get interesting. The world of academic apps is a competitive field filled with learning aids vying for your download. There are a few leviathans that dominate the industry, but there are some gems among them. Luckily, most are free, so any decisions can be made without consequence.
iStudiez Pro – $2.99, Lite Version Available.
The absolute, hands-down best application for academic assistance is the iStudiez Pro application exclusive to the Apple app store.
It is essentially a digital planner. It tracks your class schedule and records upcoming assignments, sending the user push notifications to alert them to any upcoming events or responsibilities. You can prioritize your work and update all of your devices simultaneously. This is the modern age planner and it comes with the many benefits of living in the future.
While there is a free edition of the application, it is limited.
Evernote – Free.
A very close second, yet oddly unique, Evernote on the App Store and Google Play, is a digital cloud to track and organize all of your media across multiple platforms.
With an Evernote account, users can edit text documents, pictures and files on the go from their smartphone, and have their work saved across every synced device. Evernote
“I’ve actually used Evernote for about a year,” said Senior Emily Marchesano. “It’s really useful and handy when I want to complete some work and have it saved universally.”
In Evernote, users can save voice memos and file attachments to multiple devices, while sorting and categorizing your files ubiquitously.
“I had never heard of Evernote. I can’t believe something like that exists,” said sophomore Thoman McArdle. “For some reason I feel like people don’t really care about applications that will help in school. But, from the sounds of it they should, because it sounds extremely hepful.”
Author’s Choice – If This Then That
This novel little application does something so unique and interesting that I feel it needs to be mentioned. If This Then That (IFTTT) lets the user create a unique sequence or “recipe” for the phone to follow. These “recipes” are often conditional events that the application will look out for. Once detected the application enacts the resulting commands in the “recipe”. For example you could input “If I receive a tweet, then send me a text message,” or “If it’s snowing tomorrow, then wake me up early for class.” I think this is just a cool idea that, once mastered, can be extremely useful. There are quite a few bugs, as it is a lesser known application, but I didn’t experience any that couldn’t be fixed by a simple application restart.