The best back to school apps for Mac

The best back to school apps for Mac

Student, teacher or parent, here are some back to school apps for the Mac you shouldn't be without!

It's that time of year when kids flock back to school and parents collectively breathe a sigh of relief. Some mornings the air is getting crisp and soon the leaves will start to turn - it's back to school time. If you're a Mac-using household and you'd like to get things together for the new school year, I've come up with a list of helpful Mac apps for you to look at. What's more, some of them integrate or complement iOS companion apps.

CourseNotes

CourseNotes

CourseNotes is designed to help you organize class notes. You can track multiple subjects, keep track of assignments and tests, manage to do lists for upcoming assignments, insert images, and, best of all, sync content with CourseNotes for iPad - so if you prefer to take notes in class with an iPad instead of a laptop, you'll still have continuous information.

iFlash

iFlash

Flash cards have been a proven way to memorize important facts and definition since time immemorial. They're integrated into iBooks as well, which Mac users will get when Mavericks ships this fall, but you don't have to wait that long thanks to iFlash. This app is a customizable flash card learning app. But you don't have to create your own - there are 15 different categories of decks (well over 3,000 in total) you can download to get started on right away. You can also print them, and use three different memorization systems.

iStudiez Pro

iStudiez Pro

iStudiez Pro is aimed at students, educators and parents alike. Its organizer can handle alternating (A and B week) schedules, rotating and block schedules and more.You can track homework and assignments, manage group work, view lists of upcoming events and assignments and track grades. It integrates with iCal and it also syncs with its iOS counterpart using Cloud Sync.

Notational Velocity

Notational Velocity

Notational Velocity is a hurry-up-and-get-out-of-the-way note taking app for OS X delivered as open source. It sports features like modeless operation (searching for notes is directly integrated into the primary interface), incremental search, on-the-fly content compression and encryption, and continuous saving. It also works with Dropbox, to make it integrate simply with other Dropbox-enabled apps on iOS devices, like IA Writer, for example.

Schoolhouse

Schoolhouse

Schoolhouse is a full-featured academic management app for students. The software integrates calendar and scheduling, so you can plan assignments and reports, view classes, mark cancellations and absences; organizes tasks using Smart Notebooks; lets you attach files and media; helps you calculate grades, and more.

Whether you're in grade school, high school, college or doing postgrad work, your needs are different - what did I leave off the list? Tell me in the comments.

Peter Cohen

Managing Editor of iMore, Mac and gaming specialist and all-around technologist. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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Reader comments

The best back to school apps for Mac

14 Comments

What about Evernote? Do you think it should be on your list? If not, why not?--just curious because I want to advise my teens, thanks!

I don't particularly like Evernote because they push you to subscribe to their premium service or you're stuck with limitations like the inability to read notebooks. Having said that, Evernote will probably end up on the roundup of Mac notetaking apps that I'm working on.

I've used both for years and I think they could be helpful - especially in case you already get your stuff done using these apps. I wouldn't promote those to students too much, but I think educators can benefit from GTD workflows pretty well.

These are supposed to be for students. The apps are expensive, aren't there any free ones for students? Would be better recommendations if they were free.

There's a free app on the list and the most expensive one caps out at $15. I guess you and I have different definitions of expensive.

You want it for free? Easy!
Use the included Apple apps (Notes, Calendar, Reminders, Preview/iBooks...) plus Notational Velocity (free, see above).

Another vote for Evernote. It's versatile and you can create links of notes and paste them into other apps as text links. Many 3rd party apps support this feature, even on iOS. And that's exactly what you need when you have to deal with schedules, notes and stuff all the time. To attach files to a note, just drop some links and you are done.

I bought Scrivener for my daughter when she started the 9th grade. At first she was overwhelmed and it took her awhile to figure out how to use it. Now's she's a senior and it's her goto app for her AP classes. It's well worth the money.

Schoolhouse isn't a great recommendation. The app hasn't received any updates in years and is pretty much abandoned. I know it frequently crashes on post-lion operating systems. Istudiez is a very good app though that i've had for years.