Sorry, summer's almost over. If you're starting university or college, or just going back, it's gonna hit hard. So we've compiled a list of super-helpful apps to take away that September blues.
These past few weeks have probably been pretty quiet and relaxing. Maybe you’ve been sunning yourself in a nice part of the world or sleeping in till the early afternoon. Whatever the case, you’ve had a lovely time. (We’re not bitter, honest.)
But in a just a few weeks, reality will kick back in when your studies commence once again, or perhaps you’ll be starting a new course. Whatever, you’ll be spending many hard hours each week in lectures, reading out of old textbooks and penning essays at 1am in the morning. Wow, it’s fun to be a student.
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You’re probably not yet concerned about preparing for the academic year ahead. Most students, understandably, will leave it till the last minute – whether it be printing off reading lists or buying new stationery. It’s boring stuff, in all fairness, but we’ve all got smartphones and tablets. So why not think digital instead?
There’s a ton of apps out there designed specifically for students and making educational life a lot easier. From mobile-optimised word processors to digital revision planners and cooking guides, here are the apps you should download right now to help you survive uni or college.
Best Apps for Students – Studying
Nowadays, it’s pointless shelling out £100 on computer applications such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel for writing your essays. Google Drive is just as good and doesn’t cost a penny. All you need is a Gmail account, and you’ll be able to create documents, spreadsheets and slides for free. It’s cloud-based and works across desktops, smartphones and tablets. After the non-existent cost, the second-best thing is that it auto-saves – no more lost work.
Who needs dusty old textbooks when the internet exists? Certainly not you, who needs the shelf space for storing multiple flavours of Pot Noodle. Kortext is a content platform that provides digital textbooks from key publishers and works with a wide variety of British universities. The app positions itself as more than just a reading or online platform, and has been created as a service integrating digital with current university learning environments. Features include the ability to search, highlight, add notes and share with other students.
Study groups are a great way of bonding with friends and sharing knowledge, but sometimes it’s impossible for everyone to be in one place at once. The premise of Learnium, which describes itself as a social learning network, lets you revise and work on documents with other students. (No, it’s not cheating; it’s collaborating. So there.) You can also stay up to date with things that are happening on your campus, be it exams or essay deadlines. The app is integrated with Microsoft Office, too.
If you want a break from taking notes with the traditional pen and paper – or, more likely, you just chewed the end off your last Biro – it’s worth checking out Sonocent. Using your smartphone’s mic, it’ll let you take accurate recordings of lectures and study meetings. You can highlight key moments of audio to review, add photos, type up notes to add further context, and break recordings into sections based on topic.
As a student, it’s really easy to become disorganised and fall behind. There are just so many deadlines and assignments to remember, and, you know, so many parties to wake up after. Well, iStudiez Pro is the solution to all your problems. While it won’t write essays for you, it will track your schedule, homework and grades, and ensure you’re always on top of your work. It’s available across desktops and mobile apps, and your data is always synced and backed up.
Best Apps for Students – Wunderlist
One of the best ways to keep on top of all your work and chores at uni is to create to-do lists, although again you don’t need to go down the pen-and-paper route for this. Wunderlist, which is available on both Android and iOS, lets you create, organise and schedule lists straight from your phone, tablet or computer. You’re able to set reminders too so you don’t forget to finish tasks.
Depending on what type of learner you are, flashcards are a great way to prepare for upcoming exams, and Flashcards+ brings them to your smartphone. You can make your own card decks for subjects such as English, maths, Spanish and biology, adding elements such as images and diagrams. If you’re too lazy to make your own cards, there are pre-made ones you can use.
Best Apps for Students – Money
At university, money’s often tight. It goes towards books, rent, food and drink – way too much drink – which is why it’s good to have a few apps that’ll help you find bargains. Hot UK Deals does exactly what it says on the tin, offering daily voucher codes from trusted retailers such as Asda, Tesco, Dominos Pizza, Sainsburys, Argos and more. It’s also worth checking out Groupon, where you can get vouchers for up to 70% off products and services.
Mum and dad are always a phone call away should you need to scrounge a month's rent, but it’s best if you don't have to rely on them. Money Dashboard aims to help you save money, make better spending decisions and budget effectively. Supporting all major banks and credit card providers, it keeps track of your spendings and bills across current, credit and savings accounts.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed when balancing studies with looking after your cash. IOU is definitely an app you need if you want to keep track of your core finances. It tracks and records all your personal debts, bills and loans in a single app, and is simple enough to be used on the go. Sadly it can’t help get deposits back off dodgy landlords.
Used to lending money out to your mates or borrowing some off others? Then you're either a mug or a scrounger. Nevertheless, you’ll want to download Payfriendz, which is free. It’s a messaging app that gives you a secure and easy way to send or request money to friends and family. Just by chatting with your friends, you can settle up for dinner or collect money for gigs. The types of things you can use it for are endless. All you need to do is keep your account topped up through your debit card.
We all know what it’s like to have to withdraw money for an emergency, be it paying the bills or going on a massive night out. You don’t need any clues to figure out what ATM Hunter does. Using GPS, it’ll help you locate ATMs and MasterCard PayPass merchants wherever you are. You don’t need to type addresses in.
