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3 Must-Use Apps to Prepare for a New Semester

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Duke chapter.

Alongside the first week of class jitters comes one of my favorite activities – organizing. I find it helpful to gather all of my readings, assignments, and exam dates into one central location, helping me stay on track and not miss any assignments. Before last semester, I spent hours watching YouTube videos and TikToks on the central theme of “how I organize for a new semester.” After countless hours consuming this content, I finally landed on my top 3 must-have apps for organization and productivity. 

  1. Notion

I first found Notion from a TikTok video and quickly became obsessed with the seamless layout and organization tools. In Notion, I have created a master list of every reading, assignment, exam, or project for every class. Obviously, this list looks very overwhelming at first, but I found that it helps me remember every assignment. Plus, it is so satisfying to check off the boxes when I complete an assignment!! Alongside this master list, I create a page for each class where I paste the most important information from the course syllabus (contact info, office hours, grading scale, etc.). Once I set up Notion, it serves as a home base with all the information I need to refer back to throughout the semester. 

2. Google Calendar 

Google Calendar is a pretty standard tool used by college students to organize events and due dates, but I have a tip to make the most out of Google Calendar!

Tip – Create a calendar for each class and select a color that fits your preferences! Having each class in a distinct color can help you visualize what assignments are due and plan time to focus on studying for one class. This method has helped me maximize my studying time and productivity. Having multiple colors also makes it easier to glance at the calendar and know what events or due dates are coming up.  

3. Goodnotes 

If you have an iPad, Goodnotes is a must-use app! You can upload all your PDF readings and write notes or annotations directly on the file, which will save you printing money and help you be a little more environmentally conscious. If you want to maximize the use of your iPad and Goodnotes, you can even create a notebook and write all your notes on your iPad. My favorite part of Goodnotes is the corresponding Mac App. If your iPad and Mac are on the same iCloud account, all your notes and annotations will automatically show up on your computer!  

Hello! I am a freshman at Duke from Hendersonville, NC!