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Tech Review: Apps to help college students manage

AT&T launches push-to-talk service for the iPhone.

AT&T launches push-to-talk service for the iPhone. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

The back-to-school spending spree on clothes, computers, electronics, dorm furniture and other items is just beginning. Fortunately for tapped-out college students and their families, these apps can help manage tests and textbooks and handle homework and homesickness, all for free.

GPA & Final Exam Calculator

(Android; free)

As the semester grinds forward, each test and assignment becomes more pivotal in determining a student's final grade. This app can tell you what scores you will need to get on exams to get the grade you are shooting for in each course, and tell you if that elusive "A" is out of reach. It will also calculate your cumulative grade-point average. The app can be customized for each university's grade-weighting system. iOS users can check out the similar Calculate My GPA (free).


(iOS, Android; free)

As the prices of printed textbooks continue to skyrocket, lower-cost e-textbooks are becoming an option. CourseSmart says its catalog of 40,000 titles covers about 90 percent of the core college textbooks used today. Through CourseSmart, e-textbooks are available at a large discount compared to the print versions. With this free app, students can read the books, add notes, highlight text, zoom, search and print pages.


(iOS, Android; free)

For kids away from home for the first time, there's plenty of separation anxiety. Skype has expanded from a Web-only service to become one of the most popular apps for smartphones and tablets. Mobile device users with front-facing cameras can make free video calls to other Skype users. You can make calls to non-Skype users' landlines or mobile phones for a small charge. Newer features include instant messaging and photo sharing.

my Homework Student Planner

(iOS, Android; free)

Scheduling and organizing apps for the harried business person are plentiful, but what about the harried college student? This app keeps track of class schedules, tests and due dates for papers and projects. It will send reminders when scheduled events are near. You can sync the information between a range of devices, including the free Web-based version.

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