Top Mac apps for college students: reach new academia heights

174.4K views
11 min read

Living through the college period is like going on a hike. Sometimes, "What was I even thinking about?!" echoes in your head, but the higher you get, the more captivated you become by the new horizons unfolding before you.

Just as hiking gear makes your journey more comfortable and pleasant, so do college apps for students. With such a variety of apps available on the market, it might seem like studying has never been easier.

But here lies the challenge: how to find the best fit among such a diverse array of options?

In this article, you'll learn how to organize your MacBook for studying and discover the curated list of the best Mac apps for students.

What is the most useful app for students?

Would you like to spend less time organizing the studying process, and more learning the new?

That's when college apps for students come to the rescue. Why compromise on any aspect of your life when you can stay organized and focused on what matters most? Here are some of the key benefits Mac apps can bring into your life:

  • Keeping your study materials organized and easily accessible
  • Boosting efficiency through time tracking and task management tools
  • Striking balance between academic success and personal life
  • Helping to easily collaborate with your classmates
  • Enhancing the learning process with interactive study tools
  • Keeping your data safe and sound with encryption features.

The best part? There are Mac apps available for almost any part of your student life — productivity, note-taking, language learning, finance management, and much more. Let's dive deeper into each of these groups.


Study organization and productivity

Subjects: Organize your study life

This is one of the best Mac apps for students, as it assists with the main studying aspect — management. Juggling assignments, schedule changes, and group projects might be indeed challenging, but not with Subjects. Its minimalistic and user-friendly structure and design transform daunting management tasks into a simple organizing process.

With Subjects, you can easily track your classes with an easy-to-read timetable and manage your past and upcoming assignments, including descriptions, due dates, and grading weights. The app also allows you to share your class schedule, homework, and any necessary details with your classmates.

Subjects timetable

TaskPaper: Simplify your task management

Distraction can feel like the final boss in the concentration game. But fear not — TaskPaper is here to help. This app for both teachers and students helps to cut through distractions and focus on what really matters — simple text lists. Why fuss with complex settings when you can easily manage editable lists?

The process is simple: organize your lists using four main entities — projects, tasks, notes, or tags — and personalize them by adjusting fonts, colors, backgrounds, or themes. And if needed, set reminders by adding a date to your task and exporting it to Apple's Reminders app.

TaskPaper simple text lists

Session: Stay concentrated and productive

This gem among Mac apps for college students helps to maximize productivity through the Pomodoro technique. It offers a simple yet powerful way to organize your workflow: no distractions, short studying sessions, and regular breaks. Besides, Session works wonders when it comes to analytics, allowing you to analyze your progress over time.

Session - Pomodoro focus timer


Learning the new

Headway: Dive into insights in minutes

College students typically lack two things: experience and spare time for activities beyond gaining that experience. That's where Headway, one of the essential Mac apps for college students, comes in handy. With a library of 1,500+ book summaries, you can get insights, thoughts, and ideas from the most popular nonfiction books in less than 15 minutes.

With Headway, you always receive book recommendations tailored to your personal goals. To stay motivated, you can take on challenges to earn trophies, set daily goals to maintain strikes, and explore new collections. Or simply get an everyday dose of new ideas from 10 books, spending only 3 minutes on all of them.

Headway book recommendations

Studies: Learn new things with ease

Remember the joy of learning new words with flashcards as a kid? Well, studying can be just as fun and easy now with Studies, one of the best Mac apps for students. Whether you're memorizing the aspirin molecule, a poem's fifth line, or the date of the Battle of Waterloo, turn it into study notes.

The app helps you schedule your study sessions according to your goals, whether long- or short-term learning, aiming for a deadline, or regular intervals. Additionally, you can check the statistics and predictions to analyze your progress, paying attention to mistakes and retention periods.

Studies, a flashcard app to help you memorize things

Mate Translate: Translate everything everywhere

Why limit yourself to information in just one or two languages? How about expanding that number to 103? This app for both teachers and students gives access to any needed information, whether it's in Greek or Esperanto.

With Mate Translate, you can translate words, phrases, and sentences directly in Safari or any app you use. No need for that tedious "looking for a translator tab" story. Simply click on the menu bar, and you're all set. In a hurry? Feel free to use the speech translation feature. Like we said: translate everything everywhere.

Mate Translate app


Note-taking and document management

MarginNote: Craft advanced notes

Creating notes through college apps for students has transformed from messy piles of sticky paper into the art of crafting a well-organized web of thoughts and ideas. Well, at least it's the experience you get with MarginNote.

This e-reading app is full of advanced features: various annotation modes, a mind-mapping option, and even the ability to link texts from different books and turn notes into flashcards.

It even allows you to search for more information using integrated research tools such as Wikipedia, Quora, Google Scholar, and others. 

MarginNote,a PDF editor, mind-mapping tool, that can generate flashcards to better study and digest your books

Craft: Make notes like a pro

Craft stands out among Mac apps for college students because it excels in note-making like no other. Studying with its help is like stepping into Narnia: you're surrounded by endless possibilities for organizing and personalizing your thoughts, ideas, or tasks. But wait, the best part is yet to come — its interface is minimalistic and easy to navigate.

With Craft, making notes is exciting, as you can choose from dozens of templates with detailed structure and customize it in any way you'd like. On top of that, you can ask AI to help you with various tasks, such as creating a summary or outline, translating the text, or rewriting it in a different tone.

