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How to load up on apps for back-to-school season

Inside Apps gets you ready for the new school year.

The new school year can be hectic enough.

So I figured that I would round up some useful smartphone apps for students trying to survive their first few days back at school. While I assume this column will be read by college students starting a new semester or quarter, I can only imagine younger kids and parents can find some use in this as well.

Given the increase in smartphone use across all ages, I wouldn't be surprised. Fortunately, much of the advice applies to everyone.

Some of these may be obvious, but hopefully not all of them are.

The first one, however, is fairly obvious. If you don't have Evernote, you should download it now. The app is a fantastic tool for anyone who buries their head in one electronic gadget or another.

If you don't know what it is, it's a cloud-based note-taking app that automatically syncs from device to another. Transcribe your English notes on your laptop, and they'll show up on your smartphone whenever you need them.

Another useful app is Pocket. The app allows you to save websites, news articles, or online research documents for offline reading later on. This is perfect for that long subway ride when there's no Internet connection. It's even more useful if you have a tablet with no Wi-Fi or cellular connection.

MyMajors is another great app for college students or high school students interested in thinking about their next move. The app is a student assessment tool that helps students figured out what major and which college to attend. The app includes a quiz, and also enhances the marketing material from participating college. It also provides a handy list of email, phone, and text information for each college, making actual communications a snap.

One attractive alarm clock. Doubletwist

Evernote is available on every major platform, from iOS to Android and BlackBerry and Windows Phone. Pocket is available on iOS, Android, and the Kindle Fire, while MyMajors works on iOS and Android only.

For many students, the start of a new school year means they actually have to wake up at a normal hour. For Android users, why not wake up in style? Doubletwist offers a more attractive alarm clock than the typical stock version.

The two versions -- an analog clock and retro flip clock -- can be tied to your favorite tunes, giving you a wake-up call of your choosing.

Google+ Hangouts in Mobile, available on iOS or Android, is a great way for college students living away from their family to keep in touch via video chat. The app allows you to chat with up to nine people at once with your mobile device.

Of course, for iOS devices, there's iTunes U. The app gives you access to tons of free educational resources, including whole courses taught by instructors at major universities.

If you have a textbook via iBooks, you can highlight and scribble notes and see them a consolidated form iTunes U. You can also share courses and notes with your less organized friends.

There are still tons of other apps that will get you ready for the school year. Hopefully, these will help you along the way to finding all the ones you need.