The Top 5 Best Notes Apps For College Students (Cross Platform)

college note taking notebooks

When you are in college, class notes are essential. They will help you with assignments, projects, homework, quizzes, and exams. It’s important to take good notes as good note-taking is directly correlated to good grades. And while it’s not necessary to get straight A’s in college, it is necessary to get good grades.

Here are a few other tips and tricks on, How To Get Good Grades In College.

Note-Taking Apps Are Your Second Brain

As digital technology continues to improve, there are more and more apps that can help you take and store your class notes in an organized means. These apps are often referred to as a second brain as they can hold all the data that’s in your head, information, thoughts, and ideas. All five apps can be used on your laptop and mobile device which streamlines the note-taking process. These apps make it convenient to write, store and access your notes making studying both efficient and fun.

Below are my top 5 recommendations for the best cross-platform (Android/IOS/Windows/MacOS) note-taking apps. All of the apps have free versions that are more than adequate for college notes. Test a few of these apps out to find the best one for you. And it’s important to note (pun intended), that all these apps do way more than just take notes. They can organize your tasks, ideas, work—basically your life. They can help you Balance Working And Going To College Full-Time.

1. Notion

Notion allows you to capture notes quickly and organize them however you want, no matter where you are. Organizing and formatting your class notes is super easy as pages have clear navigation. Notion even provides a variety of over 50 free templates that can be customized. Notion also allows you to keep tabs on all your assignments by building detailed lists of to-do’s for all your projects while tracking the status of each one as you progress.

Integrating information from the internet, computer, and other notes is simple. Notion allows you to insert images, videos, and headings, right into its pages. Collaboration is made easy by allowing a group or team to see what everyone is doing in real-time.

Notion note-taking app for college students

2. Obsidian

Obsidian is a powerful knowledge base on top of a local folder of plain text Markdown files. In Obsidian Mind Map helps plan out details and organization in a visual way. Mind Map makes it easy to connect ideas together. Obsidian allows you to use color, images, symbols, fonts, and other things to visualize your idea.

The human brain is non-linear: we jump from idea to idea, all the time. Your second brain should work the same. For those who can’t custom-build a solution for themselves, Obsidian is as close as you can get, with plugins, themes, and custom CSS at your disposal. You can download over 22 core plugins and almost 200 community plugins.  

Obsidian note-taking application for college students

3. OneNote

OneNote is an excellent digital notebook. It’s a cross-functional notebook for all your note-taking needs. You can get organized and sort content across notebooks. You can divide it into sections and pages which makes finding information super easy. OneNote allows you to highlight important content. With easy navigation and search, you’ll always find your notes right where you left them. Revise your notes with type, highlighting, or ink annotations.

With OneNote across all your devices, you’ll never miss a flash of inspiration. Great minds don’t always think alike, but they can share ideas and create together in OneNote. The share feature is great if you want to share notes with classmates or work on a group project. OneNote allows you to draw your thoughts and annotate your notes, using a stylus or finger.

OneNote note-taking apps for college students

4. Logseq

Logseq is note-taking on steroids. It’s definitely more than just your basic note-taking app. Logseq is a privacy-first, open-source knowledge base that works on top of local plain-text Markdown and Org-mode files. Use it to write, organize and share your thoughts, keep your to-do list, and build your own digital garden. Connected thoughts to increase understanding. Many college students use the templet feature to create a templet for each class adding notes, assignments, dues dates, and other class information.

Connect your [[ideas]] and [[thoughts]] with Logseq. Your knowledge graph grows just as your brain generates and connects neurons from new knowledge and ideas. Task management is made easy. Organize your tasks and projects with built-in workflow commands like NOW/LATER/DONE, A/B/C priorities, and repeated Scheduled/Deadlines. Moreover, Logseq comes with a powerful query system to help you get insights and build your workflow.

logseq note-taking app for college students

5. Evernote

Evernote helps students keep their notes organized in one place. It’s very user-friendly. Evernote doesn’t force you to organize a certain way. Create a system of “notebooks”. The “notebooks” feature of Evernote is perfect for college students. After creating a note, you can organize them as different “notebooks”. This is perfect for your college classes as you can create a separate notebook for each course.

Evernote provides a variety of note-taking templates that can be customized. You can enhance notes with checklists, links, attachments, audio recordings, and more. Students love the “tasks” system because it allows them to create tasks and then check them off when they are completed. You can link tasks to your calendar and even set due dates for assignments, projects, and tests.

Any note is a quick search away. Evernote’s Web Clipper lets you save and annotate web pages, images, and PDFs. Character recognition allows you to find notes by searching for keywords, even if the words appear in photos, whiteboard scans, business cards, handwriting, or documents. Evernote works with the apps you rely on, including Google Drive, Slack, Outlook, MS Teams, Zapier, and Gmail. The free version of Evernote offers the ability to sync on two devices.

evernote note app for college students

No. 2 Pencil And College-Ruled Paper

It may seem a little old-fashioned, but I still recommend writing notes by hand because you will retain more information. Take notes physically even if your class allows computers or recorders. Physically writing something down keeps a student engaged as it forces you to pay attention to what is being taught. You learn as you are writing, and you can use the notes to study later. They can help you remember important information for exams and assignments.

I can’t count how many times a professor would mention, “This will be on the test” or “This information is on tonight’s homework”, I would pay special attention to that content, and maybe even ask for clarification or additional information just to be sure I understood it correctly. Handwritten notes make it easier to note these details. Once you are done with a class lecture all you have to do is take your handwritten notes and use your note-taking app to either scan them in or use speech-to-text to dictate the notes. You will be able to add them to your app quickly and efficiently. The best part is they will be at your fingertips when you need them.