Back to School Apps That Save Students Money

Books, computers, school supplies -- that's a lot for students to think about and keep track of as they head back to school. Whether students are returning or entering college for the first time, or just heading back to middle school or high school, they will likely meet distractions that challenge their ability to master their schedule and stay on track.

But getting ready for school doesn't mean having to go out and buy a ton of school gadgets anymore. Yes, you might need to get a new laptop, tablet or phone, but you can forget about the planners, alarm clocks and even the college-ruled notebook with a set of really good apps. Here you'll find a list of our must-have apps to help students -- or anyone with a busy life -- stay afloat.

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1. Any.Do

First, you can toss the planner. Any.Do allows users to create, keep track of and check off al those important items that need action. To use the app effectively, grant Any.Do access to your calendar and contacts list. From there, swipe "Tomorrow" to begin adding items to your task list. Once you enter a to-do item, the app displays another row of tiny buttons to further customize your list. Set up a reminder by tapping the bell icon, or include people from your contacts for shared projects, for example.

When you hold your phone vertically, you can view your tasks as a cascading list broken into "Today," "Tomorrow," "Upcoming" or "Someday." The app's simple interface combined with its gesture enhanced feature list and a few other nifty customizable options makes Any.Do a must-have app for managing your day-to-day, even if it means reminding you of midterms and finals. (Free; Android, iOS)

2. Alarm Clock Apps

Yes, phones have built in alarms, but if you're headed to college you'll likely need a snooze-button with some extra kick. You know what we mean.

Dance Alarm Clock

Dance Alarm takes forcing you out of bed in time one-step further: The app is motion activated, meaning it won't stop until it senses you are moving. The app syncs with your iTunes library and allows you to customize the background with some basic features such as a Disco Ball or a Color Strobe, and create a customized completion message. Dance Alarm won't impress you with it's elegant interface, but that's not the point. The app's primary function is to get you out of bed on time, and in this way it not only does that but provides pure fun too. ($0.99; iOS)


For Android users, there are some creative options too, but Timely is attractive and packed with features. There are a few themes to choose from, and a Smart Rise feature starts with a slow, fading alarm sound to prepare you for waking up before you actually have to jump out of bed. You can also snooze by flipping your phone over and change the size of the snooze button if you prefer to smack it with your hand. (Free; Android)

3. iHomework

Staying on top of assignments, exam schedules and all those reading lists can prove a challenge. iHomework assists you in keeping all the information organized, accurate and up-to-date. Choose from a row of buttons on the bottom of the screen to add course information, reminders and details about your professor.

From the "work" tab, set up details about assignments, such as due dates, add partners to group projects from your contacts list and keep track of your grades. iHomework integrates with Questia, an online research library, providing students with quick access to reading materials for all of those major projects. The app provides a syncing option, too, making it easy for students to seamlessly tap into the information they collect across their portable devices, such as their iPhone or iPod, and their desktop. ($1.99; iOS)

4. Evernote

Evernote means never having to lose your notes or notebook again. The app, which is available for almost every platform -- iOS, Android, Windows Phone and the Web -- provides users with a set of options when it comes to taking notes, and syncs your notes across devices.

Users can draft essays and outlines, sketch out ideas and create and complete worksheets. With the app you can also paste in diagrams and images to create study guides, and then easily share them with friends. (Free; iOS, Windows Phone, Android)

5. Kno

Yes, textbooks are also on their way out. Apple has iBooks and Google has textbooks through its Google Play Store, but Kno may offer some of the best tools for taking notes and digging in to your digital books.

Kno has worked with textbook makers to make textbooks more interactive with 3-D models and videos, and has also added some functionality such as automatic Flashcards and collaborative tools. The Flashcards function is particularly cool. It generates such study tools as cards and a test tied to the content in the chapter. And because many teachers now share PDFs and other course material, Kno lets you import them into the app. (Free for app; iOS, Android)

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