8 Free Back-to-School Apps for Students

Get through the school year with these great apps

Summer never lasts long enough for kids, and it can be a stressful time to get everything in order so that students have new clothes, school supplies, dorm stuff, and...back-to-school apps?

It's a fairly recent trend, but yes, even the youngest of students can benefit from the wide range of mobile apps that are available today for both smartphones and tablets. Perhaps one day, even all textbooks will come in app format.

Here are nine apps for every primary, high school, and even college student in your family to check out that are productive and not just full of jokes and memes about school.

And because it's pretty common sense that students don't have much of a budget to work with, you can download all of these apps for free (with many offering upgrade options for a small fee).

of 08

MyHomework: Replace Your Traditional School Planner

What We Like
  • Great for block scheduling and classes that don't meet every day.

  • Assignment notifications.

What We Don't Like
  • Cannot search for specific assignments.

  • Limited integration options outside of the Apple family.

Remember when calendar planners were popular at school? Well, now students can take all their homework and schedule planning to the digital world with the myHomework app.

Not only is it incredibly powerful and intuitive to use, but it also features beautiful layouts for both smartphones and tablets. With the free version, students can track their assignments, get due date reminders, receive rewards for completing homework, and more.

For a small upgrade of $4.99, students can enjoy an ad-free app experience while gaining access to more theme options, a file attachment feature, enhanced app widgets, and external calendar access.

Download For:

of 08

Quizlet: Quiz Yourself on Your Knowledge

What We Like
  • Resources are available in dozens of languages.

  • Includes helpful tools for teachers and parents.

What We Don't Like
  • Study guide templates aren't ideal for complex subjects.

  • Information isn't fact checked; some guides contain errors.

Similar to StudyBlue, Quizlet is designed to make studying as easy, fun, and effective as possible. You can create your own study materials (flashcards, tests, games) or browse through its vast library of materials created by other users.

For those who struggle with the old-fashioned textbook study strategy, Quizlet proves to be an ideal alternative for the fact that it supercharges the learning experience with both audio and video components. There's even an offline study feature that lets students use the app while they're on the go with no internet connection.

Download For:

of 08

Dictionary.com: Perfect Your Spelling and Vocabularly

What We Like
  • Decent voice search capability.

  • Suggests synonyms and antonyms for words.

What We Don't Like
  • Cannot increase the text size.

  • Features intrusive video ads.

Essay writing got you down? You’ll probably need a good dictionary and thesaurus to get the job done faster, and lucky for you this app has both rolled into one.

You get access to over two million words and can even use the “Word of the Day” feature to improve your vocabulary. These apps even work offline, so you can rest easy knowing you can look any word up without an Internet connection.

Download For:

of 08

EasyBib: Cite Sources Easily and Fast

EasyBib website
What We Like
  • Retrieve reference information about books and websites.

  • Guides that teach how to cite sources independently.

What We Don't Like
  • Free version includes distracting ads.

  • Need a premium account to create automatic APA citations.

How much do you love writing bibliographies for all your essay assignments? Probably not very much.

EasyBib seeks to take as much pain and suffering out of that task as possible but providing students with a free tool to generation citations. Automatically generate and export your citations from 56 different sources in over 7,000 styles.

Imagine how much time you'll save!

EasyBib is accessible from its online site EasyBib.com.

of 08

Evernote: Organize Your Notes and Collaborate With Group Members

What We Like
  • Powerful search features.

  • Supports fast syncing across multiple devices.

What We Don't Like
  • Limited free features.

  • Premium plan may be too expensive for students.

Evernote is one of the most popular productivity tools used today. It’s perfect for busy students that need to organize homework with work and social events.

You can organize all of your notes, sound files, photos, email messages and so much more in a way that can be easily accessed any time you want, from any device. It has a unique tagging system to help identify everything, which is what makes it such an ideal organization tool and even lets you collaborate with other Evernote users—making it ideal for group projects.

Download For:

of 08

Penultimate: Take Digital Notes on Your iPad

What We Like
  • Seamlessly integrates with Dropbox and Evernote.

  • Streamlined interface looks just like a real paper notebook.

What We Don't Like
  • No way to adjust the eraser size.

  • Handwriting search feature is unreliable.

Claiming to be the best digital note-taking app for the iPad, this is a wonderful app for students who need to write everything they learn in class down in extreme detail. You may never need another paper notebook again when you use it.

Part of Evernote, the app is designed only for the iPad only at this moment so iPhone and Android users may have to stick with the old-fashioned notebook and pen for now. You can use your finger or purchase an iPad pressure instrument to write and scribble down notes or diagrams.

Download For:

of 08

Google Drive: Store All Your Files in One Place

What We Like
  • Facilitates painless desktop-to-desktop file syncing.

  • Supports hundreds of third-party integrations.

What We Don't Like
  • Productivity software offers less features than Microsoft 365. 

  • No way to password protect individual folders.

Cloud storage is a savior for students, allowing them to share stuff with group members while keeping files updated for access across several devices. And of course, it's the ultimate solution to avoid losing work in the event of a computer crash.

Everyone uses Google, so Google Drive will keep all your stuff safely tucked away in the cloud for you. In fact, you get 15 GB of free storage when you sign up for a Google Drive account, so you'll get one of the best cloud storage offerings available now for free.

Keep in mind, however, that your Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, Forms, Jamboard files, Google Photos, and Gmail messages all will be competing for that 15 GB of storage.

Download For:

of 08

IFTTT: Automate Tasks to Save You Time and Energy

What We Like
  • Compatible with a wide range of apps and online services.

  • Impressive support for IoT devices and voice assistants.

What We Don't Like
  • No option to create multistep applets.

  • Organizational tools are a little lacking.

Once you start using IFTTT, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it. Lots of people use it to cross-post the same content on their social channels, but students can create trigger actions for all sorts of other academic and student life purposes.

Get automatic weather updates via email to prepare for that college football game, auto-generate new notes in Evernote from your Speak notes you took in lecture classes, or turn your Google Calendar events into Todoist tasks.

It also offers an additional suite of apps worth checking out for more specific actions.

Download for:

Was this page helpful?