30 Apps & Programs to Ace College Life

BYU_JugglingFinances: These apps help students stay smart about their money.

  • Mint: Lets you pull information from your financial accounts into one place, then tracks, budgets, and analyzes it all. (Free; iOS, Android, Windows, and Amazon)
  • Level: For those who need daily reminders to stick to their budget, with a quick visualization of exactly how much is left to spend today. (Free; iOS and Android)

Academics: These apps do everything short of doing your homework for you.

  • My Homework: Helps you keep track of class schedules and assignments, make to-do lists and daily plans, and set up reminders. (Free; iOS, Android, and Windows)
  • Khan Academy: Dive into any subject under the sun with straightforward instructional videos and training exercises. (Free; iOS)
  • gFlash: Download or create your own flashcards and pick from a variety of study modes, like a matching game. (Free; iOS, Android, and Amazon)

Food: These podcasts make great listening during dinner prep.

  • America’s Test Kitchen: Like ATK’s show and cookbooks, the podcast delivers foolproof recipes, answers listener’s cooking questions, and chats about food trends and history.
  • Things Cooks Know: Real Simple magazine editors offer, well, simple tips on making the most of staples, saving time in the kitchen, and tackling everyday quandaries.

Mental Health: These apps help you practice meditation, which research has shown to yield reduced depressive symptoms, better memory and attention, and more adaptive responses to stressful situations.

  • Stop, Breathe & Think: Select descriptions of how you are feeling, then get a customized list of guided meditations, which you can choose by category and length. (Free; iOS and Android)
  • Calm: Learn the basics of mindfulness with a variety of guided meditations, while nature sounds and scenery offer an extra-soothing effect. (Free; iOS and Android)
  • Headspace: Exercises focus on health, performance, and relationships, and you can track your progress with stats, connect with friends, and earn rewards. (Free for ten days, $12.99/month subscription; iOS, Android, and Amazon)

(Keep in mind: Meditation is not a replacement for consulting a professional therapist if you’re experiencing symptoms of a mental illness.)

Physical Health: Exercise boosts your muscles and mind. With the American College of Sports Medicine’s guidelines for a complete workout, many free apps don’t make the cut, but these apps received top scores.

  • Sworkit: Allows you to customize workouts to your needs and goals, and combines interval training with randomized exercises to maximize the effectiveness of each workout. (Free for Lite, $3.99 for Pro; iOS, Android, and Amazon)
  • The 7 Minute Workout: This simple workout was designed by scientists to give all the fitness benefits of a much longer endurance training session, condensed into seven minutes. (Free; iOS)
  • StrongLifts 5×5: Three 45-minute workouts, three times a week aimed at getting stronger, building muscle, and burning fat. (Free; iOS and Android)

Housekeeping: Don’t neglect housekeeping of your digital world, too. Keep files and online accounts tidy with these services.

  • File backup: It’s worth five bucks a month to avoid losing that twenty-page paper when your laptop crashes. Options include iCloud for Mac, OneDrive for Microsoft, Mozy, and Backblaze. Most offer free storage for around 10 GB and paid plans for more storage.
  • Password management: Despite headline-making hacks, “123456” and “password” still top yearly lists of common passwords (gulp). Be smart and use complex passwords, and keep track of them with a service like SplashID, LastPass, DashLane, KeePass, or 1Password.
  • File sharing: Google Docs and Google Drive are musts for collaborating on team projects, and Dropbox is the go-to file-sharing service.
  • Email cleanup: Don’t let your inbox eat into study time. Unsubscribe from unwanted email newsletters in one fell swoop with me.
  • Distractions: If social media is too tempting during study time, turn off all notifications on your phone and use a temporary site blocker, like the Block Site extension on Firefox.

Roommates: No one likes when a roommate neglects dish duty, but no one likes being the nag either. These slickly designed apps make the nagging part less odious for everyone.

  • HomeSlice: Discuss from the start how roommates will divide household chores, grocery shopping, and bills—then use this app to keep everyone accountable, with shared lists and reminders. (Free; iOS and Android)
  • Venmo: Don’t hassle the waiter to split the tab—use this app to send and request money with anyone (even if they don’t have the app). (Free; iOS and Android)
  • SimplyNoise: Speak up if your roommate needs to turn the volume down, but if even ordinary noise is distracting you from studying, this app provides the perfect lineup of white, brown, and pink noise. ($0.99; iOS and Android)

Read “The Ultimate College-Skills Crash Course” in the Summer 2016 issue of Marriott Alumni Magazine to learn more about helping your to-be freshman ace college life.

—Holly Munson