Apple users are all-too-familiar with the "app store," be it the one on the iPod, iPhone or iPad. The app store has surpassed 10 billion downloads, and now they've got yet another store for yet another Apple device: their actual computers.
Yes, the intuitive move to end all intuitive moves has happened: the iMac/MacBook app store. Not only does it mean that users can play Angry Birds HD on their computer -- it means that software mainstays like "Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing" isn't tethered to the increasingly-more-ancient CD, and that Apple products like iPhoto or iMovie can now be downloaded alongside apps for the Kindle or Twitter.
So what does this mean for college students (aside from giving them yet another way to download Peggle)?It means that the computer that they bought for a new semester has just received a new batch of software to help students keep track of their finances and schoolwork. Let's take a look at a few of the new app store's offerings that could help them.
LoanStar, 99 cents
Aside from being an awesome pun on the Texas nickname, LoanStar does exactly what the puntacular title implies: It helps keep track of loans. Seeing as how two-thirds of graduating college students in 2007-2008 left school in debt (according to FinAid), it's an app that definitely has an audience potential. The app calculates total interest, monthly payments, and solves for loan amounts. LoanStar is set up as a basic spreadsheet, and it can export into Excel.
However, as one reviewer points out, there are free spreadsheet applications (like the aforementioned Excel) that could theoretically make the same calculations. However, since LoanStar is focused on the mathematics inherent to loans, it could be worth the dollar to skip the hassle of trying to figure out the calculating side of Excel.
College, in many cases, marks a level of independence that is sometimes a first for some students. Yes, independence can mean partying without having to worry about coming home to concerned parents, but it also means having to keep track of rent, utilities, food bills and other costs of living. Sometimes, it's hard to keep track of it all when coming up with a budget for the first time.
Savings is an app that helps organize every financial aspect in a person's life. It keeps track of credit cards, money in the checking account, money in savings, expenses and income. It's an app that helps create a realistic budget for someone based on their spending history. Also, if you've lost track of a transaction, Savings has a quick search tool that helps you track down the expense in question.
And while we're on the subject of organization, let's talk about Schoolhouse. It isn't a finance app, but it is an app that's specifically designed to help college students organize their lives. And hey, what's more important in college finance than making sure you get your money's worth by completing every assignment? Essentially, Schoolhouse is a robust, interactive day planner specifically designed for students.
Schoolhouse allows for students to lay out their course schedule and class schedule in their calendar section. Of course this could also be done in iCal, the standard Mac calendar app, but Schoolhouse still has more to offer:
The app also helps students keep tabs on their grades and build lists of homework and upcoming exams. From the day the syllabus is handed out up until you've got a stack of graded papers in hand, Schoolhouse helps you keep track of all of the assignments and grades in a semester.
While the "digital day planner" is certainly appealing to some people, using word processors, spreadsheets and calendar applications could be enough for others to bring all of their classes together. What Schoolhouse aims to do is create an all-encompassing hub of school-based organization.
And what can students do with Schoolhouse that they can't do with a planner? They can utilize the Internet. Many courses today utilize class blogs or websites, and Schoolhouse makes it easier to find web assignments by making it possible to link into a class or school site. That's something a day planner definitely can't do.
Take note that there are more class organization apps in the Education category on the app store, such as iHomework ($2.99).
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