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The Best iPad and iPhone Apps for Grad, Doctoral, and College Students

Updated on April 26, 2013

List of Essential iPad and iPhone Apps for Students

You are headed to school with a new iPad or iPhone 5, whether you are an adult graduate student returning to school, or an undergraduate straight out of high school, you will find these apps essential to your college success.These apps help keep you organized and save a ton of paper and time.


You're on campus. You're at home. You're at the library, the coffee shop, the student union. In college you are mobile, but unless you want to carry your laptop at all times, you wouldn't have access to your documents. You need a private, secure dropbox where you can store your files. Complete an assignment at home and save it to your Dropbox and you still have access it when you find that typo later that day and you want to fix it. You can go seamlessly from your laptop to iPad to library computer and back. Plus you can share whole folders with friends and colleagues to make group project or note sharing easy.

Dropbox serves as a cloud storage back up for the most important files on your computer. Drop your computer or have your laptop stolen and still have your final paper saved where you can get it.


There are dozens of note-taking apps vying for your attention as a student. It is hard to choose, but choose your must. It doesn't make any sense to indefinitely try new apps and spread your notes over ten different apps.

GoodNotes allows you to take notes free-hand or annotate pdfs. It imports from Dropbox and just as easily export back to Dropbox. This import/export feature provides a simple way to back up your notes.


This one is already on your iPad, but did you know you can link your Outlook calendar to your Google calendar to your iCal calendar? If you are an adult student going back to school, you probably feel like you you have two or three different lives. You may have three calendars. Have them all sync with your iCal calendar, and it is easy to stay on top of assignments, appointments, and classes.

Atomic Web Browser

This simple web browser integrates more easily with some college systems such as Web CT, Moodle, or Blackboard. If Safari does not work to open some files on your school's on-line learning system, try Atomic. It allows tabbed browsing, downloads to your Dropbox, and is faster than Safari. Even if you are committed to Safari as your browser, buy this one as a back up. Many times I have been in a position where one or the other could not perform an important task.


Some people swear by Evernote, while some find about as helpful as an extra email account. Evernote, like Dropbox allows you to have your information on two places at once. Upload a note to Evernote on your laptop and it is there on your iPad when you need it. One of the features that is most helpful for doing article research is that you can email yourself a note. Many databases have a link to email a pdf or article citation. If you email it to your Evernote account, it keeps your email clear and allows you to organize the article with tags and notebooks of ideas.

Evernote is great place to jot down a paper idea or store a picture or document that inspires you. It is the perfect tool for someone working on a long term project like a thesis or dissertation.

iTunes U

I know you're thinking, why would I need iTunes U when I'm paying money to go to school. Or maybe you're thinking why am I paying money to go to school when my class is on iTunes U. The truth is the two work together. Find the equivalent course for your most challenging subjects (statistics, organic chemistry, computer science) and listen to the lectures before you start class. It helps to hear another person describe the same concepts in a different way. Your brain will already have rooms to store the new information when you get it in class (the one you paid for).


Submit a Comment

  • kateperez profile image


    6 years ago from pasadena, tx

    You have a good list here, and if I do get an iPad before I go off on my residency, I'll definitely look at your suggested apps. I currently use Dropbox for other applications, so I can say it works great.

    Thanks a bunch!!! Voting up!


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