As the beginning of August approaches, one thing comes to mind—school starting up again. Stores begin packing their shelves with dorm room essentials and plenty of Easy Mac to accommodate back to school lists. With all the excitement and preparation, students might overlook important items that will help them through the next few years. I’m talking about 10 essential apps that every college student should have. Unfortunately, they won’t write philosophy essays, or complete calculus homework, but they will make life a little easier.


The best note-taking app I’ve downloaded yet, and there have been several. This app allows students to take notes, record lectures, make to-do lists, and share notes with classmates. It’s easy to use, compatible with the iPhone and iPad, and comes in several languages for international students.

Rate My Professors

Originally a website but they just recently released an app that lets students rate their professors for other students to take into consideration when scheduling classes. Professors are ranked on overall quality, helpfulness, clarity, and easiness. Students can leave comments about the course and/or the professor.

Kindle & Chegg

Trying to find the cheapest books can be exhausting. Amazon’s Kindle app makes reading textbooks easy and affordable. The app lets you take textbooks with you on several devices that synch automatically to the place you last left off. Kindle actually downloads the book, so students can access it without an internet connection unlike other websites like Chegg. But where Chegg lacks in online e-books, they make up for in renting hard copies. This website and app has every textbook you could imagine and they’re usually the cheapest place to rent from. They care about the environment too—Chegg plants a tree for every book rented from their site. They’re also starting to compile class information for users such as, class notes, grade distributions, and course reviews.


This app is very popular and well known by most college students. From personal experience, Skype seems to be the best video communication app compared to Facetime and Tango. Skype is great for staying in touch with friends and family and allows students to do so through a variety of channels. They offer video chat, telephone calls, and instant messaging.

Student Survival Guide / Design Student Survival Guide

These apps are a collection of organizational tips and interactive tools that help students balance busy schedules. More than just common sense, they are specific tips that address topics such as time management, technology, working in teams, and presentation tips. The Student Survival Guide is for students of any major or grade; and the Design Student Survival Guide is geared more towards students majoring in the arts. It offers advice and information to students dealing with studio projects. Both apps include a quick scheduling feature that sets alerts on your device. The apps work on iOS devices such as iPhone, iPad, and iPod.


Many of the music apps offered today, arrange music in playlists for listeners. The way they are organized is a little different and preference depends from person to person. Songza arranges playlists into moods and activities based on the time of day. This app doesn’t have any audio ads that seem to plague other apps such as Pandora.


Moving to a new city can be fun, exciting, and overwhelming if you don’t know where you’re going or what restaurants are nearby. Luckily, UrbanSpoon is an app that allows people to sort restaurants by location, meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner), and type of food. The app features restaurant ratings, reviews, and general information to narrow down your choices.

This app was recently released by, a website that allows people to link all of their financial accounts in one place. The app allows people to securely check their accounts and send alerts if accounts are low or when a bill is due. There are several financial tools to use such as creating budgets, tracking spending, and analyzing spending trends. Mint is very easy to use and also suggests ways to save money.

Lose It!

Everyone jokes about the dreaded “freshman 15.” With LoseIt! students won’t have to worry about gaining weight or trying to count calories. This app helps people keep track of their diet and exercise habits. According to the app website, “The average user has lost more than 12lbs and more than 85% of our active users have lost weight.”

iHome Sleep

Everyone’s heard the horror stories of someone oversleeping and missing a final. With iHome Sleep students don’t need to worry. This app lets users track their sleeping habits and it’ll even keep records of how much sleep you’ve accumulated. Students can also customize alarm setting on their phones allowing them to wake up to music and other sounds.

Whether students are just starting out or going into their senior year these apps are useful tools to help students navigate their way through college and the obstacles they may face.

This guest post is by Amber Adams, a senior at the University of Illinois majoring in advertising with a certificate in public relations. Her interests include traveling, fishing, freelancing, and organizing–yes you read that right! This summer she interned with the Michael and Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living in Austin, Tx. Upon graduation, Amber hopes to get a job in Austin working for an advertising agency or in corporate communications. To contact Amber or see more of her work visit