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Posted by on Aug 18, 2011 in Stories | 0 comments

The 9 Best Mobile Apps for College Students

Most students rely heavily on their smartphone for communication, social networking and web browsing.  Many savvy students are discovering that their mobile device can also serve as an academic tool thanks to the wide variety of educational apps that are now available.

by Jenn Pedde
University of Southern California

There are litreally thousands of apps out there and it can be difficult separating the good from the bad, the useful from the useless. Here are some of the most popular and helpful iPhone, Android and Blackberry apps for students.

1. Evernote

Gathering information and taking notes is still one of the primary tasks for students. This app captures, saves and organizes typed text, photos, audio recordings and screenshots. Saved information is automatically indexed and made searchable. It can then be tagged and sorted into virtual notebooks.  Twitter users can even create and save notes as tweets. Evernote is available on the iPhone, Android and Blackberry platforms as well as on Mac and Windows laptops and computers. It can be downloaded free or a premium version (with more storage capability) can be purchased for $45 per year.


Listed as the #1 app for students by U.S. News & World Report, this app includes over 1 million words from’s Dictionary and Thesaurus websites. Audio pronunciation is provided along with example sentences, word origins and word history. The app can be downloaded free of charge for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry devices, and works without an Internet connection.

3. iStudiez Pro

Available on the Apple iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad devices, this award-winning app is a customizable academic planner that helps track classes, assignments, grades and time commitments. For example, if you are taking a rigorous online MBA course, this might help with group projects. For $2.99, student and teachers can use this app to create a personalized schedule that includes icons and color coding. The app is also available in a Mac version that can be synced with mobile devices.


4. CliffsNotes Mobile

The popular Cliffs Notes literature study guides are available as mobile apps for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The content has been reformatted for a smaller screen, providing instant on-the-go access to plot summaries, study plans, practice quizzes and audio CramCasts. A dozen literature titles are currently available with prices ranging from $2.99 to $4.99.

5. Project Gutenberg

The first producer of e-books, Project Gutenberg has offered free e-books since 1971. The site has more than 33,000 digital books available for download to Apple and Android mobile devices as well as PCs and Kindle e-book readers. E-books that are offered are in the public domain and include classic works of literature as well as reference works and back issues of periodicals. In addition to free e-books, the Project Gutenberg website offers free e-book readers and book search apps.

6. Free Wi-Fi Finder

Students studying in coffee shops and bookstores are a common sight in most college towns. Now there’s no reason to stress out over finding an Internet Wi-Fi connection for those study sessions. Jiwire’s Free Wi-Fi Finder app provides a database of over half a million free and paid Wi-Fi hotspots in over 140 countries. This app allows students to search for hotspots anywhere in the world and get directions while either online or offline. It can be downloaded for iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

7. Google Mobile App

This free Google app allows searches to be done from a mobile device using either typing or voice commands. The Google Mobile App is available for Android, iPhone and Blackberry mobile devices. A recently-added Android feature called Google Goggles uses photos to perform searches. For example, a student can take a picture of a book cover, artwork or landmark and search for relevant information using Google’s search engine.

8. Bump

Students can share notes and contact information with this cool app. Bump allows any two mobile devices to exchange data by bumping them together. Messages passed between the devices are encrypted and secure. Bump is available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android devices and will work between any two devices that have the app installed.

9. Mint

Money is a top concern for most students. This iPhone and Android financial management app helps students set up a budget, define goals and track spending. Mint provides a single updated view of all financial accounts: checking, savings and investments. Free advice about how to meet financial goals is also provided. This financial app is endorsed by both The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

In addition to these apps, students with Apple mobile devices can also take advantage of the iTunes U.  This distribution system for educational content provides access to more than 350,000 lectures, films, videos and study guides. More than 400 universities distribute content through iTunes U, including leading institutions like MIT, Yale, Stanford, Oxford and Georgetown. Art museums, libraries and radio stations also post education content that can be downloaded free of charge from iTunes U.

This post is written by Jenn Pedde who is the community manager for the Master in Social Workprogram at the University of Southern California, which has one of the nation’s leading military social work concentrations.  She’s an avid traveler and loves photography.

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