The five free apps every OU freshman needs to get a 4.0.

So, you’re starting at Ohio University next year and you’re worried you won’t be able to get that GPA high enough. Look no further — with some hard work, determination and these five apps, you’ll be on the way to a 4.0 first semester.

Google Drive

Google Drive for iOS.
Google Drive for iOS.

You can’t get a 4.0 if you’ve lost all of your documents!

At the beginning of the semester, I wasn’t saving my work on Google Drive, and for a while I had no problems. But when disaster struck and my computer broke when my phone slid off of my lap into the screen, I was unable to access any of the work I was working on. It was toward the end of the semester, and I had to start several projects and papers over again. It wasn’t fun. At that point, I vowed to save everything I did on my Drive. And just a few weeks when my replacement computer also broke (it actually broke in half, see picture below), I was able to access my files from my phone and the computers at Alden Library. So, even though I was incredibly inconvenienced by my lack of computer, I was able to pick up right where I left off. I learned from my mistakes, and so should you.

Broken computer.
A sad boy and his broken computer.

I use Google Drive all of the time, because as a college student I need to be able to access my files all the time,” said Gaby Godinez, a sophomore studying Integrated Media. “ I like it because it’s easy to understand and it keeps me organized. It’s also so easy to share files and work together on projects when you aren’t together.”

Having all of your documents at your fingertips can be a lifesaver. Are the printers in Alden broken and is your paper due in mere minutes? No problem. Email the document from the Drive app to your professor, and let them know you will print it out as soon as the printers come back online.

While there are other cloud alternatives, Google Drive is great for collaboration, user-friendly and the first 15 GB of stored data is free (and you probably won’t need any more).

 

Download Google Drive here for iOS

Download Google Drive here for Android  

 

Amazon

Amazon app
Amazon for iOS.

Need something in a jiffy? The student six month free trial of Amazon Prime is your best bet. How will this help you get a 4.0? Textbooks, of course! Nearly all textbooks you will need your freshman year are available on Amazon, and with the Prime membership, you’ll get them with two days with free shipping.

“You can wait until after your first few classes and receive the textbooks in a matter of two days. So, it’s very convenient, it save you money, everything is discounted and the products are good quality and easily returnable,” said Libby Chidlow, a junior studying journalism and political science.

Chidlow hasn’t just ordered textbooks with her Prime membership. She orders her daily essentials, like soap, shampoo and face wash because she finds the prices tend to be cheaper on Amazon than at brick-and-mortar stores.

She says she ordered all of her Christmas presents for friends and family members using the app this past December, and when the weather turned warm last week, she ordered a hammock and had it in two days.

“I order from Amazon an unhealthy amount,” Chidlow admitted. “My mom told me I should be an Amazon ambassador.” That’s a thing, by the way.

 

Sign up here for your free Prime account.

Download Amazon here for iOS.

Download Amazon here for Android.  

 

Microsoft OneNote

OneNote for iOS.
OneNote for iOS.

Although I’m not the biggest fan of Microsoft (to each his own), the OneNote application is an excellent app for taking notes and keeping organized in all classes your freshman year. It makes keeping the notes organized easier than with Microsoft Word or other standard text editing software. The mobile apps allow for easy syncing between devices and if you forget your laptop — no problem! Just pull out your phone or tablet and pick up where you left off.

“OneNote syncs all of my notes between all of my devices. It is very easy to set up outlines and bulleted lists,” said Nate Doughty, a freshman studying journalism. “I’m able to draw and highlight and on both phone and with with my laptop which doubles as a tablet. In the past I used Google Docs to take notes, and that was fine, but this is lightyears better for organizational purposes.”

The best part? The full-featured version of OneNote comes with a subscription to Office 365, which is free for all OU students through the Bobcat Depot. You can find a download link from your Catmail when you get your account next year.

Most professors permit computer use for note taking, although some forbid the use of computers, tablets and phones, so make sure you bring a notepad and pen!

