20 Back to School Apps and Tools for Students

It’s August, which means school is about to start for many high school and college students. You’ve all probably had a nice summer, but now it’s time to get back to pulling all-nighters, listening to boring professors, and attempting to learn something useful.

A lot of you may be dreading school, but it doesn’t have to be all bad, especially if you’re prepared. For all our student subscribers out there, we at Web.AppStorm have compiled a list of websites and tools that are guaranteed to help you get the most out of your education this semester. Go back to school with confidence!

Shmoop

Shmoop

Shmoop

Everybody knows about Sparknotes. Everybody. And your professors are like hawks; if they so much as get a whiff of Sparknotes analysis in your paper, they’ll tear you to shreds. Instead, ditch Sparknotes try Shmoop, a website I personally like a lot more than Sparknotes. Shmoop is an online study guide and resource for literature that provides summaries, analysis, quotes, themes, and follow up questions for lots of popular literature.

Shmoop makes the summaries fun to read by adding bids of humor and making it relateable. A great resource to use when you’ve confused about a novel or if you need inspiration for a paper. Did Shmoop not help you as much as you had hoped? No problem, try Cliffnotes, Pinkmonkey, or LitSum.

LectureFox

LectureFox

LectureFox

School is the place to learn, but sometimes you can learn more online. Now that most universities are becoming more technological, many popular universities are beginning to offer their lectures online for you. You just have to find them all! Use the LectureFox website to sift through all the different lectures from different universities. Learn chemistry, physics, computer science and more from some of the best universities in the US.

Snapter

Snapter

Snapter

Having a scanner is a great addition to your student arsenal, but they are way too expensive for the Top Ramen student. Instead, you can use the tool Snapter to get your documents online. You just need to take a picture of your document and Snapter will clean and fix the image for you and make it look as if you scanned it. Scan stuff without a scanner. Pretty nice right? Unfortunately, Snapter isn’t free. You have a 14 day free trial, and after that, you’ll have to pay $50 bucks for a license. I know, it’s a little pricey, but hey, it’s cheaper than your traditional scanner.

BookFinder

BookFinder

BookFinder

BookFinder may not look like much on first glance, but design isn’t everything. I’ve found that BookFinder is the best way to find textbooks online. As the site advertises, you can compare prices on over 150 million books for sale. I don’t even think Amazon can take this bad boy on.

If you’re not interested in buying books and would like to rent or sell some, check out eCampus (previously covered in a roundup about saving money online) or Chegg.com.

EasyBib

EasyBib

EasyBib

Research papers are tough, but citations are even tougher. When you need to build a bibliography, the first place you should head to is EasyBib. EasyBib automatically creates citations for you based on the book, website, and newspaper information you provide. When you finish building your bibliography, you can print or export it. EasyBib supports MLA, APA, and Chicago formats and is updated to the latest editions. Don’t quite like the feel of EasyBib? Try out BibMe, a similar and equally effective tool.

Zotero

Zotero

Zotero

Zotero is a must-have Firefox extension for all students, especially if you do a lot of research online. If you’re the kind of student who has dozens of tabs open and trying to get information from all of them, then Zotero is for you.

Zotero helps you save websites, links, images, and will cite all the sources for you. It’ll keep track of everything you save and allow you to search through your research library so you can be organized for any project.

FlashCardExchange

FlashCardExchange

FlashCardExchange

School often means a lot of memorization. You’ve got to memorize vocab, science terms, foreign words, your parent’s birthdays, and so on. It can be quite a handful sometimes. But with a tool like FlashCardExchange, you can use online flashcards to quiz yourself and memorize anything with a little bit of practice.

Create your own set of flashcards or use/edit one of thousands of user created sets available online. If you’d like an alternative to FlashCardExchange, you should definitely try out Quizlet, a website where you can study terms by playing games. It’s not quite as big as FlashCardExchange, but is definitely more fun to use.

Printable Paper

Printable Paper

Printable Paper

Nobody knows why it happens, but people always run out of paper when they need it the most. Let’s say you ran out of binder paper and have a huge paper due the next day. You could lose some face and beg your roommate for some or you could just head to PrintablePaper.net. With PrintablePaper, you can access hundreds of types of paper for you to download. Get binder paper, graph paper, isometric graph paper, music sheets, printable games, and more. All for free. Let’s just hope there’s still paper in the printer!

Spreeder

Spreeder

Spreeder

Spreeder is a tool for slow readers or those of you who get distracted by all the pretty little words on a page. Copy and paste text (preferably from your textbook or novel) into Spreeder, and set a WPM (words per minute) you want to read at. Spreeder then flashes one word at a time*, and you can zip through the passage in no time. Try the tool out and find what your maximum WPM is for more efficiency. Warning: Spreeder can cause dizziness. Copy this article into Spreeder and set the WPM to 2000. You’ll see what I mean. A similar tool a ZapReader, another online speed reading tool.

You can edit the number of words to display in the settings.

FBPurity

FBPurity

FBPurity

Facebook is both a blessing and a curse. It’s probably the easiest way to contact fellow students, but also the easiest way to distract you (thanks to these 10 addictive Facebook apps). That’s where FBPurity steps in and takes control. FBPurity is a Greasemonkey script that hides those annoying game invitations and other distractions.

