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Posted April 16, 2016 by

6 apps for college students

Long gone are the days of card catalogs, Trapper Keepers, and other broken systems our parents had to wrestle with in order to do A-grade productive work. We are a generation of cyborgs forever enhanced by technology such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and the apps these machines enable.

LD prod/Shutterstock.com

LD prod/Shutterstock.com

Okay, so maybe calling us a generation of cyborgs is a bit of a stretch, but to be successful a system is necessary. Thankfully many of us are lucky enough to take advantage of a plethora of great applications that make having a system a little simpler which makes being a student a little more manageable and a little less stressful.

Task Management is basically what life boils down to once you’re on your own and you don’t have mom and dad forcing study habits on you and trying to instill within you the virtues of priority. This is why it is imperative that you replace your parents with a task management app. My personal choice is Todoist. Todoist is a minimalist to-do-list app with all the features needed to keep tabs on what needs to get done and when. The app features natural language dictation, which basically means that instead of having to click through various tabs and settings to create a task, just type, “Algebra homework Thursday at five pm” and Todoist will create a task titled, “Algebra Homework” and remind you to do it at five-o’clock Thursday night. Todoist is available on almost any platform for free and is easily the most intuitively designed to-do application there is. There are, however, many other options like Wunderlist or Anydo if Todoist isn’t right for you.

A Calendar App like a to-do app is there to help you prioritize what you need to be doing and when and where you need to be doing it. However, instead of making lists of each individual task, a good calendar app allows you to quickly block out sections of time to plan out your day and easily view that day so it can be kept up with. The app I use is called Fantastical which also has natural language dictation like Todoist. Fantastical also syncs seamlessly with your Google Calendar, your iCloud Calendar, and any other calendar you might be tied into.

However, in spite of Fantastical’s inclusion in my productivity system, it is not the calendar I would recommend. Instead consider Sunrise Calendar. Sunrise Calendar has basically all of the same functionality as Fantastical, but it’s free and available cross-platform whereas Fantastical has a hefty price tag of $4.99 and is available on both IOS and in the Mac App Store.

Note Taking apps are a no-brainer. Try as you might, you are not going to do well in any lecture based class if you can’t take notes. App developers know this, and that is why there are too many note taking apps to count. Fortunately one sticks out above the rest, and that is Evernote. Evernote is the note taking app for any project really. The app finds use well out of college to collect recipes, shopping receipts, bank statements and some even use it as a word processor. Evernote takes any kind of note from text notes to audio recordings. Once a note is taken you can organize them all by notebooks or by tags or by ways I haven’t even tried yet. Evernote is free to use, very powerful, and accessible on just about any device. If you don’t like Evernote, you can try Microsoft’s OneNote which ties in nicely with the Microsoft ecosystem if that’s your thing. You could also just use Microsoft Word or Google Docs, but Evernote is a cut above the rest in my opinion.

File Storage apps for the most part go unnoticed and just sit there on your computer screen or tucked away into a folder on your phone, but they are far more useful than we give them credit for. Day one at college you are going to receive about a thousand syllabi. Do yourself a favor;  tuck all the hard copies away into a folder where you can find them later for back up. Then ask your professors to send you the syllabi digitally and save them all to an app like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Onedrive. This way you will always be able to access them and tweak them to accommodate snow days or when your professor moves a test around. It doesn’t really matter which of these apps you decide to use; just pick whichever one offers the most free storage possible.

Finally, in a category all their own are Miscellaneous apps. These are the apps that don’t really fit in any of the other categories but are still hugely helpful. First is Flux. Flux is actually a piece of software you can download onto your computer that will change the type of light your computer emits throughout different times of the day. At night Flux adjusts your computer screen to stop using blue light which can mess with your sleep patterns and switches to a less disruptive red light. The change on the screen is subtle, but when you have to pull an all-nighter and need to get a few hours of sleep, you’ll be happy to start the day feeling a little more refreshed than you otherwise would have.

Next is an app I use almost every day called Pocket. Pocket is a digital “pocket” where you can tuck things into to be viewed later. Reading an interesting article but have class in ten minutes? Save it to Pocket. Your roommate sent you a funny fail compilation, but you have a paper to write? Save it to Pocket. Pocket also has an article view function that takes the articles you save and converts them to plain text while removing advertisements and page-fluff. Finally an app that automates your life! If This Then That or IFTTT for short lets you create little recipes that help eliminate pesky tasks. One example is If I tag an article in Pocket “#research” Then save it to my research paper notebook in Evernote. I could go on and on, but for the sake of article length just download these apps, give them a whirl, and thank me later.

Billy Stidham, guest writer

Billy Stidham, guest writer

I coasted through high school and was never a productive student. I put all my homework off until the last minute if I even did it at all. However, during my senior year, I started to take my grades and the idea of college seriously. Once I got to college I lacked basic study habits. I had no system, but now these apps have turned me – a super procrastinator – into a cyborg of proficiency.

Billy Stidham is a writer and blogger. Hoping to earn a living by writing, Billy is pursuing his Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas. You can follow Billy on Twitter @I_R_Beast  and on Linkedin.

Posted June 17, 2015 by

Work Smart: Tips for Students to Get More out of Their Day

Female student reading a book for finding information. Young woman sitting at table doing assignments in university library.

