My College:
High School

Apps to Make College Prep Easier

Suzanne Shaffer


Your high school student’s smartphone is like part of their body. For better or for worse, their entire life is on their phone. They use it to stay in touch with friends (and if you're lucky, with you), for social media, gaming, directions and just about every other activity in their lives.

Why not turn their phone into a tool to help with college prep? Here are my picks for apps that can help your high school student be more productive and organized, study more efficiently, and jumpstart the college search process at the same time!

Organization Apps

Evernote: Free online tools like Evernote can help your student access and edit their college application notes whenever they want. Soon-to-be college students can use Evernote to create virtual notebooks for each school, organize important deadlines, and track key documents such as transcripts, test stores and recommendations.

Google Drive lets students create new documents, spreadsheets and presentations for their own use or to share with others. Collaboration is easy — they can chat in real time right inside Docs, Sheets and Slides or leave comments on files and images. Documents are accessible anytime, and all changes are saved automatically in Drive.

Naviance Student: Students can now take Naviance on the go with the Naviance Student mobile app, an easy-to-use college research tool that improves collaboration and helps students stay organized. Students can see upcoming deadlines and set reminders. Naviance Student is fully synced with the Family Connection so students will have all their most important information wherever they may be — at school, at home or on their phone.

Study Apps

Quizlet: Offering a wide array of subjects, different study modes and a variety of test prep resources, Quizlet lets students sign up and use its study tools free of charge. Students rave about the ease of using the app and the site, along with the awesome tools that Quizlet offers.

iStudiez Pro: It's easier to navigate the overwhelming aspects of student life like tracking their schedule, daily tasks and upcoming assignments and deadlines with iStudiez Pro. Your student can also track their grades and calculate their projected GPA for current and past semesters using a variety of grading scales. In addition, they can back up any data they enter by sending it directly to their email or by syncing to their other iOS devices.

Chegg Study Prep: Students can use the Chegg Study Prep app to create a review sheet and then have all the information readily available at their fingertips. With the app, students can quiz themselves on the go, so it’s perfect for studying on the way to class or for getting that last-minute review in before the exam in handed out.

MyHomework: Keeping track of everything that’s on your plate can be quite a task. That’s why a digital planner like MyHomework can be the first step towards creating great study habits. Your student can set deadlines as well as priorities so they know what to focus on, and can specify the type of assignment due as well as the time/date, so they're sure to not hand anything in late.

Writing and Research Apps

EasyBib simplifies the tedious process of citing the works referenced in a research paper answering questions like how to treat a later edition of a book, which authors’ names need to be included, and where to place colons and commas. EasyBib allows works to be cited in MLA, APA or Chicago formats by scanning the barcode of a book or typing its name. References or works cited pages come together with ease, though your student still will have to make in-text citations on their own.

Wolfram Alpha is an interactive physics textbook and a science computer all in one. Your student can access course assistance in math and science along with a vast knowledge base of reference material. It’s arguably the single best reference smartphone app available.

Essay Apps

Grammarly goes beyond grammar, syntax and spelling by even checking for the narrative involved. It is a great help in typing emails and large reports as well as essays and papers. With several writer-friendly features, it's currently the most popular essay-making app in the world.

Pro Writing Aid is a smart writing tool for the smarter writer. Apart from dedicated space for writing, the app also offers users a technology-led grammar checker, a dedicated style editor, and a writing suggestions generator to make writing essays easier and more fun.

Hemingway: Keeping sentences short and to the point is one of the best ways to hold a reader's attention. The editor feature in Hemingway identifies sentences that are overly complex, helping your student streamline their thoughts. As a virtual proofreader, it can help make sentences clear, concise and bold. The app also flags passive voice, comma splices and run-on sentences.

College Visit Apps

An app can't replicate an in-person campus visit, but it's a good alternative when traveling and touring in person isn't practical.

YouVisit: With YouVisit Colleges, your student can virtually explore 500+ college campuses and feel fully immersed with or without a Virtual Reality headset. The app is available on iPhone and Android.

Apps From Specific Colleges: Many colleges are also creating their own apps which include virtual tours. Peterson’s and Modolabs list several of them.

The North Carolina public university system developed the GEAR UP NC Virtual Reality (VR) app to help a broader cross section of students, including first-generation students, learn about higher education options in the state.

Scholarship Apps

Scholly: No more filling out long, tiresome forms and getting poor results because your student wasn't a good match for the opportunity. Scholly is an easy way to find potential scholarships that are relevant to your student. Designed to ease the scholarship search process, Scholly’s adaptive matching engine promises to deliver smarter, targeted lists of scholarships.

The Scholarships.com cloud-based mobile and desktop platforms are a fast, easy and accurate way for students to find free scholarships and grants to help pay for college. Their scholarship database contains more than 3.7 million local, state and national college scholarships and grants worth over $19 billion in funding, available to students of all backgrounds, with real-time, regularly updated information. New scholarships and grants added to the database daily.

College Search Apps

College Hunch is an interactive guide that allows users to browse, sort and organize a treasure trove of the latest data on 1,000 four-year colleges. Your student can use it to build a spreadsheet in seconds that compares all the key stats of schools they're exploring. Talk about a time saver!

Niche has compiled student reviews and statistics for nearly 7,000 U.S. colleges and universities. Your student can start their college search or compare schools on their list, learn more about the top-rated colleges, and even search for scholarships.

College Fair: Skip the long lines at national college fairs and check out this free mobile app. College Fair lets your student search 4,000+ U.S. colleges by major, location and interests and even discover careers related to their strengths.

Test Prep Apps

Khan Academy: Available on both iOS and Android, Khan Academy is a free app with over 100 million users. Khan Academy has won numerous awards and established a reputation as one of the best ways to prepare for the SAT and ACT exams. They provide variety of practice tests, full explanations (both written and visual) about different concepts, subject-based questions, and more.

Magoosh: The Magoosh SAT app lets your student study on the go with exam practice and prep and SAT flashcards. The Magoosh ACT app includes over 200+ useful flashcards and 80+ lessons for subjects like Math, English and Science as well as practice questions for each and every ACT exam section.

The Common App and FAFSA

Don’t forget the Common Application also provides an app for students (The Common App for Mobile) as does the FAFSA (myStudentAid Mobile App).

Suzanne Shaffer counsels students and families through her blog, Parenting for College. Her advice has been featured in print and online on Huffington Post, Yahoo Finance, U.S. News College, TeenLife, Smart College Visit, Road2College and more.

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