The 12 must-have free smartphone apps for new and returning students starting university in September 2015

Planning, scheduling, studying, eating, and saving - we've got you covered

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The Independent Online

There’s a reason for the stereotype that young people are glued to their phones – and students are no exceptions. In fact, it’s said that 90 per cent of young people check their smartphones before they even get out of bed in the morning.

So, if you’re about to start – or return to – university next month, here are some great, free apps that will put all that smartphone activity to good use:

1) Evernote

Available on iOS, Microsoft, and Android

This is a great app for revision and syncs between multiple devices – if you’re lucky enough to have them.

It allows you to work everywhere, write notes, and discuss work with others which is super-useful for group work and seminars. It also has features which allow you to present ideas.

As well as to-do lists, it has attached files to keep notebooks, documents, and PDFs, as well as a handy feature which recognises text in photos, so you can take a picture of your book, search and save a word, and find it later. You can also dictate notes which it will transcribe to words – really useful for recording lectures.

2) Doodle

Available on iOS, Microsoft, and Android

Doodle polls are great. Get all your mates to sign up for the app and scheduling becomes easy. Whether it be a social event, a society meeting, or your meeting-up for group work. Once all the participants have picked the times they’re available, Doodle notifies the host and calculates the best slot for everyone.

3) Blackboard

Available on iOS, Microsoft, and Android

Most universities use Blackboard as an operating system to upload lecture notes, set assignments, and more.

Having it on your mobile means you’ll have a quick reference to check your grades and lecture slides. You can also set up push notifications for course announcements, giving you plenty of assurance that you’ll hand your assignments in on time.

4) Allrecipes

Available on iOS, Microsoft, and Android

Most students are rookies in the kitchen – which is why we’ve already brought you some cheap recipe ideas – but this app has thousands of member shared recipes with step-by-step instructions, photos, and even a function to automatically add all the ingredients to a shopping list.

5) mySuperMarket

Available on iOS, Microsoft, and Android

This app is great for savvy students who want to save money. It allows you to create a shopping list and then tells you which supermarket is the cheapest, as well as alerting you to deals near you.

6) Spendometer

Available on iOS and Android

University may be the first time where you have a limited income and set budget. This app allows you to set monthly, weekly, or daily budgets and fill in your spending as you go. It allows you to set amounts of spending on specific areas, such as going out, too.

7) Dictionary.com

Available on iOS and Android

This is pretty self-explanatory – this app allows you to look up words and look up their synonyms. Super-useful to check spelling and impress – or should I say galvanise – with big word in your essays.

8) RefME

Available on iOS and Android

Referencing is a boring and tiresome chore. After spending hours on an essay and having the relief of completion, it’s the worst feeling ever to suddenly realise you’ve got to reference, which can take hours.

With this app, you just scan a barcode of the book or journal you’ve used and it will automatically create the reference list for you – in alphabetical order.

9) Skype

Available on iOS, Windows, and Android

Calling home, friends, or a love interest a lot can be expensive. Skype is one of many free apps that allows video calling and, with the mobile app, you can do it from anywhere with an Internet connection. This is especially useful for international students who can save money on expensive overseas phone calls.

10) MyFitnessPal

Available on iOS, Windows, and Android

If you want to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your current weight, MyFitnessPal is a fast and easy-to-use calorie counter. Merely scan the bar code of the food you’re eating and it’ll add it.

Don’t forget, eating well is much deeper than calorie counting. Often for students, especially first years, healthy-eating isn’t the number one priority – but this app allows you to track the amount of protein, carbohydrates, and more, that you eat. With this app, you can be sure you’ll be perfectly nourished.

11) thetrainline.com

Available on iOS, Windows, and Android

Most students travel on trains a lot, whether it be visiting a friend at another university or home to see your family, so it’s useful to have this app which will plan the journey, check platform information, and buy tickets. Plus, you can potentially making some big savings too.

12) Google Maps

Available on iOS, Windows, and Android

If you’re moving to a new city to study next month, you’ll need to know your way around, and Google maps is often thought of as the best free maps app. It’s an easy way to help you on your route – whether on foot or by car, and will also help toy locate nearby bus and train routes.

Twitter: @bridiepjones

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