Ten Top Apps for New and Returning Students
September is nearing its end, and with October comes crisp breezes, the crunch of leaves underfoot, and – for many – the removal of the rose-coloured University glasses. The infamous Fresher’s Week signifies new friendships, new-found freedom, and the excitement of finally starting a course that you have been looking forward to for years. However, for many new and returning students, the excitement can quickly wear thin, so we at Athena Tuition have put our heads together to find ten of the best apps around for students, to help you through when things get a bit gloomy.
- RefMe (available on the web, iOS, and Android): For Working
RefMe is an incredible free app to assist students with referencing essays. For many, referencing to a certain set of (very strict) guidelines can be a daunting new process, but with RefMe the hard work is done for you. Simply scan the barcode of a book or journal (or search by title, DOI, ISBN, or ISSN if using the web application), select your citation style, and RefMe will create a full reference for you. The app is particularly useful for when you’re trawling through the library and want to scan a barcode and store the book in the app library to come back to at a later point. The app takes away some of the stress, ensuring you’re less likely to lose precious marks over a misplaced comma in your reference, and allowing you to focus on nailing your essay.
- MealBoard (available for iPhone and iPad): For Living
When people think of University students, one of the unfortunate images that often comes to mind is of beige-coloured, nutrient-devoid food. Often, students arrive at University having rarely needed to prepare their own meals in the past and can, as a result, feel lost or uninspired, and end up resorting to beans on toast or a Pot Moodle. MealBoard combines recipes, meal planning, and grocery management in one app: by entering the items that you have available in your fridge and cupboard, the app can offer recipe ideas. You can also plan your meals for the week, sync between devices, and keep on top of how much you spend on food. Particularly when stressed and staring down the barrel of a three-assignment-gun, this app could be a lifesaver. Put the Pot Noodle down!
- GoConqr (available on iOS or Android): For Working
GoConqr is a free app designed to help you study, stay organised, and share items and collaborate with groups. There are many elements to the app, so that there is assistance available for every form of learner. You can either browse existing resources, or create your own; for example, you can create your own mind maps, quizzes, flash-cards, and notes. The app also features a built in calendar and planner to help you keep on top of lectures and assignments. Why have separate apps for planners and revision, when this app combines everything in one?
- Scanner Pro (available on iOS): For Working
Fairly self-explanatory, Scanner Pro is an app that allows you to quickly scan and save a digital version of a paper document. If you’re particularly eco-conscious (or you just hate having piles of paper everywhere), this app will allow you to edge your way closer to a paperless life. The app can scan anything from multi-page documents to a tiny receipt, automatically detecting borders and correcting any blurs, distortions, or symmetry issues. It may cost £3.99, but for a scanner that you can fit in your pocket we think that’s a bargain.
- Brain in Hand (available on iOS and Android): For Health
Designed to help those with Autism in particular, Brain is Hand is an assistive technology, based on CBT, solution focussed therapy and recovery based rehabilitation, giving users more confidence to work independently. Key features of the app include: a diary and “routine recipes” to help users remember the best way to tackle a particular task; access to coping strategies which are based on answers the user provides when installing the app; an anxiety monitor; a text alert system which send a message to a person of your choice when you urgently need to discuss something with them; and access to a secure site where you can review how you have been doing. The app opens up pathways for students who may struggle more than others, and can help build up their confidence in new situations.
- 7 Minute Workout: Seven (available on iOS devices): For Health
If you’re struggling with your new work-laden routine, can’t afford a gym membership, or simply hate exercising in public, this app is ideal. The premise is simple: take seven minutes out of your day to exercise, follow the app’s instructions, and monitor your progress. University can be a wonderful time of exploration, but often it is easy to spend so much time in a darkened library that exercise becomes a thing of the past. However, with Seven you are reminded every day to get up and going for just seven minutes, increase your heartbeat, clear your mind, and move. With over twenty million downloads, it must be doing something right!
- Foursquare (available on iOS and Android): For Living
If you have moved away from your hometown for University, you would be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed by the hundreds of new options on offer. Some people are happy to embrace the new, and try new places to see what works for them, but others are happier when they have suggestions tailored to their personal tastes and needs: that’s where Foursquare comes in. The app suggests restaurants, bars, cafes, and attractions based on your tastes and requirements (“a quiet café with plug points” for example). With a huge collection of tips created by other users, you’re in safe hands and can feel more confident when making your new city your new home.
- Moovit (available on web, iOS and Android): For Living
Moovit is a free app that helps you to, well, move it. Designed to help you navigate the public transportation systems in a wide range of cities and towns, Moovit makes it easier than ever to get from A to B. Moovit has over 80 million users, and is active in over 1500 cities. Its widespread appeal is testament to its ability to offer peace of mind, easy-to-navigate applications, and clear maps and directions. For students who are struggling with navigating a new city, and trying to get to a lecture in time whilst juggling a dozen bus timetables, Moovit is a blessing. It offers detailed itineraries, real time status, service alerts, alerts for when you need to get off your stop, and also stores your favourite locations.
- Monzo (available on iOS and Android): For Spending
Monzo has been at the receiving end of a lot of positive reviews recently, and it is becoming an increasingly popular way for students to monitor their spending. Monzo calls itself ‘the bank of the future’, and it’s easy to see why: this is personalised banking at its best, and all built for your smartphone. Every time you make a payment, Monzo sends you an alert and instantly updates your balance (so no more panicking when delayed payments suddenly cripple your balance). Monzo is the ideal banking app for students who are struggling with keeping a close eye on their finances, and it even offers budget breakdowns – where you can set targets for each category, such as transport and holidays – so that it is easier than ever to keep track of spending. Could this be the best way ever to avoid relying on the “bank of Mum and Dad”? We think it might be!
- Headspace (available on iOS and Android): For Health
University is an exciting time, but all too often students are left feeling isolated, anxious, and crippled by pressure and expectation. Headspace is a free app that requires a few minutes of quiet reflection and meditation each day from users, and promises in return to relieve stress, keep you focused, and boost compassion. The app comes loaded with hundreds of themed exercises (anything from self-esteem to sleep), each designed to slot neatly into busy schedules. The straightforward exercises encourage users to learn the basics of good breathing and visualisation, and you are given daily reminders to relax and focus on what’s important.
With countless apps available, it is difficult to narrow the options down to ten apps that we at Athena Tuition think will be most beneficial to students, but what we do think is key is a careful balance between your work, mental and physical health, and general lifestyle.
If you have had great success with these – or any other – apps, please do get in touch to let us know! You can reach Athena Tuition on firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us on 0208 133 6284. We’d love to hear your thoughts! Happy app-ing, and we hope this coming academic year is full of success for you all.
Image Source: https://cdn.studentloanhero.com/wp-content/uploads/best-budgeting-apps-1-640×304.jpg – accessed 27/09/2017