8 Cool Apps to Balance Life & School

When it comes to going back to school, it’s a brave new world of technology we couldn’t have dreamed of even just a decade ago. Notebooks have become nearly extinct, encyclopedias serve as doorstops or kindling, and students rely on trusty apps for anything from homework help to managing class schedules. An adult learner who may have the added responsibilities of work and family can use some extra assistance in the form of helpful apps. Here is a typical day in the life of an adult learner, and eight apps to make life easier along the way.

1. “Wake

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Last night, you did something you haven’t done in years. You pulled an all-nighter. You thought that as an adult, you wouldn’t do these things. Either way, you’re going to need a decent alarm. The app Wake is effective and user-friendly. Stop the alarm by shaking it until a bar fills up. The movement can help you feel more alert.


2. “Elevate

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If you’re a parent, you know that those first moments of the morning are precious. But eventually you might want to get up and feed your children. I’ve heard those little guys can get quite hungry, so make the most of those few minutes. Elevate is a brain-sharpening app and game in one. Choose personalized challenges ranging from Agility to Error Avoidance, track your progress, and even work on your confidence through sharpening skills like solving math challenges or improving your public-speaking game.

Michael Levy, Director of Content at Elevate, said, “Because Elevate’s daily training sessions are designed to take only 5 to 7 minutes, students balancing occupational, educational, and family responsibilities can integrate the app into their daily routine seamlessly.”


3. “Hub

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As a family, it can be difficult to keep track of everyone’s schedules. Think of Hub as a social media network just for your family. Share calendars, lists of chores, and reminders in one convenient spot.

Jonathan James, the founder of Hub, has been in your shoes. “My wife recently returned to school as an adult learner. We originally built Hub with busy families in mind, and I’m realizing first hand that families don’t get much busier than when a parent is in school. I really like it when my wife puts her exam schedule in Hub so that I can encourage her at test time,” he said.


4. “Seamless

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This is a common plight of busy people. You’re at work, you’re hungry, but you don’t want to make dinner. That’s where Seamless comes in. This simple app has partnered with GrubHub to make finding the exact food you want ridiculously easy. Choose your city, choose the cuisine you want, and with a few taps, that lasagna you’ve been craving will be home waiting for you.


5. “Evernote

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Aren’t we lucky to live in a time when we don’t have to rely solely on poorly-handwritten notes to pass our classes? When you’re at your night class, it’s time to pull out your device and use Evernote, an app that organizes your notes and thoughts into categorized lists. You can even add graphics, images, and diagrams.


6. “Brainscape

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The tagline of the app Brainscape is, “What would you like to learn today?” and although that question might seem impossible to answer with a single app, it really can be done. Subjects ranging from GRE Vocabulary to Haitian French Creole to Music Theory and more are tackled by breaking topics down into digestible, repeated bits. It’ll even give you a “Mastery” score and show you which flashcards need some work.

Andrew Cohen, the founder and CEO of Brainscape created Brainscape to help him study for an adult foreign language class. “I quickly realized that our smart flashcards-based study methods could be applied to tons of other subjects that could be studied in the flashcard format,” he said.


7. “Dropbox

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Dropbox is a lifesaver to today’s adult learners, who often have to change venues to finish assignments. After class, you might go to the library to work on a Powerpoint presentation. Save it in your Dropbox, and that presentation will be available at home on the family computer, your laptop, your son’s iPad, you name it.


8. “Caribu

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Going back to school isn’t easy, especially when it comes to missing your kiddos. If you have a nightly tradition of reading to your kids, but these days, your nightly tradition is hunkering down in a university library, find a quiet corner and use Caribu, an app that integrates video calling and storybooks that your little ones can read along with. Now you might want to go home and get some sleep. It’s been a long day. But it hasn’t felt that long thanks to these apps.