Female student reading a book for finding information. Young woman sitting at table doing assignments in university library. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Are you working hard in class, racing to your job after school and trying to make it to an extracurricular activity during the week? Working while going to school full time means you have to work smart. Organize your time to squeeze in extra schoolwork between classes, work and fun. Here are few tips to maximize your time: (more…)

Posted March 02, 2015 by

Kind of personal devices used by students in higher education

College students in a computer lab

College students in a computer lab. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Using modern technology and personal devices as the means to assistance and enhancing learning for students is now a very common and regular concept.

As the modern world continues to shape up and evolve the change in dynamics that influence, different forms of learning also change. The shift from learning while sitting at a place like classrooms to more virtual kind of studying is now very evident, the use of technology especially the personal devices gain momentum and importance. Students now prefer to use a lot of technology in order to assist them with learning. The concept of distributed learning as they call is now very popular. This means that students who might be enrolled in the same classroom and course will prefer to use their own computers, devices and tablets to learn about it and read their reading materials from their own personal devices once they get done from the lectures. As a matter of fact within the classrooms, now students bring their portable devices to record lectures or notes. Gone are the days when copies and pencils were used to write notes and do assignments. (more…)

Posted September 23, 2014 by

6 Ways You’re Going to Trash Your Laptop at College

A shot of a college student carrying a laptop on campus

A shot of a college student carrying a laptop on campus. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

College can be a great experience—striking out on your own, experiencing life and making new friends, accumulating knowledge and skills that will help you succeed for the rest of your life. And, the high accessibility of technology has made it easier than ever to get done what you need to get done with your school work so that you can go out and have fun. Laptops, tablets and smartphones have allowed students to be able to bring their school with them wherever they go, allowing for research anytime as well as immediate communication through software like Facebook and Skype.

With increased flexibility, and mobility comes an increase in potential for accidents with your technology as well. It used to be that everything was done on paper and kept safe in your room or dorm, and if you needed a computer you went to the computer lab which would allow you to work, store, and print your documents with ease. The influx of laptops into the college world has introduced new variables to common scenarios that you need to be aware of and watch out for. (more…)

Posted September 04, 2014 by

Don’t Take That Job Unless You Can BYOD

Businesswoman sending a text message on mobile phone

Businesswoman sending a text message on mobile phone. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Not that long ago, we selected which jobs we wanted to apply for based on the type of work we would be asked to do, the salary, and where the office was located. These days, it’s becoming increasingly common for applicants to prefer jobs based on the employer’s bring your own device, or BYOD policy. (more…)

Posted July 21, 2014 by

College Resources in the Digital Age

Woman using e-reader while friends carry books in the background

Woman using e-reader while friends carry books in the background. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

The face of education is undergoing rapid redevelopment as the digital age and academia are beginning to come to terms with the realities of the modern “connected” world. The two forces now rely on one another to offer students a more comprehensive learning system bringing measurable improvement in retention and student grades.

Where teaching faculty once relied primarily on traditional methods that used large lecture halls, students nowadays are directed to the Internet as a primary source of their information. The trend will continue and will in no doubt impact not only the future design of facilities, but also how knowledge is disseminated. (more…)

Posted June 04, 2014 by

5 Tools for Starting a Business Fresh Out of College

Happy female small business owner of a fabric store

Happy female small business owner of a fabric store. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

You’re young and brimming with enthusiasm, ready to take your first steps into the corporate world. But why spend years slaving away under a boss when you can start your own business straight out of college?

Read on to discover some great tools for getting your enterprise off the ground. (more…)

Posted April 19, 2013 by

Only 10% of Fortune 500 Employers Allow Job Seekers to Apply Using Mobile Devices

Mark Mehler and Gerry Crispin of CareerXroads

Mark Mehler and Gerry Crispin of CareerXroads

By Mark Mehler and Gerry Crispin of CareerXroads

Ed Newman, currently at iMomentus, recently published a revised version of how the Fortune 500 is evolving when it comes to adopting mobile recruiting. Focusing on the careers side, he rated factors such as “the existence of a formal mobile-optimized corporate website, a mobile-optimized career section and mobile apply process. Companies were ranked in one of five categories: Front Runner, Early Stage, Treading Water, Toe in the Water and Off the Radar.”

According to Ed, progress has been made in the last six months but “very few companies are taking a comprehensive and strategic approach to ensure a consistent brand experience on the mobile web.” Key findings in the report include: (more…)

Posted November 30, 2012 by

Is your campus Web site ready for mobile? College-bound students are researching colleges via tablets and smart phones

CollegeRecruiter.comMobile is becoming a popular method to research colleges and universities for prospective students.  To find out what this means for higher learning institutions, check out the following post.

Are prospective students going mobile when they search for colleges online? According to the latest E-Expectations data, the answer is increasingly becoming “yes.”

Since the 2010 study, the E-Expectations project has tracked how many prospective students have viewed college Web sites on mobile devices. Those numbers have gone from 23 percent in 2010 and 14 percent in 2011 to 52 percent this year. With more and more students using smart phones and tablets, those numbers will surely increase in the coming years.

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Is your campus Web site ready for mobile? College-bound students are researching colleges via tablets and smart phones

Posted November 06, 2012 by

Pursue Your College Education with a Tablet

Are you constantly on the go, but want to pursue higher learning?  Learn the benefits of continuing your education and using tablets in the following infographic. (more…)