Best Apps for Students – Health and fitness
When you have so much going on in your life and keep waking up in strangers' digs with an empty bottle of Absinthe stuffed into a belt holster, it’s hard to find the motivation to visit the gym and get fit. However, Sweatcoin aims to change that, by literally paying you to do some exercise and become healthier. For every step you take, you’re rewarded with coins you can spend on goods, services and experiences. You can also donate them to charity.
Sometimes exercise can get boring and repetitive, but Zombies Run wants to turn working out into a fun game – or like stepping into a nightmarish episode of The Walking Dead, depending on how you look at it. It’s an immersive running game and audio adventure, created by award-winning novelist Naomi Alderman. The app puts you at the centre of a zombie story, and your job is to collect supplies to keep your base alive and healthy. Just don't stab anyone in the head by accident.
Unfortunately, it’s quite common to put on lots of weight while at uni. Why? The simple answer is pizza and no exercise. MyFitnessPal will change your life. With a the world’s largest food database – over 5 million foods – the app will help you lose those extra pounds in no time. There are also calorie and diet tracking features onboard.
There’s no such thing as wise drinking when you’re a uni student, but guzzling shot after shot isn’t good for your health. This app will make you healthier. While its creators claim it’s not based on science as such, it does assess your gender, body weight and the time of your last meal to give you an idea of how much alcohol you should drink.
Writing essay after essay at 1am is far from good for you, but it’s pretty common when you’re a student. With Sleep Genius, you can get a much better sleep. Developed by experts in neuroscience, sleep and sound, the app offers you a mix of programs to ensure you have plenty of shut-eye.
With the amount of work and responsibility involved, it’s understandable how students can become easily stressed. If you fall into this category, you’ll want to check Headspace out. It offers guided meditates – from beginner to complex – to help you improve your focus, exercise a healthy mind and reduce stress.
Best Apps for Students – Food
BBC Good Food
Stuck with what to cook yourself now that you’re not living with your parents? You needn’t worry, there are load of takeaways around. Oh, and also the BBC’s comprehensive variety of recipes is pretty handy. With 20 free recipes to choose from, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a decent cook. If you want access to more, you can buy additional cookbooks.
Like BBC Good Food, the aim of BigOven is to make cooking as simple as possible. It’s set apart by the fact that it sports over 350,000 recipes, so you shouldn’t run out of inspiration. There’s also a grocery list and menu planner feature, helping you keep organised in the kitchen.
Unless you’re a seasoned chef like Jamie Oliver, Marco Pierre White or that guy with the massive knife who slices the kebab meat off its skewer, you may struggle when it comes to working with recipes and ensuring you have the right ingredients. Ratio is a life-saver, providing you with ratios for everything from doughs to sauces. There’s also a calculator to figure out the ingredients and amounts you need.
Best Apps for Students – Transport
It would be bizarre not to mention Google Maps in a section dedicated to travel and transport apps, so here it is. You probably have it on your smartphone and use it a lot already, but if you haven’t, you should go get it now. Free to download, it offers real-time navigation, traffic, public transport and nearby places.
Moving away from home can be a scary prospect, especially when you have to get used to new surroundings and work out which street corners you're most likely to mugged on. What if you get lost or can’t figure out which bus will take you to the nearest kebab shop? Never fear, as that’s why Citymapper exists. The app gives you live times for buses, trains and the tube. There’s even Uber integration.
When you go on a night out with friends, it’s normal to book a cab, although they can run up massive bills – and if you're the last drop-off you'll end up scrabbling around for scrunched-up fivers. Uber is a cheaper alternative, letting you get a reliable, affordable ride in minutes. You can also make payments with credit card or PayPal. The service is currently available to use in 16 cities across the UK: London, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Newcastle, Sheffield, Bristol, Merseyside, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Portsmouth, Leicester, Belfast, Southampton and Cardiff.
Best Apps for Students – Entertainment
While most of the apps in this piece are about learning and responsibility, it’s good to have a few for pure entertainment too. Halls can be noisy, with lots going on, so it’s a great idea to have a streaming service like Apple Music or Spotify on your phone. You can get an Apple Music student membership for £4.99 a month and 50% off pro memberships with Spotify.
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There’s nothing better than having a cold pint while you watch the football or rugby, but sometimes it’s not possible to watch the exact game you want down your local. MatchPint is here to save the day, helping you locate local pubs and clubs that are televising specific sporting fixtures.
You’ve likely come across a TED talk before, probably on a social networking site like Facebook or Twitter. The talks are about feeding your curiosity and mind, at least according to the creators of TED. These talks can be on topics from tech to science, and are a great way to keep entertained and learn at the same time.
The internet, full of amazing blogs, publications and other information services, is a great way to stay up-to-date with everything going on in the world. To keep on top of everything, Feedly is a must-have. It organises all your favourite websites, publications, blogs and Youtube in one place, where you can consume and share all this information easily.
There’s no shying away from the fact that you’ll be uber busy while at uni, going to lectures and penning essays, but you’ll need to have some time to yourself as well. Eventbrite is a good app to have if you plan on moving away for university. It lets you find local events to go to, from concerts to concerts.
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Seen any other great apps for surviving higher education? Let us know in the comments.