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Phoenix Forward magazine

5 of the best apps for college students

Apps nowadays do everything from reminding you about school assignments to saving your written work in one central location that’s accessible from any Internet-enabled device. But with more than 1 million apps in Apple’s App Store™ online marketplace alone, how do you figure out which ones are worth your time — and money?

Here, Treg Gardner, an IT specialist who teaches in the University of Phoenix® A+ Fundamentals and Network+ Technologies certificate programs, describes five of the best mobile apps for college students:

iHomework icon


iOS® devices, $1.99

While every course you take will provide an electronic version of your syllabus that lays out your assignments and when they’re due, it’s up to you to remember that information — and the iHomework® app can help. “It lets you organize classes and set up alerts for upcoming assignments,” Gardner notes.

He adds that getting reminders of assignments that are coming due without having to consult your electronic syllabus is the app’s main advantage. He advises inputting all of your assignments at once. “If you do it on a week-to-week basis,” he points out, “you might forget.”

Khan Academy

iOS/Android™ devices, free

Need an algebra refresher? Want to learn a little bit more about endocrinology? The Khan Academy® website “has video instruction on an array of topics,” Gardner says. The free companion app gives you on-the-go access to most of the site’s content, so you can get help with a difficult concept in your coursework even when you’re away from your computer.

Gardner notes that you can find video tutorials on everything from cellular respiration to the art of the Age of Enlightenment. And although he acknowledges that instructors in the videos tend to talk fast, you can always pause or rewind.

OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive)

iOS/Android devices, free

Cloud-based storage, which allows your data to be saved on a number of virtual servers most often hosted by third parties and accessible from multiple locations, has made USB thumb drives almost obsolete. While Dropbox® software provides one of the most popular choices, you also can consider Microsoft’s OneDrive® service, Google Drive™ storage or other options.

“If you have the latest version of Microsoft® Office, you can save your documents directly to [OneDrive] and access them everywhere,” Gardner points out.

Like all cloud storage services, OneDrive app’s main benefit is disaster recovery. “If your computer crashes, you don’t have to worry about losing your paper,” he says.


iOS devices, $9.99

The price may seem hefty when the average cost for a mobile app is about a dollar — and the computer software itself costs $113.95 for the student version — but this is one app you’ll get a lot of mileage out of, according to Gardner. The EndNote® app “is a reference manager that catalogs and stores APA [Style®]-formatted references for papers you’ve written online, so you can pull them up in your mobile device,” he says.

Besides saving you from doing formatting — a University of Phoenix requirement for most written assignments — this app also keeps PDF copies of the documents you’re quoting, including your digital textbooks. There’s no limit to the amount of information you can store, Gardner points out. “I have five years’ worth of references stored in EndNote,” he points out.

The app also integrates with the resources available in the University library so that including a reference in your paper is often as simple as highlighting the text you want to quote and pushing a button. “All you have to do is click Export to Citation Manager, and EndNote handles the rest,” Gardner says.

University of Phoenix

iOS/Android devices, free

If you’re a University Phoenix student, this app is essentially the eCampus website in the palm of your hand. “One thing I like about the app is that it lets students have access to their courses no matter where they are,” Gardner points out, adding that you can use it to do things like check your grades or see if your instructors have responded to questions you’ve asked.

While the app can come in handy if you must write a post in an emergency or if you need to meet course participation requirements for the week, typing a lot of words on your phone can be cumbersome. “It’s more of a planning aid,” Gardner says, noting that he tells students to use it to stay informed about important things and then follow up at home.

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App Store is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
iOS is a registered trademark of Cisco Systems Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and certain other countries.
iHomework is a registered trademark of Pilone, Paul G.
Android and Google Drive are trademarks of Google Inc.
Khan Academy is a registered trademark of Khan Academy Inc.
Dropbox is a registered trademark of Dropbox Inc.
OneDrive and Microsoft Office are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corp.
EndNote is a registered trademark of Thomson Reuters Inc.
APA Style is a registered trademark of American Psychological Association.