10 Applications to Help Combat the “Back to School Blues”

5 Jul

We have officially passed the ‘unofficial’ midpoint of summer, July 4th, which can only mean one thing…BACK TO SCHOOL! Yeah, anyone under the age of 22 doesn’t want to hear those words; for others, it can’t come soon enough. Whether you are excited or not; these apps will certainly help you transition back into the ‘school season’.

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iPhone

Evernote, as mentioned in my previous blog post will help you organize all of your to-do lists, audio recordings, pictures, and webpages.

However, I found an even awesomer (yes it’s a word) app for $0.99; that’s about 99.5% off retail! The Graphing Calculator app can graph multiple equations and you can even email yourself the results. It will not work in an advanced calculus class, but for those who have to take an introductory class of Calculus or Statistics this will work perfectly. You will most likely be unable to use this for a test, but for homework and classwork it will make your life easier. Who wants to carry that brick of a calulator with them anyways?

iPad

Most Apple Applications can run on iPhones and iPads, but the following are some that are best suited for the iPad’s larger screen:

CourseSmart is another avenue of purchasing your eTextbooks and eResources at deep discounts from the hard copy version. This app also allows you to view your text from your iPad, iPhone, or computer. The program is free; you just pay for your eBook like you normally would. (This application is also available on the Android Market).

This application, Stanza, slightly branches off from CourseSmart. Stanza allows you to download copies of ‘the classics’ that have fallen into the public domain (The Sorrows of Young Werther, The Waste Land, even Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as pictured at right). The texts are free and so is the app. You can also pay to download other, currently copyrighted, readings as well. The iPad’s ability with this app, rivals the Amazon Kindle, since the screen is larger and allows other programs to run as well (such as your music).

QuickOffice is as close to a windows tablet as you can get currently, until the Surface makes its launch. This app is not Office itself, but it allows you to edit documents from those programs. It pulls from your Dropbox or SugarSync folders, let’s you edit them, and then you can send them back to your cloud. You can also bring in Evernote documents. For $9.99 it sounds like a great deal to me!

iAnnotate PDF allows you to take notes, highlight, circle and just about anything else you can think of for $9.99. The price it a little steep, but it has more abilities than I can fit in this post. My favorite aspect is that you can use different highlighter colors depending on the content; also it makes sure you highlight in a straight line, something I seem to be incapable of doing. The app even allows you to add a secondary level of protection on your documents with another password; it also supports iOS data protection and Keychain functions. It will also flatten your files to keep them from being modified at a later time without your knowledge. Similar to Evernote, it also has a search function for all your documents. So you can easily find what you need, when you need it.

Android

I was only able to find one Android specific application ready to help combat the ‘Back to School Blues’; Layar. Layar is pretty epic looking, I must say. This application aggregates information from third party apps, such as Yelp and UrbanSpoon, and layers the information on your screen, as the camera scans your surroundings. You can choose what you are specifically looking for and narrow the results from the 1,500 layers they have in the database. Note: Apple has an app called Layar as well, but it has a different purpose.

There is also an app called Pocket, originally ReaditLater, which is Android’s version of Instapaper, which I explained in my previous post as well.

All Platforms

With the race in smartphone technology never ending, there are many applications that span from the iTunes Store to the Android Market seamlessly. Two of the best are Pageonce and GroupMe.

Pageonce helps you keep track of your bills and where your money is going. You can receive alerts BEFORE your bill is due, keep track of your cash and look how much you have put on your credit card all on one screen (as seen at right). Oh and it’s free! You can even pay your bills from the app for 30 cents, that’s less than a stamp.

Who actually likes group projects? Anyone…anyone? Exactly, but this app can make your life slightly easier when your class takes the “group work is essential to learning…” turn. GroupMe allows you to add all your members phone numbers to one unique number so you can text everyone, by texting that one number. You can also see where your members are through the GPS feature; no more Starbucks stops when you “forgot your papers at home and have to run back”. This app is free as well and will definitely be a timesaver when your group projects start piling up.

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As I write this post, and just about every other writing related thing I do, I have Pandora Radio playing. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I CANNOT work in silence. I have to have music in the background and Pandora is my lifesaver. Late nights writing a paper; Pandora playing through my headphones. Reading Business Law; Pandora kept me sane. I am sure Pandora is not new to most of you, but it sure is a good old standby in terms of music. Pandora is run by the Music Genome Project and has 80,000 artists and over 800,000 tracks. You can create stations based ona genre, a couple singers/bands you like, or one of their preset stations (i.e. Sounds of Summer). A “Thumbs Up” keeps the song on your list, a “Thumbs Down” takes the song off your list forever. You can create a playlist completely tailored to you! Everyone can find music they like on here, and did I mention its free, and you can log into your account anywhere?

Back to ‘that which must not be named’ is on its way, but if we are prepared, we can make it through.

One Response to “10 Applications to Help Combat the “Back to School Blues””

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. College Freshman Survival Guide (Part 2 – How To Get Along With Your Roommate) – So about that whole sharing a room the size of a jail cell thing… « Changing the Way You Work - July 25, 2012

    […] to learn after all, well kinda. Some people need complete silence to study, others, like me, need music to concentrate. No matter what end you are on, you need to be respecting of your roommate’s study […]

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