Capstone College and Career Advising

Back to School Apps to Help You this Year

September 10th, 2015 by

By: Jed Applerouth 

Shot of a group of students studying in the library

Technology in adolescent hands has gotten a bad rap as of late. Whether it be studies suggesting that smartphones are detrimental to the learning experience or our own tendency to believe that we’re part of the 2 percent of effective multi-taskers, an overdependence on technology plays some role in the frenetic, sleep-deprived age in which we live. But that doesn’t mean that we should revert back to flip phones and pagers. As you head back to school, back to all of the challenges of the year, you can make technology work for you. In this article, I’ll highlight a few apps that might prove helpful in the world of organization, goal-setting, scheduling, and even dealing with anxiety.

Goal Setting/Completion:

You likely have some fantastic goals for this upcoming school year. You may want to run three mornings a week or have a plan for reviewing your class notes every evening. While these goals are commendable, change can be difficult. Goals help identify areas for improvement and move you in a meaningful direction toward becoming a better version of yourself. Check out Irunurun, where you can set weekly goals, get reminders, and invite friends to help you stay consistent.


In order to change a habit or complete a task, you need to have the desire, the motivation, the grit to persevere. You’d think that motivation was the most personal and internal of struggles, something technology couldn’t help with. How could some external force change my behavior in a meaningful way? You’d be surprised. Apps like Wonderful Day (iOS), play into our childlike desire to earn those stars for good behavior. Get some of your friends to join, and you’ll have a support group to see you through to completing your goals.

Stress Management:

Need to get away? Try some sound relaxation; my preference is for the thunderstorm. For more anxiety-based management, try Worry Box. One helpful way of dealing with a worry is to identify it and counter negative thinking with a healthy perspective or action step. While not a replacement for professional counseling, apps like Worry Box can help you manage many different sources of stress.

Time management:

Where does all my time go? You’d be surprised how much of it is spent on unproductive activities. Apps like RescueTime generate reports that track where you spend your time on your computer. For example, you can see how much time you actually spent writing that 5-page paper last evening. Once you evaluate how you spend your time, you can create action steps (with some of the previous apps) to use it more meaningfully.


Few students have the resources for a full-time secretary to keep tabs of their lives, and they don’t necessarily want their parents filling that role either! Enter EasilyDo, an app that helps you organize your studies and personal life. EasilyDo lets you know when you haven’t responded to an email, need to leave to make a meeting on time, or should wish a contact happy birthday. The app syncs with your email and Facebook accounts to be a second set of eyes (which we all could benefit from nowadays!).

For some students, no app can replace the physical day planner, or a paper and pencil. Whatever your approach, spend some time asking yourself how effective it has been so far. This semester, have you forgotten any assignments yet? Have you double-booked yourself? Have you had to decline a fun night with friends because you didn’t plan well enough for an upcoming assignment? In that case, it may be worthwhile to ask yourself what changes would benefit you. There are hundreds of apps that were designed to help you have a successful semester.