Having a smartphone during a class is usually frowned upon by professors, but are they as distracting as they seem? Is there some good that can come from keeping a smartphone with you at all times?

Smartphones can be a student’s best friend or their worst enemy. Sure, smartphones can be distracting but they can also be a big help if you know how to use them correctly. A smartphone is a student’s personal assistant, there to help them with any task whenever they ask. With smartphones that search by voice commands, this can even be taken literally.

What are some ways students can use their phones in a productive way? Why should you keep your phone on your person as often as possible? Read the tips below to find out why.

Checking Your Email

As most college students already know, professors seem to get a kick out of canceling classes, announcing future quizzes, and giving homework feedback via email. One of the best ways to stay updated on everything in your classes is to have an email app on your smartphone. Most smartphones come with email apps already installed, which makes them even easier to use.

Keeping in Touch

One thing that can be difficult for new college students is having to deal with homesickness. Even seniors may miss their friends, parents, or dog every once in a while. That’s why it’s a great idea to have a video chat or texting app on your smartphone. Skype is one of the most popular video apps right now, and most of its features are free, which is great. Some great texting apps are Whatsapp and Telegram, which are free, even for international texts. They only require WiFi connection or cellular data to work. This is a great tool for international students, as international texting on a phone plan can be expensive.

Staying Organized

Did you know that you can type in your appointments and class schedule into the calendar on most smartphones? Well, you can, and it’s great. You can even set reminders so your phone can tell you when an assignment is due or if you need to get to a meeting. Plus, if you always keep your phone with you, it can be easy to remember to update your schedule often. This way, you don’t need to buy a paper calendar or expensive planner to keep track of your assignments.

Citing Your Sources

Citing your sources for papers is a common task in a college, and it’s tedious as can be. Luckily, there are apps that can help. For most citation apps, all you need to do is to put in the URL or book title that you are using for your paper, have the app fill in all of the information it can, and then fill in the gaps yourself. Once that’s done, all you have to do is to copy and paste the results into your works-cited page. Some good websites and apps for this are EasyBib, Citation Machine, CiteFast, and BibMe.


Paper flashcards can get expensive, but they’re honestly more likely to get lost. There are many flashcard apps that you can get for your smartphone. On some apps, you can use pre-made flashcards by subject, or you can make your own. Either way, this is a simple way to study, even while on the go. If you have some time to kill in between classes, just pull out your phone and study. One great app for this is StudyBlue Flashcards.

Custom Essay Writing Services

If you have been too distracted to write your paper before reading some of these great tips, you can also use apps to buy customized essays for your classes online. You can order the essays from the app, download them onto your phone, and then, edit them from there. This way, you can have an example to follow without risking getting caught for plagiarism.

Math Help

Some people have always understood math, but it can be more difficult for others. Luckily, there are some great math apps out there that are sure to be of some use to even practiced mathematicians. There are many apps on smartphones that allow you to use a scientific or graphing calculator. Even when these aren’t free, they are usually cheaper than bulky store-bought calculators, there are even apps like Wolfram Alpha, which is a great tool to use when you are struggling with certain equations.

Block Your Distractions

The apps above can help you stay productive and there are also apps that can keep you from getting distracted in the first place. One of these apps is SelfControl. This app allows you to block certain websites or phone alerts for a certain amount of time. This means you won’t be able to check your Facebook or get distracted by Twitter updates. It also works well because you can’t manually turn off the pre-set timer. You have to wait until it times out which means that you’re forced to stay focused.

It’s true that some smartphone apps can be distracting, but there are also a lot that can be extremely helpful. So long as you are not using your smartphone during classes, your professor is sure not to mind. When you have time in between or after class, try using some of these apps to see if they can make your time in college more productive and enjoyable.