August 30, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka
Imagine my surprise when a drive that normally takes me 4 minutes took 20 thanks to the school buses suddenly on the road. It’s back to school time in my hometown, and millions of students across the country are gearing up, or already in gear, for it.
Here are a few apps that Android-savvy students should download. They may not all be geared specifically for school, but they are apps that will help you on and off campus. Browse the apps and click the “Install” button to download them to your phone. Feel free to offer suggestions about other apps that students might enjoy.
Thanks for the suggestion, Sean!
A+ Homework or CoursePro (FREE Lite, $2.99 Pro)
Formerly known as SchoolDroid, A+ Homework is a way to track your course load. Users can create subjects/courses and then add new assignments with due dates. This is designed for the simplest needs for organizing assignments based on subject.
If you want to upgrade to something a little more sophisticated than A+ Homework, CoursePro is the way to go. Create a new course profile that lists titles, credit hours, location, and professor names. It also tracks assignments with weighted percentage, contacts from other students, and notes on the course/assignment. Upgrade to the $2.99 version or you’ll only have 4 subjects with 5 assignments each.
College students are notoriously bad with money, but Mint is the way to best address that situation. This service will link with your debit, credit, and PayPal accounts so you can always monitor your account levels and get an update for when that financial aid refund (or that transfer you requested from your parents) gets deposited. (More information)
A good student is always ready to record a quick note to self or an extended conversation. Virtual Recorder is among my favorites of the voice recording apps because the sound quality it produces tends to be clearer and audible. Virtual Recorder has pitch changes to that can be used to slow down the speed of a taped lecture, long record times, and the best sound quality you’ll find in an Android app. Get the donate version and you’ll be ad-free.
Evernote or Springpad
Evernote is known as a great memory-aid tool, thanks to its ability to take written, photo, or voice recorded notes. The app also syncs with the online service and organizes notes according to tags, so you can keep track of your school, work, and extra-curricular activities by subject.
And while Evernote may have the name recognition, SpringPad has done wonders in making a product worthy of competition. Springpad provides note taking and offline browsing, product scanning to gain more information, deal finding, and recipe storage. It’s a great way to track your Top Ramen culinary adventures. (More information)
This is one of the best task/project managers out there. If you are in a class that requires long-term and short-term assignments, use ActionComplete to track and plan how you will complete them. AC includes an online syncing options, a geolocation feature (use it to find other students who may be willingly sharing info), and the ability to track “Waits,” which will come in handy when you have group projects. ActionComplete is great for getting things done. (More information)
Dropbox or Home Pipe
You might want to get into the habit of storing your files in the cloud, making sure that they are always available. There’s nothing worse than rushing to class and discovering that you left an important paper or notes from a previous class. Both Dropbox and Home Pipe will automatically sync your documents and files in one place, so you can use them on your laptop, in the computer lab, or even on your phone if necessary. Home Pipe has the added bonus of being able to stream music from your iTunes library.
Documents to Go (FREE Lite, $14.99 Full)
And once you get those files, open Docs to Go to read or edit your Microsoft Office documents. Docs to Go makes it possible to amend that report saved in Word, economics assignment in Excel, or PowerPoint presentation. If you only need to read, get the free version, but editing will require the $14.99 version. (More information)
Don’t be “that guy” in class who is always struggling to keep up with the conversation or constantly asking his neighbor, “What does ‘esoteric’ mean?” Dictionary.com is a useful app to keep handy so you can quickly look up a word’s meaning and be more perspicacious.
Then there’s Wapedia, the app that turns your phone into a Wikipedia machine. For the record, you absolutely should not accept Wikipedia as a fact (I’ve seen people get laughed out of lectures for it) but it can be a good place to gain early information and be pointed in the right direction of verifiable sources. Wapedia formats articles for the phone with multiple language support, fast results, and an accessible widget.
Unless you absolutely need your books right away (you probably don’t), the campus bookstore might not be the most economically sound place to buy books for school. You may not be guaranteed to get a better price, but the odds are very much in your favor that titles from the required reading list are cheaper online or at other stores. ShopSavvy can search for a book and return the price at local and online retailers. Get your syllabus, search for the book title while in class, and you could find a deal before you’re dismissed.
Tasker is an incredible app for Android that automates settings. Turn on vibrate when you enter certain buildings on campus, set periodic syncs, get voice notes during a time of day, and much more. (More information)
Wixel will keep your smart. Believe it or not, puzzle and word games can help expand your mind, so why not try this app that kind of mixes the two. Discover words on a board and even compete with others in a multiplayer mode ($1.49 pro version only).
Google Voice is open to everyone in the United States, so grab this app that adds plenty of settings. Make cheap international calls, read/write SMS messages from the phone or online, get voicemail transcriptions, or get phone calls forwarded to other phones. (More information)