Top Educational Apps for College Students

Did you know that, in a Pew Research Center survey taken last March, 67 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 24 said they have a smartphone? Two-thirds of young adults! And that’s not even counting the ones that are using iPads.

That means a whole lot of college students are carrying around mobile devices. But is there any educational value to this technology (other than the ability to Google answers and make your professor think you’re a genius)? Of course! Here are some of the best apps that college students can use to help them study and do better in class.

Dragon Dictation

Taking notes in class can be such a chore, especially when your professor talks like the Micro Machines guy. (YouTube it if the reference is too dated, kids.) The point is, it used to be that your only alternative to taking notes was to record the lecture and play it back later. That’s great, but sometimes you just want to be able to read what was said. Well, now you can, because Dragon Dictation is a free (!) iPhone and iPad app that will record your professor’s lecture and instantly transform what he or she is saying into text. Awesome!

StudyBlue Flashcards

Tired of writing flashcards out by hand or typing and printing them? StudyBlue Flashcards is a free app that works on just about any mobile device (Android and anything Apple), and it boasts lots of benefits that regular flashcards don’t. First off, you can access cards created by other users, so there’s no need to recreate common flashcards that a dozen people have already made for you. Second, you can set the app up so that you get study reminders. And finally, these flashcards actually keep score, so you know how well you’re doing and where to focus your studying efforts.

Dropbox

Much of college is dedicated to working on larger projects, and often that means teaming up with other people. Dropbox makes group work a breeze by allowing you to share documents on the cloud and choose who gets access to what. It’s also nice for when you somehow forgot to turn in that paper and can show your professor that you really are sending it while you’re standing in front of them instead of cheating and adding a few final touches.

Sign up for Dropbox with your student email and get double space!

Graphing Calculator

Okay, obviously not every college student is going to need one of these, but consider this. Before apps, anyone in math, science, or technology-related fields would have to spend at least $50 (and often $100 or more) to get a good graphing calculator. Want to know how much this app featured in Time magazine costs? $1.99. See, sometimes technology really does make things better. Except maybe for Texas Instruments.

Evernote

For college students who do like to take notes or documenting things, Evernote is essential. It lets you record lectures, jot down information, take photos, store documents, and even “favorite” websites for research purposes. But the best part is that you can keep all of this information in a single, easy to find location so that when you’re studying for your essay on Chaucer or your Bio midterm, you can just access that folder and everything will be there waiting for you. Pretty convenient.

Samuel Clemens is a former educator who spends his time reviewing study materials for students. Click here to view the study guide he recommends for Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Surviving College While Juggling Life and Work

We all know the drill – head straight from class to work in a restaurant or shop then go home and shower left with just little time to prepare for the next day’s examination. How do you stay sane in this kind of routine while you are in college? Tough, isn’t it?

Well, college is the stage of learning how to do a balancing act especially when you are working your way to finish school. How will you deal with situation such as this without losing yourself?

1. Organizing

List down all assignments, work schedules and socialization you wish to attend. Forgetting your next day’s quiz is a lame excuse.

2. Label the list according to priorities

Among the items, what are the things you cannot do or survive without? To help you with this, make sure you consider what happens tomorrow or in the future. What are the consequences of your decisions and priorities?

3. Enjoy once in a while

Enjoying leisure time once in a while is your right – there is nothing to be guilty about. Too much of anything is definitely not good and the same is true when you just work and study without going out, catching up on sleep or starting a hobby.

4. Stay healthy

Getting enough sleep, exercising and most of all eating healthy are greatest practices for you to stay alert and ready for the tough days ahead. It prevents you from getting sick and it can combat stress. No matter what, your body is still your biggest investment.

Best Practices in Taking Notes for College Students

The mere fact that you’re taking down notes means you wanted to retain the information you wrote down. With that said, you should know exactly what you need to write down otherwise you’ll end up with too much garbage in the information you tried to acquire.

  • Identify what’s new to you. There is no point writing down something that you already know. Why will you write down the information you’ve known from the heart?
  • Determine whether your professor will most likely use the information later. Focus on things that directly demonstrate the lesson you’re studying including pertinent names, places and dates.
  • Tricky information. We are well aware that our professors always try to trigger our logical mind by setting out traps and tricky questions in their examination. More often than not, the answers to these traps are given out during their lectures – not in the book. If you are particularly keen about observing such habits then it will be easier for you to crack it down.
  • Side comments. Sometimes, side comments are ignored or considered unnecessary. However, most practical questions and answers can be found on side comments whether during lectures or books.
  • Doubts. Your doubts and questions are the best source of useful information especially when you are faced with a tough exam ahead. There is not a single student in existence without questions about a certain lesson. If you have doubts, write it down and verify it in your research later on.

There is no easier way to face college than to plunge into it headlong.

How to Beat Procrastination in College

Procrastination is a hard habit to break especially when you’re in college. But in order to give you a clue on how you can beat this, try the following advice –

  • Recognize the pattern of procrastination. Since it is a habit, you must be able to recognize when it is happening. No one can do this for you and there is no easy way to do this than becoming conscious of your own habits. Who knows what you will discover in the process?
  • Reward yourself for every project or assignment accomplished. There must be some form of redundancy in your life especially in college. Break this redundant pattern by rewarding yourself to do something different as your prize for completing a task.
  • Try peer pressure. No, this is not the same as what you’re imagining right now. It simply means you need someone to always check up on how you’re doing. Allow them to punish you and be serious with it otherwise this will not work.
  • Identify the sorts of punishment or consequences you will receive if you don’t do the task apart from grades or teacher’s reprimand. It should be grave enough to make you feel pressured. This will stimulate your mind in some way.

In college, your employer is your time – if you want to get a bonus, you need to work hard for it.