Top academic apps for high schoolers

With school back in session and finals fast approaching, it’s that time of year where you and your kids are balancing school, homework, extracurricular activities, and family commitments. If you’re looking to give your tween or teen a leg up on the year, here are 10 apps that can help them stay ahead.


Quizlet lets students create digital flashcards, or review study guides made by other students, all via a mobile app. Study whenever, wherever, without having to handwrite and lug around hundreds of notecards. Plus, Quizlet claims that over 95 percent of students who learn with the app improve their grades.


WolframAlpha is a computational knowledge engine. But what does that mean? It utilizes a collection of data and algorithms to answer questions about basically anything. It gives accurate results and even provides instructions for how it arrived at a specific answer.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is an education nonprofit that offers practice exercises and instructional videos to help kids in subjects like math, history, programming, and more. Khan Academy also partners with institutions like MoMA, NASA, and MIT to offer specialized content. It’s a great way for your student to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom.


Instead of the old pen and paper routine, have your high schooler try OneNote to take notes in class. With the OneNote app, they can create a separate notebook for each class, take notes by keyboard or hand, highlight text, import images, and even record audio for their notes. Students can share notes with their classmates.


If your student is looking for additional practice learning a language, or wants to take up Japanese just for fun, Duolingo is a helpful language-learning app. Student learn languages both written and oral, and Duolingo makes learning fun by gamifying progress. They even have courses for High Valarian and Klingon in case you’re looking to impress your friends at the next Star Trek viewing party.


Instead of your student lugging books from class to class, suggest having them download Kindle. Not only can they have their favorite books with them wherever they go, but many textbooks are now available for download.  


Recent research in psychology, neuroscience, and design concluded that doodling can, in fact, help people focus and retain information. If your student isn’t much for pen and paper, have them try the app Paper. They can sketch, doodle, or even take notes in the beautifully designed app as they sit through presentations or lectures.

Find My Phone

Image from: Macworld

Alright, this one may give you even more peace of mind than your high schooler, but with the busyness of the school year, it’s easy to forget where you put a device – the backpack, the car, a soccer bag? The Find My Phone app can help your kiddo locate their phone, tablet or laptop, and in case it’s really lost or even stolen, they’re able to remotely manage or erase personal information from their device. The app is available for both Android and Apple devices.


Instead of cranking up the top 40 to study, encourage your high schooler to use an ambient noise app like Noisli. Consistent background noise helps with focus and productivity. Noisli even lets you mix different sounds to create the perfect environment. Combine rain, a crackling fire, and coffee shop chatter to help cram for an exam or lapping waves with crickets when unwinding from the day.


With hectic schedules and the pressures of being a modern teenager, don’t forget there are apps that can help your high schooler manage stress. The Headspace app walks listeners through guided meditation and breathing exercises that can reduce stress, hone focus, and aid sleep.