5 FREE Apps For Students

Written by Bonnee Crawford.

It’s 2017 and just about everyone has a smartphone. While this technology is fantastic for letting people stay socially connected while they’re on the go or keeping them occupied during a long commute, a smartphone can often be detrimental to a student’s productivity. I’m no stranger to scrolling through Facebook or sending Snapchats when I should be studying or doing an assignment and I dare say, dear reader, neither are you.

However, as with most things, their usefulness and functionality boils down to how we use them. Although the initial purpose of buying a smartphone often is for the social-on-the-go aspects, it’s absolutely possible to make them beneficial for students. The best part? You can do it for free, starting with these apps.

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  1. Calendar

If you own a smartphone, chances are you already have a built-in Calendar app. Even my ancient flip phone from when I was in high school had one. Forget keeping a paper day planner or physical student diary—you know you’re going to forget to check it or take it with you. Whether you just want to use it for scheduling study time, or if you want to use it to plan the rest of your life too, pick the date and time and your phone will remind you to do it. And we both know you’re 100% less likely to forget to check your phone than you are to check your student diary. Want something a little fancier than your standard Calendar app? Try downloading something like TimeTune (Android), My Study Life (iPhone), or any of the countless other free timetabling/scheduling/time management apps). Get a feel for what sort of features work best for you. Everyone’s a little different.


  1. Tide: Focus Timer to Study, Work & Relax

I found this app quite recently and it is amazing (like I am obsessed with this app right now). Tide combines ambient sounds like rain with the Pomodoro technique, which traditionally separates periods of focus into twenty-five minute sessions with short breaks in between. Pick your background sound (the lapping ocean, steady rainfall, forest noises, gentle piano, or café chatter), start your timer, and get down to business. Short focus periods with frequent breaks may sound unproductive at first, but when a timer is ticking you’ll be surprised at how much you can trick yourself into getting done. This app comes with pretty background pictures and inspiring quotes, as well as features that let you set goals and track how long you’ve focused each day. Tide is also great for unwinding—listen to one of the relaxing tracks while you get ready for bed to promote some restful sleep (which will help improve productivity the next day!).

Compatible with Android and iPhone.


  1. 30 Day Fitness Challenge

I don’t know about you guys, but I could not afford a gym membership during my undergrad. Going for a walk or a jog instead is a good way to keep active while you’re studying, but these activities get monotonous after a while. 30 Day Fitness Challenge is a great way to mix it up. It’s like having a little personal trainer on your phone, and you don’t need gym equipment to do the exercises. There are six levels to choose from based on your abilities, and you can choose to focus on particular muscle groups or do full body workouts. The app will time you while you complete each exercise and allow you to have a break between each set (and a rest day every 4 days!). The exercises can all be done at home and the gamification that comes with building up your streak keeps you motivated to return to the app each day. The levels start off short and sweet on day one and build in intensity over the 30 day period.

Compatible with Android and iPhone.


  1. GymBetter

Okay, so you don’t want to commit to a gym membership because damn that’s expensive, but you would like the option to sometimes go to the gym without spending the same amount on casual entry that you would have spent in a fortnight on gym membership anyway. GymBetter gives you discounted casual access to participating gyms (YMCA*, Fernwood Fitness, and Goodlife) and you can even go to a group class. If you don’t have the funds for a gym membership, or you know you wouldn’t go often enough to make it worth paying for, download GymBetter so that you can get casual entry without going broke.**

*The campus gyms at Burwood and Waurn Ponds are operated by YMCA.

**If you have private health insurance with Medibank, get an extra discount, because Medibank made this app.

Compatible with Android and iPhone.


  1. Groupon

Speaking of discounts … students deserve to go on cool adventures and eat at nice restaurants too! Groupon offers a smorgasbord of discounts on everything from fine dining to skydiving. The possibilities are endless and if you’re a poor uni student looking for somewhere cool to go or something fun to do, you should definitely check out what you can find on Groupon.

Compatible with Android and iPhone.

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Although your smartphone can distract you from being a student at the worst of times, there are ways for your mobile device to help get you through. Whether that’s in the form of helping you focus and manage your time, or making sure you keep a healthy balance between studying and the rest of life without going broke, there’s bound to be something you can download for free in your app store that will help you justify to your parents why you’re glued to your phone. Oh, and it can totally help you do better at uni and feel better as a student—remember, it’s about how you use it.


Bonnee’s work appears in the TabooEthereal, Contact, HarmonyGenre, Prelude, Home, Wild, Freedom of Expression, O’Week, Awkward, Time, and August editions of WORDLY Magazine.

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