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Nine of the best free apps for students

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Student life

by Nancy

At risk of sounding like your gran, we are all obsessed with our phones. And apps are the best invention since, well, the mobile phone. Here’s a few free apps that will help you with the three things students always need: money, time and reasons to get on with work.

YikYak – always a good laugh, YikYak is great for procrastination and for reminding yourself that there are plenty of other students going through the same struggles as you are. It can also be helpful for the most mundane things like finding out where your lecture is tomorrow, and best of all it’s anonymous so you won’t feel silly asking those sorts of questions that might normally leave you embarrassed. You might already have it on your phone, but it really comes alive on uni campuses and in big cities like Cardiff.

Tripchecker – the odds are that this app will save you time and stress at some point during your time at uni. Public transport is a nightmare at the best of times, especially when you're struggling half way across the country with a huge suitcase at the Christmas break. From personal experience, having live train and bus times and disruption updates in your pocket is always reassuring.

UNiDAYS – it is guaranteed that the sentence you will say most during your time at uni is: ‘do you do student discount?’ In an effort to save where possible, your student ID or NUS card can be the most important thing in your purse. However, they won’t get you discount all the time. Whilst not everywhere offers discounts all year round, UNiDAYS is a great way of keeping track of limited time offers. It is free to sign up and can bag you some great savings at high street shops and online. It’s a win-win!

EasyBib – referencing and keeping an accurate bibliography can be a total nightmare, especially when there are so many different systems and ways of doing it. Referencing apps can save a lot of time and effort by easily transforming the essential details into the format you need, as well as keeping all the books and articles you’ve used for an assignment in one place. There are various options available, both free and premium – either way, you’ll be thanking yourself when it comes to writing your bibliography.

Dropbox – it’s your worst nightmare and all your work has disappeared off your laptop – with the Dropbox app, you’ll have nothing to worry about. Not only can you back everything up to Dropbox, it is also super easy to share files with others. Sharing is great if you need a hand with revision resources during exams, or if you need articles and book chapters that you can’t get hold of in the library. After all, sharing is caring. Again, this one is free for the basic package, so it just makes sense to have on your phone.

Circle of 6 – this app has won awards and rightly so. All nights out start with the best intentions and fun in mind, however after a few drinks things can go down hill. Everybody has lost their friends in a nightclub at some point, and fighting your way through three floors of dancing people to drunkenly pull your pals into a cab can be tricky. To ensure nobody gets left behind and the night out ends with everyone tucked up their student accommodation, Circle of 6 is perfect. The app allows you to choose up to six close friends that you can find through the app by location, and even has features to send an emergency message to them if you don’t manage to meet up.

SelfControl – this app is perfect when you really need to knuckle down and get some work done. It can block certain websites and apps for a set amount of time to ensure you focus on your work. No more *accidental* 2 hour study breaks.

Spending Tracker – there a loads of different versions of this app, but they effectively all do the same job. If you are worried about budgeting and whether you trust yourself to stick to it, this type of app can be perfect. Some just track your income and expenditure so you can see what you are getting for your money, whilst others produce a daily budget that updates as you spend to keep you in the black until pay day.

Buzzhire – if you haven’t managed to stay on top of your budget and you are strapped for cash, Buzzhire is a great way of finding temporary work. They offer freelance work such as waiting tables or bar work in a variety of roles so you can work to your strengths and fit it around your studies. 

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