Choose what parts of FB you want to hide and what parts you want to keep. You can get similar functionality out of the FFixer greasemonkey script mentioned in our list of fantastic greasemonkey addons. Now hurry up and clean up Facebook.

Dropbox

Dropbox

Dropbox

If you plan on surviving school, you’ve got to back up your files. Dropbox, a tool that the Appstorm staff absolutely loves, can keep your precious files safe from exploding computers, your vicious roommate, and theft.

Since we’ve mentioned this tool multiple times on AppStorm, I won’t go into much detail about how useful Dropbox is. Instead, you should read our all our articles about awesome dropbox tips.

MyNoteIt

MyNoteIt

MyNoteIt

Good organization can make school a hell of a lot easier. If you lack the natural organization skills, you can use websites like MyNoteIt to help you out. Using MyNoteIt, you can create groups and invite your classmates so you can all share notes, edit notes, and manage tasks. Of course, it works much better if you have a lot of friends in the group. The more the merrier! Similar tools include NoteMesh and Notecentric.

Amazon Student

Amazon Student

Amazon Student

Amazon is probably one of the best places to purchase anything for cheap, but that’s not the reason I wanted to feature it. As of right now, US college students can get a year’s worth of Amazon Prime membership for free. Amazon Prime is program that provides members with unlimited free 2 day shipping on a variety of Amazon goods. Students can really save a lot this year by purchasing their school materials from Amazon.

Design Your Dorm

Design Your Dorm

Design Your Dorm

I bet you college freshman can’t wait to get out of the house and are itching to plan your new dorm room, right? Well if you live in America (sorry everybody else), you can use Design Your Dorm to, you guessed it, design your dorm! With over 140+ universities in their database with actual dorm size and info, Design Your Dorm is the perfect tool for getting things ready for your visit. You can add furniture, edit decorations, and even buy the products in your virtual dorm and have it shipped right to your university. What more could you want? Oh, and did I mention this is all in 3D?

Rate My Professors

Rate My Professors

Rate My Professors

Going off to a new school this year and don’t know what to expect from your professors? Check them out on RateMyProfessors.com. RateMyProfessors is an online review site that allows students to rate their professors based on difficulty, helpfulness, clarity, and interest. Ratings are anonymous but seem to be quite accurate. Search for a professors or a school and find out if that crazy looking professor really is crazy so you can take the necessary precautions beforehand. For those of you who aren’t in college yet, use RateMyTeachers instead.

PocketMod

PocketMod

PocketMod

Wouldn’t it be great to have a personalized little notebook that you could stick in your pocket? Meet PocketMod, a nifty tool that helps you customize your own little pocket notebook. Customize each page of your PocketMod with information you want, print it out, and fold it into a notebook. It seems a little silly, but functions great as a notebook, scheduler, or even a cheatsheet (not that you should ever use one!)

WePapers

WePapers

WePapers

WePapers wants to create “the world’s biggest study group”, and they’re doing pretty well. WePapers is a place for students to share their own lecture notes with others, and access thousands of free lecture notes and presentations from varies universities covering a huge range of subjects. Think of it as the FlashCardExchange for lecture notes.

FileDestructor 2.0

FileDestructor

FileDestructor

So you’ve been partying it up this weekend, hanging out with friends, and blasting noobs on XBOX Live, and it’s finally time to start that paper. You glance over at your clock. 3am. Dang. You could either sacrifice those precious hours of sleep to turn in a sloppy paper or attempt to blow it off entirely and blame it on “technical difficulties”.

What do you do? Well, if you chose the latter option, then FileDestructor is right up your alley. With FileDestructor, you can make a “fake file” that looks exactly like the real thing in terms of size and extension but conveniently gives an error when your professor attempts to open it up. By the time your professor figures out what happened, you’ve got the real thing done and turned in.

We will not be held responsible for any trouble you may get into for using this tool. Use this as a last resort!

WriteCheck

WriteCheck

WriteCheck

Plagarism is a huge deal in universities and the easiest way to get yourself booted out of the institution you spent four years trying to get into. But I understand, sometimes it’s possible to plagiarize “on accident.” If you’re paranoid and afraid that parts of your paper was plagiarized, use the WriteCheck tool to find out for sure. WriteCheck is a paid service, but powered by the folks that run TurnItIn.com. If you have $5 to spare, use WriteCheck to keep those university secret agents off your tail.

Software For Starving Students

Software for Starving Students

Software for Starving Students

Let’s face it; students are poor. They’ve got to pay for enrollment, rent, textbooks, food, and dates with their significant other. Students don’t have the money to buy expensive software like Microsoft Office (even if they do offer discounts for students). Software For Starving Students is a website for – as the name suggests – students who are in the financial slums. The site offers a huge collection of free software for students to download and use (on both PC and Mac). Students can also download an .iso to burn on a CD and get all the tools at once.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you learned a thing or two from this list of resources and found something new that you’d like to use this semester. We at Web.AppStorm want to wish you the best of luck in school and can only hope that you’ll still have the time to browse our site! Have fun in school and learn as much as you can!

Did I happen to miss an awesome tool for school that has helped you before? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks!

Get the intro. graphic, “Stack of books“, by author bondyman at GraphicRiver.net


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