Craft, a note-taking app, word processor, to-do list, and personal organizer

MindNode: Turn thoughts into ideas

A quick fortune-telling seance: MindNode will be on the list of the best Mac apps for students at your college. How do we know? Just take a look at its simple, intuitive interface and aesthetic design. When your head is a whirlwind of chaotic thoughts, pour them into this app, and, as if by magic, you'll experience that 'aha!' moment with a clear vision of the whole picture.

Express your thoughts in various ways, including not only words, but also notes, stickers, tags, tasks, and more, using outlining and mind mapping. MindNode also offers an array of themes, stickers, and emojis, allowing you to fine-tune every detail to your preferences.

MindNode brainstorming app


Writing and editing

MonsterWriter: Manage academic texts easily

MonsterWriter is one of those college apps for students that help you focus on what really matters. When it comes to writing, all you need is an easy-to-use tool for editing and improving your text, right? MonsterWriter has it all.

In addition to typical formatting features, it helps with more challenging aspects of college writing: annotations, references, and footnotes. Here, you can choose the citation style, restructure your document anytime, and even create a to-do list. Everything to rest assured that A+ will be in your pocket.

MonsterWriter app

Ulysses: Create texts expertly

This app for both teachers and students is like a Wonderland full of endless writing and editing possibilities. Revision mode, markdown editor, various export styles, iCloud sync, publishing feature — this list goes on and on.

Yet, Ulysses remains simple and well-structured. All your texts are stored in a single library and there is no fancy formatting until your text is exported. Then, it's automatically formatted. Ulysses calls it "plain text enhanced," and we can't say more.

Ulysses writing app


Document management

Prizmo: Convert images into text

At college, books, documents, and other papers will swamp your everyday life, so it's better to be prepared. Prizmo is one of those Mac apps for college students that will back you up by converting anything on paper into searchable text in 29 languages.

Why make dozens of copies, risking losing them at every turn? It's neither practical nor eco-friendly. Instead, simply take a photo or upload what you need from a scanner and let Prizmo do all the work for you. With its powerful optical character recognition (OCR), editing toolkit, iCloud sync, text-to-speech feature, and translation into 56 languages, this process will become a breeze for you.

Prizmo OCR app

Nitro PDF Pro: Edit PDFs on a pro level

Why lug around a ton of textbooks when you can keep them just a few clicks away? Especially with Nitro PDF Pro, one of the best Mac apps for students seeking a powerful PDF editing tool.

This app unlocks endless possibilities for working with PDFs. Add not only headers, footers, and bookmarks, but also notes, comments, scribbles, and even audio messages. You can also attach links, documents, clickable buttons, or forms, and even request e-signatures. On top of that, you can convert scans into editable text using OCR.

Nitro PDF Pro editor


Presentation and screen recording

Presentify: Improve your presentations

If you're not a time traveler from the past, you definitely know that presentation tools are a must-have, especially during college. That's why Presentify, a handy app for both teachers and students, should be on your list.

With this app, you can easily spruce up your presentations, video tutorials, or online demos by adding annotation to key ideas and highlighting your cursor. If you need a clear space instead of making scribbles on top of your apps, no worries! You can use a whiteboard and even customize its color.

Presentify annotation mode

CleanShot X: Streamline your screenshots workflow

Yes, it's time to get that screenshot game in order. No, a cluttered desktop with random images isn't the solution. Luckily, CleanShot X, one of those must-have college apps for students, is here to rescue you.

It's the ultimate screen-capturing tool that simplifies the process of taking screenshots, creating GIFs, and recording your screen with 50+ features. With annotation, scrolling capture, video editing, CleanShot Cloud storage, text recognition (OCR), and more, your screenshot workflow gets a major upgrade.

CleanShot X's screenshot editing feature

Teleprompter App: Capture streamlined videos

Projects, presentations, and virtual meetings will all play a part in your college life. If you want the video shooting process to be smooth and seamless, it's better to add Teleprompter App to your toolkit.

This is one of those Mac apps for college students that displays the text on the screen while recording your speech at the same time. Teleprompter allows you to adjust text, edit video, add logos, and customize captions, making it perfect for both those who feel nervous when recording and content creators.

record videos without having to remember all lines


Finance management and calculations

MoneyWiz 2023: Manage your budget

Keeping track of your finances after an endless amount of time studying might be quite a challenge. Unexpected expenses might pop up out of nowhere. But no worries, with MoneyWiz 2023, a must-have app for both teachers and students, you can stay on top of your finances.

Track your balances and transactions, manage your income and expense budgets, and keep an eye on your bills — all with this app. While it offers many advanced features for those who are into finances, it remains user-friendly for beginners.

manage your income and expenses with MoneyWiz 2023

Soulver: Calculate with plain English

Ever tried to split the check with friends without feeling your head spin? Or struggled to calculate how many days are left until your first exam? Say goodbye to mental math struggles with Soulver, one of the best Mac apps for students in these kinds of situations.

Simply describe what you need to calculate or convert with both numbers and words to get an accurate answer. Soulver works with dates, time, proportions, currency, volume, and even weather. The app you didn't know you needed but can't live without anymore.

Soulver calculation app


Make college apps your studying buddies

Conquering college Everest doesn't seem so challenging with such a toolkit by your side, does it? After all, being prepared is half the victory.

If you'd like to explore these and many more Mac apps for college students, why not try them at no cost for seven days via Setapp? It's a subscription service offering access to 240+ apps for Mac, iOS, and the web, ready to power up your study.

Every app on this list is available as a part of Setapp subscription and we have an Educational discount for a whole year. Try it out and see the difference a good toolset makes in studying.

240+ apps for $9.99
per month

Sign up to Setapp and try them for free.

Security-tested