The best Mac apps for college students

Image: iProcrastinate Mac app
The iProcrastinate app works with class filters, step-by-step tracking and repeating
/ Source: Lifehacker

We recently put together our list of the best Mac apps, but college students need different tools. If you snagged a shiny new Mac with one of those student discounts, here are the apps to load it up with before you hit that first class.


Syncing Note Taker: Notational Velocity
Notational Velocity is a fantastic Simplenote client on Mac. Simplenote is a great way to keep all your class notes synchronized and stored in one place so you always have access to them.
Price: Free

Note and Idea Capture: Evernote
Evernote is an excellent resource for students to capture everything they have going on in class. If you need a little inspiration for how to use Evernote, Shep McAllister's guest post on the Evernote blog outlines a lot of ways you can use Evernote in school, including taking snapshots of notes, blackboards, organizing research, and more.
Price: Free

To-Do: iProcrastinate
iProcrastinate isn't a to-do manager specifically designed for college students, but it might as well be. It works with class filters, step-by-step tracking and repeating schedules. However, if iProcrastinate doesn't look like it'll fit your needs, be sure to check out Wunderlist.
Price: Free

Homework Management: iHomework
Sometimes it's easiest for a student to have an all-in-one life tracking app. In that case, iHomework could come in handy. It features iCal integration for your schedule, as well as a full assignment tracker, reading list, reminders, course info, and easy access to teacher contact information.
Price: 99 cents

Office Suite: Google Docs
Not long ago, students were stuck with Microsoft Office for their office suite, but now that Google Docs has offline editing it's a perfect replacement to Office for most students. The best part is the fact that it's free, but it also has pretty much everything you need: spreadsheets, presentations, and a document editor. It also stores you documents in the cloud so you never to worry about the horrible just-lost-my-paper panic.
Price: Free

Books: Kindle for Mac
Carrying around textbooks is a huge hassle. Instead, provided your books are available digitally, you can just carry around your computer and access them on your PC. The Kindle app is also a great way to highlight, take notes and share those notes with other classmates.
Price: Free

Document Backup: Dropbox
We mention Dropbox in our annual Lifehacker Packs, but it's worth noting again for students. Not only is Dropbox a handy place to store all your files, it can also be a lifesaver when you realize you forgot to bring in an assignment. Simply pop into Dropbox, and email the link directly to your professor from any computer.
Price: Free


Instant Messaging: Adium
Instead of wasting your money on SMS messages for your phone, an easy way to save a little cash in school is to use an instant messaging client. The bonus is that if you're using it on your computer your professor probably won't even realize you're not paying attention.
Price: Free, open source

Video Chat: Skype
Whether you just miss your parents, or you want a cheap and free way to talk to friends at other schools, Skype is one of the easiest video chat clients to use. It's also a way to phone-ify your computer so you don't have to wory about an annoying cell phone bill.
Price: Free

The Extended Pack

Streaming Music: Spotify
You have an abundance of choices for streaming music on your computer, but we're fans of Spotify for its massive collection of songs, and its free radio apps on mobile. Rdio is also worth looking at if Spotify doesn't fit your needs. The point is, with streaming apps you don't have to worry about trying to afford music throughout your college career.
Price: Free

Secondary Office Suite: LibreOffice
While we generally prefer Google Docs for creating and editing your own documents, that doesn't mean everyone else does. Just to be safe, it's not bad to have an Office suite on your computer, and LibreOffice is nice to have around in case you can't access Google Docs. It's also helpful for when you need advanced formatting options for certain types of assignments.
Price: Free

Research Assistant: MendeleyKeeping track of research can get really complicated, especially when you're working with a bunch of different documents from your library. Mendeley is an organization tool that helps you keep track of all those PDF files. It also lets you annotate and generates citations on the spot.
Price: Free

f you're looking for more great apps for your Mac beyond what's in our student pack, head to the Lifehacker Pack for Mac.

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