The summer after high school graduation is a time to prep for the big change up ahead—college! If you have a new high school grad in the house, you’re likely nearly as preoccupied as he or she is with questions about how to prepare, what college life will be like and more. Also, there’s no doubt that as technology continues its own rapid-fire evolutionary pace, apps and other digital helps will become increasingly significant to college success. These great apps—all cheap or free—can help prepare your incoming freshman for the changes, challenges and choices college will present.

1. iCollege Guide (for iTunes)

iCollege Guide isn’t just helpful for students who haven’t yet applied to college. It’s also an invaluable resource to help newly accepted students (and their parents) learn all the ins and outs of their new campus, including financial aid and expense estimation tools.

2. Rate My Professors

More than 1 million professors at 6,000 colleges are listed in this free database that helps students get the lowdown on whether or not to enroll in a particular professor's class. Students can read reviews posted by other students, contribute their own reviews, and learn more about what classes are like. The website also has an interesting page called "Professors Strike Back."

3. Big Words

In a New York Times review, the app purportedly saves users an estimated 35% off required college textbooks. The app also includes a price comparison tool and options to buy, rent, or sell textbooks—a money saver all around!

4. gFlash+ Flashcards & Tests

gFlash is an awesome flashcard app that lets you study and cram all the way up to the moment the test begins. You can even use the app to create shareable flashcards for group study sessions; integrate your flashcards with Google Docs; take advantage of the self-tests, quizzes, and self-scoring features and more.

5. MyHomework

This handy app helps both new and experienced college students stay organized all semester long. You can keep your course syllabi handy, store and share class materials and notes, receive announcements from professors and much more.

6. Square Wallet

Worried your distracted new college student will put his or her wallet down somewhere and fall prey to thieves or identify theft? Square Wallet gives you peace of mind in several ways. The app stores credit cards, debit cards and loyalty cards all in one place—on your phone. The GPS locator authenticates local purchases. There is no need to carry a purse or a wallet with Square Wallet.

7. Mint

More than 13 million users trust Mint's online and app-based financial management tools. Mint helps your college student learn budgeting from the ground up. It’s easy to manage all your finances, view balances, make payments, run reports, receive alerts and avoid late fees and oh-so-much more.

8. Circle of 6

Circle of 6 is the security app to send with your student off to college. This free app collects six trusted friends and instantly sends a "come and get me" message (via SMS) with your student's exact location. The app has been praised by Vice President Joe Biden, Cosmopolitan magazine, Tech for Good and is the 2011 Winner of the "Apps Against Abuse" technology challenge. Get it for your student—get it for your whole family.

 

 

8 Apps to Help Your Grad Transition Smoothly into College