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Back to school: the essential Android apps for students

School is back in session and you'll need all the help that you can get. Here's a look at some of Android's best apps for students of all walks of life.

Published onAugust 28, 2015


As we prepare to bid a fond farewell to summer, classrooms and lecture halls are starting to fill up with eager and not so eager students returning to pursue a diploma, degree or simply just a passing grade. To reduce some of that back to school tension, we’ve put together a list of useful Android applications that should help lighten your academic load. This selection has a little bit of everything and features a blend of software capable of helping students of all ages. So if you’re ready to transform your smartphone or tablet into a powerful study buddy, pull up a chair and check out these must-have apps.



Okay, so this one might be a given, but if it’s not loaded in your device’s app drawer, you’re definitely missing out. More than just an index of definitions, Dictionary also includes a top-shelf thesaurus and vocabulary expanding features like “word of the day.” There’s also a few snazzy inclusions like voice search and audio pronunciations that should help with those tough words like “anemone” and “worcestershire.” There’s even support for Android Wear baked right in.



You’ve barely been back in class for a few weeks and a heavy demand for papers appears to be a popular trend among your professors and instructors. With such a hefty workload coming on, you’ll soon find yourself using the B-word — bibliography. The process of logging in citations can be brutally tedious, but it’s often necessary. Thankfully this easy to use application simplifies the process.

To get this sourcing party started, fire up EasyBib and point your device’s camera at a book’s barcode. You’ll have a choice of over 7,000 citation styles, including ASA, AMA, CSE and ACS all with a single tap.



As a budding scholar your mind is loaded with tons of ideas and sometimes it can be hard to keep things organized. If you’re looking for something to calm your raging brainstorm, SimpleMind has some easy to use tools wrapped in a light 1.5MB package. This mind mapping software charts your ideas in a color-coded web for fast access. Not just limited to mobile gear, you can also edit your topics via cross-platform support for Windows and Mac.

Fast Scanner


If you’re ever in need of a scanner, there’s no need to buy a big bulky overpriced machine that will only crowd your already cramped dorm room. Fast Scanner uses your device’s camera to capture single or multiple page documents and export them as PDFs. You can use this app to send files via email or archive them for your records.

Graphing Calculator


If you’re a math major or your area of study requires some heavy number crunching, you’ll definitely need a good calculator. As for freebie apps, Graphing Calculator by Mathlab digs in pretty deeply. Equipped with scientific, fraction, algebra and matrix calculator modes, things can get a little heavy. However, even if you’re studying the arts, this potent software can most likely run circles around your device’s stock application. So you might as well give it a try.



If you’re taking up a second language or planning on studying abroad, your linguistic skills will most likely need a coach. Instead of drilling you with grueling challenges and making you run laps for incorrect answers, Duolingo uses a variety of games and visual cues to teach you a new language. Easy to use, the app’s developer claims that 34 hours of Duolingo are comparable to a semester of university-level education. Even so, while we endorse the app, we don’t recommend dropping out of class.



No matter how high-end your mobile device may be, it can’t do all of your homework for you. You’ll still need to study. A must have tool in any respectable crammer’s arsenal is the flashcard and StudyBlue manages to modernize this age-old staple. It’s a lightweight piece of software that offers an eco-friendly solution to using dozens of costly index cards. You can keep study notes with you at all times and remotely share flashcards with classmates on the fly.

Here Comes the Bus


So you’re not the student, but your kid(s) are and the school bus is their primary method of transportation. This app can definitely help give you peace of mind. Used by multiple school districts, Here Comes the Bus keeps parents connected to their precious cargo by sharing details like bus arrivals and departures. It also supports push notifications that will notify you of schedule changes, along with alerts of when a bus is within five minutes of your stop.



The thought of typing notes on a smartphone or tablet sounds downright torturous to some people and we’d have to agree with such sentiments. Perhaps you’d rather jot them down on your mobile device, but you didn’t pick up Samsung’s new king-size smartphone. No worries, Squid (formerly known as Papyrus) has you covered.

You can scribble notes directly on your phone with a stylus or your finger and file them away for safe keeping. In addition to handwritten drafts, users can mark notations and highlights on PDF files. Plus all of your notes can be backed up to the cloud via Dropbox or Box.

Easy Voice Recorder

best voice recorders for Android

If handwritten notes sound too retro for your style of studying or you often find yourself falling asleep during class, you’ll need a good voice recorder to keep up with your instructor’s lectures. Thankfully, Android has plenty of options to choose from, but we’re going to recommend one in particular. Easy Voice Recorder by Digipom offers a simplified audio capturing software that lets you encode sound samples in a variety of codecs including PCM, AAC and AMR. There’s also widget support for fast access.


The process of starting or returning to school can be grueling and hopefully our selection of applications will help you hit the ground running. In addition to the aforementioned software, Google’s app catalog has a stellar suite of productivity tools that are often preloaded on Android devices. However, if your setup is somehow light on programs from Mountain View, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drive and Calendar are almost mandatory downloads.

If you liked our selection, or one of your favorite academic applications didn’t make this list, be sure to let us know in the comments.