Some apps and tools are obvious for the college student—a sturdy laptop, Google Calendar, a handful of flash drives—but what other apps and tech tools could be helping make your life easier this semester? We’ve rounded up 14 of our favorite gadgets and the best apps for students —some new, some not, all tried-and-tested—to give you a leg up this school year.
1. Skyroam Solis WiFi Hotspot
The ultimate tech must-have for students? WiFi. Whether you’re uploading pics of your latest adventures to Instagram or buckling down for a major study session, you need WiFi for pretty much all of it. Skyroam is making it easier than ever to get WiFi literally wherever you are with their pocket-sized WiFi hotspots. Get WiFi coverage in 130+ countries with flexible plans that give you WiFi whenever you need it (and never when you don’t). Plus, connect multiple devices to your hotspot. Travel often or need a WiFi upgrade? Try out the brand-new Skyroam Solis X, that also includes a charging power bank and can connect to 10 devices at once.
Thinking about snagging your own WiFi hotspot? We’ve got a discount for you—use code STUDENTU20 when checking out and get an extra 20% off Skyroam’s original Solis device.
2. Noise-cancelling headphones
Block out distractions with a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Whether it’s construction happening outside your dorm building while you’re trying to study for a big test or just someone chewing loudly on the other side of the library, noise-cancelling headphones can help you stay focused. While they can be quite pricey, Amazon has several great options for under $200.
3. Distraction-blocking apps
Speaking of blocking out distractions, getting an app for your phone or computer that blocks distracting websites can be a lifesaver when you have a 10-page paper due the next morning. Eliminate 2am Netflix binge sessions or endless scrolling through Instagram. Thankfully, there’s plenty of these apps to choose from. ColdTurkey is a great option, although they only have a Windows version right now. For Macs, try SelfControl.
Wunderlist is the ultimate to-do app. This is honestly one of the best apps for students with too much on your to-do list! Organize all your to-do’s in one place, sort them into folders, set reminders and due dates, share them with group members or friends, add comments and discussions and, best of all, access them any time, on any device.
There’s basically no notes app that does it all like Evernote. Capture and organize your notes, lists, projects and ideas in one space, search by keywords across all of your notebooks, share your notes with teammates or group members, save things from around the web or import your own screenshots, images and PDFs and access it all on any device.
Love Evernote already? Take it to the next level with Moleskine’s Evernote notebook—take notes on paper, snap a pic of them with the Evernote app, and it’ll automatically digitize them and add them to your Evernote. Plus, they’ll be searchable with the rest of your notes in Evernote.
6. Chegg Books
Tired of spending hundreds of dollars on textbooks every semester? One of the best apps for students is the Chegg app, where you can rent or buy books at a fraction of the cost. Plus, Chegg offers free returns within 3 weeks (perfect for if you switch classes or if a professor changes textbooks at the last minute) and free shipping for returning your rentals at the end of the semester. Have books to sell? Chegg will buy back your books, regardless of where you bought them.
7. Google Drive
If you’re not regularly backing up your work and your laptop, we’ll say it again for you: back. up. your. laptops. regularly! All it takes is one system crash or Microsoft Word reboot to lose an entire paper—or worse, an entire month or semester’s worth of assignments—and you’ll learn the hard way to keep your files backed up. Take it from us and keep things backed up on the reg. Google Drive is a great way to do so—you can create auto-backups, get loads of free storage space, can access all of your files from any device and can create and share documents right within the platform.
8. An external hard drive
Need a faster (and simpler) way to back up your computer besides uploading everything to Google Drive? A portable external hard drive is a must. Like we said, there’s nothing worse than losing a semester’s-worth of work in a computer malfunction. We like these affordable external hard drives that give you up to 4 TB (yeah, that’s tetrabytes) of space and will keep everything safe and secure.
College can be stressful. Headspace can help you chill out. The free trial guides you through daily meditations and afterwards, you can purchase a monthly subscription to access the entire Headspace database. There’s meditations for sleeping, stress relief, running, to help you focus and more! Need five minutes to just give your brain a break? Headspace has your back.
Whether you’re studying multivariable calculus, chemical reactions or statistics, work through calculations and get step-by-step solutions on Wolfram|Alpha. Get questions answered and perform computations, plus search their extensive knowledge base of pretty much any subject, from history to life sciences to astronomy.
Late-night study sesh or just have some serious munchies? Grubhub is a must for college students—it’ll help you get food delivered from local restaurants and cafes anytime. Whether you need a full meal or just a midnight ice cream sandwich, the Grubhub app’s got you covered. You can even order food in advance to be delivered at a certain time, so you’ll be all set for finals week cravings. Plus, you can get free delivery off your first two orders of $10+ for a limited time only with code STUDENTGF!
12. Battery-charging phone case (or portable charger)
Tired of hitting the dreaded 1% during busy days or off-campus exploring? Invest in a charging phone case that’ll keep your phone going as long as you do. You can find ultra-slim cases with battery chargers on Amazon for about $30, or just grab a pocket-sized portable charger that you can throw in your backpack. Either way, you’ll never have to worry about running out of power again.
Heading to college can mean handling your finances on your own for the first time—and being faced with more expenses than before. Mint is a super user-friendly app that’ll help you stay on top of what money is coming in and going out. Link it securely to cards and/or bank accounts and you’ll be able to track your spending, set up spending limits in different categories and get alerts if you’re over-budget.
Would this list really be complete if we forgot to add our own app to it? (The answer is no.) Search for cheap flights and hotels on the go with the Flights by StudentUniverse app. Now you can buy your next flights before you’re even back from vacation. Plus, access trip details on-the-go and get access to app-only sales and promo codes.
Whether you’re heading back to school or around the world, get access to all the best flight discounts at your fingertips.