College is back in season. New and returning students alike are always looking for a little edge to help with the more stressful parts of each semester, so here are a few apps and software tips that will keep you going when the exhilaration of a new semester wears away and you are staring down midterms and finals.

Self Control

Do yourself a favor and download this right now. It’s an app that lets you schedule periods of time where fun and distracting features on your phone are disabled. You have full customization power, so it won’t lock you out of important things, but you can schedule lecture and study time with minimal distraction. Unless you’re a very rare breed of college student, you know you need this one.


This app is actually amazing for non-students too. Acorns is an app that helps you start investing, even if you don’t have any extra money lying around. It simply rounds your credit or debit purchases up to the nearest dollar and invests those bits of change for you. The investments are low-risk, and they can build up a pretty impressive portfolio to get you started in the real world once you graduate. Also, if an emergency strikes, you can liquidate your portfolio to make those payments. It might even help you take a big chunk out of those loans once they start collecting.


If you don’t know that you need Microsoft Office by now, your ability to hide it is impressive. Of course, that software is expensive, so everyone is always looking for the best free alternatives. Google Docs is completely free, and it comes with the convenience of being entirely cloud based so you never have data loss and your stuff is accessible anywhere. It isn’t the most powerful suite though, so you may consider a few alternatives. The Apple productivity suite is free for anyone who owns an iPhone or Mac, and it can be used in the cloud or offline. It’s a little more powerful than Google Docs, but it still has limits. OpenOffice is completely free for download, and it is every bit as powerful as the Microsoft version. It’s cloud access is lacking, so save often and back up the major stuff.


This last gem helps with those pesky research papers. Zotero exists as a browser extension for Firefox, Chrome and Safari, or you can get a full desktop version. It will help you with your research, tracing articles to their sources and helping you find similar information elsewhere. Much more importantly, it will catalogue the source details and help you complete your citations when you write the paper. Its functionality with some of the Office alternatives might be lacking, but it’s still worth your time.