Six useful utlility apps for University students

From texting to emailing and everything in between, “there’s an app for that.” This message, spread by Apple during its 2009 iPhone 3G launch, still holds true, as approximately 8 smartphone applications were launched per day in 2012, according to Flurry analytics, whose industry standard analytics software is in more than 350,000 apps in more than one billion mobile devices worldwide.

Many of these apps are categorized as “utility,” which can help a smartphone user with his or her day-to-day activities.

Here is a list of helpful utility apps, many of which can be used around campus.

Blackboard Mobile — FREE:

If you go to the University, chances are you will use Illinois Compass, a communication platform through Blackboard Learn, at some point during your college career. It may be for an online class, for posting discussion questions or even for checking grades. Whatever if may be, Blackboard has made an app to make it easier for students to access it on the go. Ryan Shapiro, junior in Business, is one such user of the app.

“A lot of my teachers post grades on Compass,” Shapiro said. “So when I can’t get to my computer right away, it’s so much simpler just to click on the app and check during class.”

Evernote — FREE:

Evernote is essentially an all-encompassing notebook. The app allows a user to type notes for class, take photos (perhaps of a PowerPoint slide you don’t have time to write during class), create to-do lists for your homework and make voice reminders. It’s the ultimate storage tool for all of your notes, and can be accessed on all of your devices, such as tablets, phones and computers. You can even pay $5 per month or $45 per year to access notes offline or add security options for your notes.

“I used to use Evernote almost as a daily journal, but lately I’ve been using it to take notes for class,” said Katherine Cramer, senior in LAS. “It’s so much easier because everything is in one place.”

Shakespeare — FREE:

This app is perfect for English majors or any students who have to take a Shakespeare class at the University. Forty-one plays, 154 sonnets and six poems can be found on this one free app. With included annotations, you won’t have to flip through dozens of pages to find a certain line or read through lines of scribbles in a dog-eared book to look for a specific note. The Shakespeare app can even be used to get into some Shakespeare events and exhibits in the world. This app may also be useful in conjunction with the SparkNotes app to better understand Shakespeare’s language.

iFormulas — FREE:

In contrast to the Shakespeare app, iFormulas is useful for math and science majors. The app has many mathematical or scientific formulas, ranging from trigonometric equations to physics formulas. Even if your professor doesn’t let you use your phone in class, this app is an advantageous reference when doing homework or finding the best equations to put on formula notecards.

Caleb Luk, junior in Engineering, uses the app to look up formulas quickly.

“It’s way simpler to look up formulas with this app than to use the formulas sheets professors give you,” he said. “I’ve found out this app helps me better memorize the formulas as well.”

Khan Academy — FREE:

Khan Academy is a video sharing platform that provides brief summaries and tutorials for a variety of subjects, such as finance, history and physics. This app is great for better understanding difficult concepts in class or even picking up a new skill. With 4,200-plus videos, Khan Academy lets viewers learn through interactive lectures at their own pace whenever they want. Each user’s profile features user statistics and playlists for easy tracking and organization. Salman Khan, creator of Khan Academy, spoke at the TED 2011 conference on the mission of the nonprofit organization to empower people through education.

iStudiezPro — $2.99:

This app is the impeccable organizer for any college student. It monitors tasks, checks grades and alerts the user of upcoming deadlines.

According to its iTunes description, iStudiezPro guarantees that you “never miss another course, lecture, or assignment.” Although it costs 2.99, the app is a worthwhile investment.

Jolie can be reached at [email protected]