 

Download OneNote here for iOS.

Download OneNote here for Android.

 

BB Student

BB Student for iOS.
BB Student for iOS.

If you’re unfamiliar with Blackboard, it’s time to change that. Most professors at Ohio University use Blackboard to post lectures, assignments, discussion questions and even grades. There’s no mobile website, and the full-featured site loses some functionality when viewing on a phone. Have no fear, though, BB Student here!

While it won’t let you do everything you can on the computer, it’s a great way to quickly view upcoming assignments, course syllabi or grades. It’s biggest flaw? It makes you login with your OUID and password every time you launch the app, but otherwise, it’s a great way login to the site when your computer is not in reach.

“I’ll admit, it’s not the best app, but it has definitely made my life a lot easier this year,” said Marianne Dodson, a freshman studying journalism and political science in the Honors Tutorial College.  “I hate that I have to login everytime I open it, but it’s still way more efficient than visiting the site through Safari, because Blackboard doesn’t usually work on there. I can quickly see the contents of my courses and really easily check my grades, which is usually why I open the app.”

 

Download BB Student here for iOS.

Download BB Student here for Android.

 

2048

2048 for iOS.
2048 for iOS.

 

You probably once enjoyed 2048, but have since deleted it to make room for some extra photos or a software update. Well, it’s time to bring it back.

While it’s certainly not the most important app to obtaining a 4.0, everyone needs a study break to clear their mind. And yes, 2048 is a game, but it’s math based and will definitely keep your mind sharp unlike a Netflix break (although those are nice sometimes,too).

Just be careful — it’s addictive!

 

Download 2048 here for iOS.

Download 2048 here for Android.

And here, for a bonus, play online on your computer.

5 essential cooking apps for college students

Finding time to cook real, tasty food in college can be really difficult. Between heavy course loads and extracurricular activities it is often tempting to resort to fast food which can be unhealthy and expensive. Fortunately, there are tons of apps that help students embrace their inner chefs. Here is the best of the best.

  1. BigOven – This app has a recipe for literally anything you could be hungry for, with over 350,000 recipes. It also includes a menu planner, grocery list, and a place to save your favorite tried recipes. The recipes are divided by season, holiday, course, diet etc. making it super easy to find exactly what you are looking for. As an added bonus, this one is completely free.
    1HomeScreen
    from bigoven.com

    2. Allrecipes Dinner Spinner – One cool thing about this app is that it lets you know which ingredients are on sale in stores near you. It also makes it even easier to learn new recipes, because there is over 1000 step-by-step videos. You can search for specific recipes, but you can also utilize the “Dinner Spinner” when you are looking for something more out there. You give your phone a shake and it chooses a dish type, an ingredient and a cooking time, then gives you matching recipes. This app is also free.

     

     

dinnerS_1
Graphic by Erik Zitzermann

3.  Epicurious – Epicurious is well-known as one of the best cooking resources out there and their app is no different. The app generates grocery lists ans has a seasonal section to help with healthier and more local cooking. Epicurious pulls recipes from a lot of different websites so there are over 100,000 recipes. Plus every recipe is rated by other users on a four fork and “would cook again” scale, so you know when you’ve found a good one.

Screen-Shot-2015-01-07-at-2.16.17-PM
Photo from iTunes App Store

4. Yummly – Yummly has tons of search filters so you do not waste any time weeding out ones that do not fit your needs. This app is a great curator, it pulls recipes from Allrecipes, Epicurious, Food52 and popular food blogs. It also has an ingredient scanner, so if you find a cool new ingredient on sale, but do not know what to cook with it, you can scan the item and it will suggest recipes.

yummly_app-300x225

5. Kitchen Stories – This app adds new recipes every week and each episode comes with HQ pictures, how-to videos, step-by-step instructions, downloadable grocery lists and even a list of wine pairings for the 21+ crowd. As always, the app is free!  Kitchen-Stories-App-658x370-f40d900bd417ad86