A modern student can’t study well without the use of tech solutions. In 2020 and 2021, e-learning and distance learning came up on top of all educational processes due to the global epidemiological situation – the COVID-19 pandemic. The whole world went remote, and so did schools, colleges, and universities.
The demand for laptops and desktop PC hardware increased significantly. And, of course, many students had to master the art (or craft) of remote studying quickly. To be effective and to get top grades, every student had to install suitable software solutions. Those are apps allowing their computers to fulfill the functions required in learning processes.
A lot of worthy apps are expensive. As long as computer piracy remains illegal, the need for free computer programs for college students will only grow. Fortunately, the quality of free and open-source apps makes them capable of providing the overwhelming majority of students with the wanted level of:
Below, you can find the list of free apps for college, high school, and university students to consider installing. The article focuses on PC and Mac applications that are available at no cost. You won’t find a lot of smartphone solutions directly in the sub-lists below, but most of the apps mentioned there have their Android or iOS versions.
Let’s see what software apps students need the most.
Free Software for Students: Office Packs
You couldn’t expect this list to start with something other than programs for text, table, and presentation editing, could you? Well, here they are.
A Pack of Google Solutions
The pack includes three main components every student should have and know: Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Presentations. Those are equivalents of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, respectively. Though most people use their online browser versions, all office apps by Google can be installed on your computer as client software to use offline. These are probably the very best alternatives if you are bored with what Microsoft offers or simply don’t like their applications.
SoftMaker FreeOffice is, obviously, a free office package including the TextMaker text editor, table processor, and the tool to craft and edit presentations as well. The pack will want you to register for free before you have the opportunity to install it. SoftMaker is much “weaker” than the likely apps by Google or Microsoft.
It is another office package totally compatible with x32/64-bit operating systems, including Windows, GNU/Linux, and macOS, and available for free. The package includes all the necessary solutions, such as the text and presentation editor, table processor, etc. Though, the level of comfort is significantly lower than that of the latest versions of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.
Office 365 for Education
When speaking of free windows software for students, one just can’t omit this one. Although people reasonably think of Microsoft applications as great but expensive software pieces, the company provides direct support to the educational world in general and every student in particular. So, if you are a student at the moment, you only need to create an official Microsoft account (which is free, too) with the use of your school email, and start working in original Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and even Microsoft teams. Yes, at no cost.
Free Software for College Students: Antivirus Apps
Students rarely think about the safety of their data until it’s too late. Of course, the standard Windows Defender became a worthy representative of antivirus software apps. Still, sometimes you may need more advanced solutions to guarantee the safety of your studying info, personal data, school passwords, etc. Free antiviruses can help you here.
Avast Free Antivirus is a solution comfortable and functional enough. Its interface is as user-friendly as it might be. Even a person completely new to these types of apps will feel no difficulties with running it. In addition to regularly refreshing antivirus databases, Avast offers many more or less useful functions and utilities similar to those other companies prefer to sell.
Avast bought AVG developers a couple of years ago. No wonder their products have minor differences in 2021. The main features of AVG compared to Avast are in the other interface and fewer additional modules that don’t increase safety. Maybe, some users will find that even more comfortable and suitable for themselves.
Bitdefender used to be less popular throughout the world in the past. However, it has always been among the best free solutions of its category, taking the most reliable antivirus according to multiple tests by independent and reputable laboratories. The free version of Bitdefender is probably the simplest antivirus app that just works without making you pay too much attention to it.
Top Free Software for Students: 3D Graphics Editors
These are apps not for everyone. Students preparing to become graphic designers, 3D modeling experts, CGI professionals, computer animation and motion design specialists, etc., will find the following three apps useful for sure. In case you are not a graphic design student officially, it is possible for you to master the craft on your own: huge volumes of educational data and detailed guides on using this software can make you a confident expert in the field without even attending profile schools.
Autodesk 3Ds Max
3Ds Max is among the oldest 3D graphic editors by Autodesk, and that is its advantage and, simultaneously, weakness. The company has been gradually developing and expanding the app since the early 2000s, so the set of functions and possibilities it offers is simply huge. The majority of modelers, architects, interior designers, and other professionals started their careers with 3Ds Max. A lot of them are still with this app. It offers comfortable virtualization systems, multiple plug-ins for interior and architecture designs, and endless libraries of different photorealistic models. On the other hand, the interface of this application may make the newcomer feel like a spacecraft pilot during their first day at work.
All in all, this app is a universal solution to work with 3D graphics that has all the modeling functions packed. Officially, 3Ds Max is a paid application, but it is completely free to use for educational and non-commercial purposes.
Blender is a free 3D graphics editor with its Python source code open. The app has a wide set of functions, so it is comfortable not only for newcomers but for professionals, too. Developers position the app as a full-scale solution for 3D editing, sculpting, game development, animation, effects, virtualization, etc.
Throughout recent years, Blender has been becoming more and more popular among industry giants. The built-in 2D editorial module makes it a comfortable solution to use in movies and cartoons, too.
Zbrush Core Mini
Zbrush Core Mini was previously known as Sculptris. It is a freeware app by Pixologic that seems to be comfortable for newcomers. It has the minimum set of functions to avoid overloading beginners with information. So, it is very simple to create your first video game character with Zbrush Core Mini.
Best Software for Students: Useful Applications
Now, it is time to come up with some uncategorized apps that students will still be happy to use. The list below shows system maintenance solutions, communication apps, time-management, and backup programs, as well as some multimedia applications to entertain you a bit during your free time.
CCleaner is probably the most widely known app for system maintenance and cleaning. It is a pre-packed set of tools to delete potentially unnecessary data stored by your browsers, OS, and other apps, to uninstall applications you don’t want to use anymore, and to keep your system’s registry clean to ensure your computer’s smooth performance.
Originally, it was designed to become a perfect communicational platform for gamers. However, many businesses, schools, and communities use Discord in 2021 because of its comfort and great functionality available for free. It’s easy to install, simple to use, and great to exchange information via voice communication, text chatting, or images. The world couldn’t have anything better during the global Game of Lockdowns.
Evernote was one of the pioneers of its niche. Founded in 2002, it was one of the first solutions to make electronic notes and order information. Throughout almost two decades of gradual development, Evernote became a solid and comfortable application mainly oriented towards corporate users.
Still, students will be happy to use it as the electronic organizer, note, and task manager supporting different formats of data, including texts, images and photos, audios, videos, PDF files, web page copies, and many more. Additionally, Evernote allows attaching Microsoft Office and PDF documents to your notes.
All in all, Evernote is a perfect solution to organize the work of an individual or a small group of students. You’ll have to pay for the full functionality version, although the freeware option available for download is more than enough for studying purposes.
Just use it. Seriously.
This one is the most popular and comfortable cloud storage open to use for free. Google Drive services let you upload and keep any files you need in their cloud storage available from any place in the world with stable Internet access. Students of the past could only dream about the possibilities you now have for free.
Google Drive is an ideal solution to store all the backups of your essays, research paper, studying materials, and other critical files. With it, you’ll never be afraid to lose something important right before the final exam due to the operating system or hardware malfunction. You won’t lose all your backups together with that small flash drive. You won’t worry about anything connected to the safety of your studying materials. Google Drive is a must-use solution for any student in the world.
The last but not least important app on the list is connected with something most people enjoy. It’s music. Since the legendary Winamp is not supported anymore, AIMP became its faithful successor.
Spotify will not always be available for you on the go. AIMP playing back all the music files stored on your device with proper quality is something you surely need. And yes, it is there for free download.