Best Back to School Apps

Start the School Year on the Right Foot

August 22, 2017

Believe it or not, summer is coming to a close, and it’s time to get back to school for students around the world. Whether you’re a parent with little ones heading off to their first days in the classroom, or a Ph.D. student ready to put the finishing touches on your dissertation, we’ve got the back to school apps that will help you start this school year off on the right foot.  

We can all agree that technology in the classroom has been both a blessing and a curse. Students can collaborate, communicate, and gain access to information faster than ever, but it can also serve as a distraction if misused. So what back to school apps can you download that will help you focus more attentively, keep up with your upcoming projects, and do better on tests? Let’s discuss the top apps that will help you accomplish these goals and more.

Google Keep

I am a big fan of handwritten notes because you can easily draw graphs and connect ideas with arrows. But I will admit that flipping through page after page when I could have easily searched typed out notes, is rarely a good use of time. Google Keep is the next generation of note taking apps that allows students, professionals, and anyone who likes to stay organized to keep everything in one place.

This back to school app is a must-download because it takes note taking far beyond a pen and paper. Collaborating on notes with classmates is always a good idea, especially if the professor talks a mile a minute. While you could compare notes after class, Google Keep brings this practice into the modern day with collaboration features to take notes together and tick things off the list when it is time for a group project. Beyond that, it can also transcribe your verbal notes and set reminders for upcoming tasks. Keeping all your notes and tasks together increases efficiency and a few extra minutes a day for a busy student is always appreciated.

A photo of a person taking notes in a notebook.


Before you arrive on your first day of school, it would be smart of you to have your textbooks in hand. In college, I was a big fan of renting textbooks since I went to school across the country and had no interest in lugging them back home at the end of the semester. Chegg takes it a step further with homework help based on the textbooks you’re renting. Your professor has limited office hours, so get homework questions answered within the app from Chegg tutors.

If you’ve taken math and science classes and only had answers to the odd or even problems you had to work on for homework, Chegg gets you over this hurdle as well with access to both odd and even problem solutions. Gone are the days of scratching your head and hoping you’ve come up with the right answer. Chegg gets you the help you need to do well in your classes with  quick support that you can count on.

iHomework 2

Planning out when you will complete assignments is hardly the most exciting part of school, but it is a crucial one. iHomework 2 maps out when assignments are due and helps you create a timeline for getting it done— without having to scramble at the end. It acts as an extra layer of encouragement to get work started early to avoid stress down the road. If you’re a planner by heart, then this app will simplify what you’re already doing to map out your week. iHomework 2 helps you finish projects on time and with time to still fit in the other things that are important in your life, like spending time with friends and working out.

When you’ve got a lot on your plate, one or two assignments can slip through the cracks once in a blue moon. But your professor isn’t interested in any excuses, so you’d better avoid this. The chances are much lower when you’re using iHomework 2 because it will alert you to upcoming due dates with alarms. These milestone accomplishments can keep you on track to finish big projects with plenty of time to proofread or check over your work before you turn them in.

A photo of a person taking a test in class.


Once you’ve turned in your first few assignments, there will most likely be a test coming up on the horizon. Making flashcards is a great way to commit facts and theories to memory, but having multiple stacks in the bottom of your bag can easily lead to confusion. (Mixing Art History and Spanish flashcards doesn’t usually lead to the best results from what I’ve seen.) With Quizlet, students can get ready for exams by testing out their knowledge of the course material in a number of ways. This includes flashcards you can share with classmates, playing a matching game with the subjects that will be covered on the test, and testing your memory by writing out concepts you will need to know. Quizlet is the latest way to study, and this back to school app even allows students to study offline once they have uploaded all of their study sets. Switch up the way you study and gain full mastery of the subjects you have this semester.

Khan Academy

Want to supplement what your kid is learning in school with an additional course or brush up on a topic so you can help them with homework? Khan Academy is a multi purpose back to school app that aims to help people around the world learn with high-quality materials. It covers math, science, humanities, economics, and more. The app uses videos to explain complex topics and appeals to students who like to learn.

The best part about Khan Academy is that it can also beneficial in the classroom. Teachers and tutors alike can use it to assign homework to students and check in on the progress they’re making. This customized dashboard can help educators figure out where students are excelling and where they could use a little extra help to get up to the optimal level in some of the most important subjects.

A photo of a forest full of green trees.


This back to school app may seem a little ironic, but sometimes exactly what you need to work most efficiently is to get your phone out of the equation. The seemingly endless sea of notifications from social media, email, and beyond makes it hard to cut through the noise and focus. Forest helps you stay on track by planting a virtual tree when you open up the app and say you want to concentrate. In the time you have the app open and get to work on whatever it is you need to be doing, your tree slowly grows. If you exit out of the app to respond to texts or scroll through Instagram, for example, your little tree you were working on will die. The idea is to create a small forest of these trees that represent your time spent focusing.

This isn’t just metaphorical either. The company also takes it a step further and helps users take action to plant real trees through Forest’s network of sponsors. So the next time you need to focus on homework or a certain project, why not have the time help make our world a little bit greener? We’ll all be able to breathe a little easier, thanks to Forest.

A photo of a student on their phone will the teacher explains something at the chalkboard.

Wrap Up: Best Back to School Apps

Depending on where you are in your educational career or what grades your kids are in, your favorite back to school apps might be a little different from what we’ve provided for you here. What holds true across all of the apps available is that they all aim to make things run more smoothly. Whether that’s helping you block out time to work on assignments or acting as your study partner, these apps will help you gain peace of mind when it comes to this upcoming school year. When you have less time to worry, you can do better in classes and have more downtime to recharge.

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We encourage you to reach out to us @Protoio with any additional suggestions you have for the best back to school apps of 2017.