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Apps to Help College Students - Quicken Loans Zing BlogImagine you’re a college freshman (some of you may actually be there). It’s your first time away from home, and there’s so much that’s new and different. For the first time, you may be in charge of budgeting, study habits and when to wake up.

That can be a lot of responsibility all at once. Fortunately, you can use the technology in the palm of your hand to help. Here are some apps to help you make sense of it all.


Let’s start with the almighty dollar. Here’s how you can make it and keep track of how much you have.

Make Money

Campus Commandos, available for iOS and Android, is an app that allows brands pay students for completing tasks that help with brand marketing. These can be assignments designed to drive online traffic, distribute samples or gather information on brand perception. Brands set the price they’re willing to pay for task completion. Participating companies include L’Oreal, HTC and HP.

Track Your Money

I recommend downloading the app for your bank. Many of these apps allow you to quickly and easily transfer funds between accounts or people, and also deposit checks from the camera on your phone. This type of thing can be very handy when you may not get to your home bank branch for a while.

Mint allows you to track the performance of multiple accounts in one free, cross-platform app. You can track everything from your checking account to your 401(k).

College students don’t usually have multiple accounts, so why mention it? Mint also has an excellent tool for categorizing and budgeting your expenses.


Now that you have money to help pay for college, it’s time to study up. Here are some apps to help you get through all those classes.

University Resources

You may consider it a given that the school lets you check your email and access other services on the computer. Some universities allow you to pay your bill, register for classes, check your grades and access class portals right from your mobile phone.

Services will vary depending on where you go to school, but it’s definitely worth checking into.

End the Distractions

The basic idea here is that you’ll get more work done in less time if you’re not distracted by sites like Facebook and Twitter. These apps go about accomplishing that goal in a couple of different ways.

Cold Turkey works by letting you block certain websites for a specified period of time. In this way, you can avoid going down a web rabbit hole and just get work done. The basic application is free and works on Windows installations XP and newer. For $10, you can add the ability to block applications as well.

If you’re on a Mac, SelfControl is a free, open-source program that provides the same Internet blocking functionality as Cold Turkey.

If individual site blocking doesn’t go far enough in your case, try Freedom. This cross-platform application allows you to get work done by putting your Internet connection under lock and key for a specified period of time. If for some reason you really need to communicate with the outside world, you just reboot your computer. Because it shuts off all access, you might not want to use this when writing a research paper. I might finally be able to get that novel done though.

Hit the Books

There’s always one class where the professor assigns four or five books. Not only do you have to shell out the money for them, but then you have to take them all to class. Both Amazon and Chegg offer e-textbooks for purchase or rent if you want to save your back. If you prefer the feel of pages in your hand, physical books are available for purchase or rent as well.

Remember when you were little and you used to make flashcards? Maybe you’re still using them. StudyBlue is the digital version of this studying staple. This iOS and Android app allows you to not only make cards, but also access cards created by other users. If you prefer a more curated experience, the company offers in-app purchases of study guides on a variety of subjects and topics.

Access Your Files Anywhere

College might mean having to access your files from a variety of locations on shared computers. Solutions like Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive allow you to access your files anywhere. They all offer a certain amount of free storage before you have to move up to a paid tier. This is also a good way to back up important files cheaply.

Survive Lecture

Professors have a tendency to write on the whiteboard at a pace of a million miles a minute. Inevitably, the notes get erased before you’re done writing them down. OneNote and Evernote are cross-platform note-taking solutions that can help with this problem. For starters, a lot of people type faster than they handwrite. There are versions of these applications for pretty much any current platform you can think of. Your notes stay synced across devices.

One noteworthy feature is the ability within OneNote on the computer to record an audio lecture while taking notes at the same time. When you refer back to the notes later, your notes are time stamped to the point in the lecture when you wrote them. Evernote offers a similar feature with a manual keyboard shortcut for time stamping.

Sources and Reference Material

I was a journalism major in college. We didn’t deal with the traditional bibliographic reference requirements of research papers very often. For most other college students however, bibliographies are a fact of life.

EasyBib offers an app for Android and iOS that allows you to copy and paste a website or even use your smartphone camera to scan the barcode of a book or journal. It will then spit out a perfectly formatted citation in formats such as MLA, APA or Chicago style.

The Dictionary.com Dictionary and Thesaurus app could also be helpful for when you’re wondering about the definition of the word “boondoggle” or trying to think of a different way to say “hypothesis” for the 37th time. The app comes in both free and premium versions for iOS and Android.


You’re away from home and you may or may not have television, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss all your favorite shows. It just means you need your mom to give you the password.

Several apps from TV networks authenticate with your cable sign-in so you can watch your favorite programs anywhere. Also helpful are the passwords for streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. It will be like you never left home.

Spotify and Pandora can also be helpful if you don’t like to download music because you’ve run out of space on your phone from downloading all these cool apps I’m telling you about.


Now that you’ve gone away to school, your parents won’t be there to wake you up in the morning – and we all know how ensnaring your warm and comfortable bed can be.

For those who habitually press the snooze button, there’s Alarmy (Sleep If U Can). To dismiss the alarm, you have to shake your phone an incredibly high number of times or take a picture of something. The key is to make that something far enough away that you have to get up and walk away from your bed.

Do you have any other apps to help college students? Let us know in the comments section.

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