6 Essen­tial Back to School Apps for iOS and Android

George Tinari

School has begun and while I’m not in college anymore, I don’t think I could have survived college without some essential apps on my phone. I used apps for everything from reminders to keeping track of grades and homework to even buying textbooks and finding the right professors. There’s an app for just about anything you would want to accomplish in college… well, within reason.

These apps were essential to me surviving school, so I'm sharing them with you. | Photo: Shutterstock
These apps were essential to me surviving school, so I’m sharing them with you | Photo: Shutterstock

Here is a compiled list of six phenomenal apps you should absolutely get on your smartphone if you’re in school or about to start. Don’t worry, I know you’re on a tight budget, so almost all of these are free.

1. iStudiez Pro

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I don’t have enough amazing things to say about iStudiez Pro. I used this app to get me through all four years of high school and I don’t know what I would have done without it. In fact, I think it’s scandalously underpriced  — and there’s a free version as well. I kept all my class schedules in this, every single assignment, due dates and reminders, professor names and contact information and even some grades. I never felt out of control of my classes or assignments thanks to iStudiez Pro. Best of all, it synced with iPad and Mac beautifully so everything was always up to date on all my devices: my Mac at home, my iPad in class and my iPhone on the go.

iStudiez is available for iOS and Android for $2.99 and $1.99, respectfully. (I highly recommend getting the Mac and/or Windows versions too.)

2. Rate My Professors

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If you want to survive college, you need Rate My Professors. Period. The free service has a reliable list of nearly every professor at virtually every college in the United States. Students get to rate and review the professor, the class itself, the value of the education and leave tips for other students looking to take that class section. Dodge professors with bad ratings, sign up for classes with easy or kind professors and of course eventually leave your own reviews to pay it forward.

If you want to survive college, you need Rate My Professors.

Rate My Professors is free for iOS.

3. Quizlet

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Quizlet lets you create amazing study guides or better yet, tap into the millions of study guides provided by the community. You can study for pretty much any class, create virtual flashcards to quiz yourself, play educational games and more. Quizlet definitely helped me out on several occasions during college, especially when I’d forget I had a quiz or test and needed to study in a flash — oops. The wealth of knowledge and tools you can access from other Quizlet users can’t be overstated.

Quizlet is free for iOS and Android.

4. Remind

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Remind is a messaging app that has gained popularity recently. It allows teachers, students and parents to connect with each other. You can organize by class, chat with groups of people, translate your message and more. A teacher or student sets up the tool for the class linked to a school and everyone else can get on board. Remind is a great place to plan and discuss assignments, group projects, ask your teacher questions, get feedback and delegate tasks.

Remind is free for iOS and Android.

5. Duolingo

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Time for a painfully honest moment. I took the same foreign language, Italian, for a total of nine years of my life between middle school, high school, and certain years of college. After nine years of taking classes, even though I always passed, I still wouldn’t be able to speak more than few sentences to you in Italian. Foreign language was a serious weakness for me in school. However, to help me through the classes, I downloaded Duolingo and immediately realized I was learning more from this free app than what I had ever learned in a classroom.

The free lessons are quick, hands-on and provide you with a number of activities to improve your speaking, listening and writing abilities. Level up to unlock harder lessons and rewards. It’s that simple, but it’s so brilliant and effective.

I was learning more from this free app than what I had ever learned in a classroom.

Duolingo is free for iOS and Android. It supports the following languages: Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Irish, Dutch, Danish, Swedish and English.

6. Chegg

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Textbooks are extremely overpriced. Chegg helps alleviate that problem. The free service promises that you can save up to 90 percent on textbooks because it allows you to find textbooks anywhere and sort them by price. You can also rent books or download eTextbooks instead.  Then when you’re done, sell them and get some cash back.

In addition to textbook purchasing, Chegg is also a great homework helper. It allows you to find solutions to textbook problems digitally and get solutions from other problems users have uploaded.

Chegg is free for iOS and Android.

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George Tinari has written about technology for over seven years: guides, how-tos, news, reviews and more. He's usually sitting in front of his laptop, eating, listening to music or singing along loudly to said music. You can also follow him on Twitter @gtinari if you need more complaints and sarcasm in your timeline.