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We all know social media, TV, and texting can be distracting for students, but instead of pushing back on technology, why not use it to your academic benefit? There are plenty of apps and settings out there that help you take notes more efficiently and keep track of your assignments. 

If you prefer good-old-fashioned pen and paper, that’s perfectly fine. But if having reminders, technological features, and a more compact place to keep all of these notes, dates, study guides, and flashcards is helpful for you, the right apps will make the process a breeze. Download these helpful apps to your phone, tablet, or laptop–or all of the above–and go into the school year ready to work smarter.

Notetaking Apps

1. Evernote

Use: Evernote uses a cloud system to store all of your notes, files, recordings, and photos. The app allows you to organize these notes and other materials into categories. You can also share notes with others.


  • Basic: Free
  • Plus: $3.99 per month or $34.99 per year
  • Premium: $7.99 per month or $69.99 per year

*Students get 50% off premium

  • Business: $14.99 per user per month

Where you can get it: Apple Store, Google Play, Microsoft Store  

“I use Evernote as a centralized place to track notes for different projects I’m working on. It has a sleek user experience that allows me to edit and share notes on the go.” – Scott Mann, University of Illinois graduate

2. Bear

Use: Bear is great for students who need a place to store more extensive, long-form notes. Organization is unique in that you can use tags (#) to group your notes and the double bracket sign ([[) to link notes. There are several other similar features. The format is especially helpful for students who are in computer and engineering majors, as there are HTML/code-friendly features.


  • Basic: Free
  • Bear Pro: $1.49 monthly or $14.99 annually

Where you can get it: Apple Store

3. OneNote

Use: OneNote comes with all the features of a standard notetaking app, including organizational features, tagging capabilities, file adding, and the ability to share your notes. But the major bonus to OneNote is that you can customize your notes with text boxes and a drawing function. This is great for students in creative/art majors, math and science students who need to draw out equations, and general doodlers. 

Price: Free. Yep, all of it.

Where you can get it: Google Play, Apple Store, Microsoft Store, or download directly from OneNote.com (already installed on Windows 10)

Planner and Schedule Organizing Apps

1. Trello

Use: Originally built for the workplace, Trello has also proven to be great for students! Trello allows you to set up boards for different “projects.” These projects can be classes, personal commitments, clubs or other activities, and major school assignments. Then, organize your workflow with to-do lists, in-progress cards, and complete cards. You can also share projects with people, which is great for group projects. 


  • Basic: Free
  • Business Class: $9.99 per month

Where you can get it: Google Play, Apple Store, Microsoft Store, or sign up directly on Trello.com

“I use Trello to organize my life and make sure I don’t drop the ball on anything, work-related or personally.” – MacKenzie Mantsch, University of Denver graduate

2. myHomework Student Planner

Use: myHomework Student Planner uses a classic calendar layout that allows you to add items. The app is specifically geared towards students as you can organize items under the tabs “class,” “priority,” and “type.” Notify yourself of due dates, homework assignments, and tests, and color code based on the type of item entered. This app is especially great for college students, as it allows you to enter classes that occur every other day rather than every day.


  • Basic: Free
  • Premium: $4.99 per year

Where you can get it: Google Play, Apple Store, Microsoft Store, Chrome Web Store, and Kindle Fire

3. Class Timetable

Use: If you’re looking for a simple, easy-to-use format, this is your schedule app. The main screen shows your classes for the day, and there is a separate “tasks” tab where you can enter assignments and due dates.


  • Basic: Free
  • Pro: $0.99 upgrade

Where you can get it: Apple store, Google Play

Other Helpful Apps

1. Droplr

Use: Screenshot and screencast everything on your computer, and quickly transfer files. This is helpful for group projects, classes where you need to present demonstrations, video classes, and much more. Droplr is a simple download that you can add to your web browser, or download Droplr to your desktop so you can share screenshots, screencasts, and files with classmates.

Price: $2.99 per month

Where you can get it: Download directly from Droplr.com

“With Droplr, you can capture anything with just one click. It’s the easiest and fastest way for students like you to share online.” – Nicolas Weiser, CEO of Droplr.

*Disclosure: Peterson’s is a parent company of Droplr.

2. SelfControl

Use: If you have trouble focusing on homework and assignments due to social media, emails, and other distracting websites, you will want to download SelfControl. SelfControl is an iOS app that allows you to blacklist certain websites, then set a timer. During this time, you won’t be able to access these websites. But be warned, this app really forces your self control as you can’t access these sites during the time you set no matter what–even if you restart your computer or delete the app.

Price: Free

Where you can get it: Apple Store, or download Chrome extension

See also: The Best College Student Discounts. EVER.