Knowledge Is Power
As August comes to an end, another school year begins. If you're off to campus with an Apple iPad, you can save money by buying or renting your textbooks digitally. But that's only one way to enhance the school year with an iPad. With the right apps, your iPad can be a day planner, textbook, and notebook rolled into one.
I don't like to write entire essays on a touchscreen, but this app can be extremely useful if you need to work on a paper in class and you left your laptop at home (or in your dorm). With this app, you can set basic formatting parameters such as font size and margins, and you can export your documents in Word, Pages, or PDF file types. Pages will even allow you to print from your iPad to an Air Print-compatible printer. If you need an office suite with more features, check out Quickoffice Pro HD. But if you don't need anything more than a word processor, Pages will do the job just fine.
Never forget an important presentation again. Though it may not be the safest place to keep your tax or banking information, Dropbox can ensure that important documents are always available to you and to others. Just send a link to your Dropbox to the person you want to share information with, and that person can download the file directly to a computer, smartphone, or tablet. For best results, I recommend saving all of your schoolwork in your Dropbox for quick and easy access wherever you go.
Have you ever realized as you were taking notes that you were missing some of what the professor said? Evernote is useful for syncing your notes across all devices, but it's even better as an audio recorder. I find that recording significant parts of a lecture can really help, especially with teachers who talk quickly. Be warned though: Recording all of your classes can rapidly deplete your allotted space usage for the month (60MB for free accounts). I suggest recording lectures only on days when the class is reviewing for a test or final.
With tuition on the rise, it has never been more important for students to save money. You may know that the prices in the student bookstore are higher than the prices online, but how do you know whether you're getting your texts for the lowest price? BigWords will search a multitude of online bookstores (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Half.com, and more) and report back with the best deal it can find. Don't like a specific seller or the condition of a particular copy? You can hide them, and BigWords will move on to the next-lowest priced copy of that book. When the semester ends, you can use BigWords to help you list and sell your books so you can get the best return on your used texts.
Sometimes notes can be hard to type up, especially if you're in a science or math class where lectures involve lots of diagrams. Instead of using an old-fashioned pad and pen, grab a stylus (which may cost between $10 and 50, depending on the maker) and use the Penultimate app. Penultimate does its best to emulate the look and feel of real ink and has “wrist protection” software to ensure that you don’t accidentally mark up the screen while writing with a stylus.
One of the worst things college students can do to their budgets is eat out all the time. The Epicurious app is essentially a cookbook. You can look up recipes by main ingredient, and the app includes a whole section dedicated to people (like me) who can barely cook. Sure, you have to buy all the ingredients and make the food yourself, but your extra work will pay off in a delicious, inexpensive meal. And really, a French-toast BLT sounds way better than a Quarter-Pounder with cheese.
iStudiez Pro ($2.99)
The ultimate tool for students, iStudiez Pro is great for prioritizing assignments and keeping track of your classes. This productivity app will remind you when you have class (in case you are the forgetful type), and it can store the email addresses of your teachers for easy access. If you have any items in your iPad calendar, iStudiez will pull them in as well, helping you avoid accidentally scheduling a study session when you have work, or vice versa.
Todo for iPad ($4.99)
Whereas iStudiez helps you organize your academic life, Todo for iPad reminds you of details in your personal life (picking up a present for a friend, doing laundry, and the like) that you might otherwise forget. This great-looking app makes adding a task quick and easy. If you like to plan out large projects, Todo helps break them down into bite-size chunks. The app icon badge will tell you how many pressing tasks you have, and will alert you when you get close to a deadline.
I can guarantee you that at least one class in your academic career will require a dictionary. The Dictionary app by Dictionary.com will show you everything from synonyms to the etymology of a word. The app is dead simple to use and it includes such features as "The Question of the Day," to help you avoid mishaps like mixing up the words "imply" and "infer." You may not use the app every day, but it’s great to have a dictionary handy when you need it.
Articles for iPad ($4.99)
Wikipedia doesn't always have the most accurate information, but it is the first place that many people go when they want to learn more about a topic. Unfortunately, the website lacks an iPad-optimized version, so navigating between pages isn’t as smooth as it could be. Articles for iPad cleans up Wikipedia pages so that they load faster, are simpler to navigate through, and are easier to read. You can even keep multiple pages open at once so you can jump back and forth rapidly while researching different details of one assignment.