Back to School Guide 2015

The Only Items You Need For the Year Ahead

The Business School Student


Microsoft Office Lens

Liberate your ideas from the whiteboard or dinner napkin! This image-scanning app easily converts your doodles or documents into easy-to-read and searchable Word, Powerpoint, or PDF files.

Free, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone


Save, organize, and share your brain-bursting ideas while homing in on must-haves such as the elevator pitch and the specific problem you're looking to solve.

$4.99, iOS

Paper by 53

When it comes to presentations, studies show that drawing on a whiteboard can be more effective than a polished Powerpoint. With this sketching app, they can be just a little bit less crude: It automatically turns illegible stream-of-consciousness flowcharts into tidy boxes.

Free, iPad


13" MacBook Air

There's a reason this has become the de facto laptop for most students: It does everything you need and won't weigh down your bag at that critical networking cocktail party.

Essential Wear

To Boot chukka boots



Sony RX100-III Camera

About as good as a pocket-able camera can get.

$798, B&H Photo


Give and Take by Adam Grant


David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell


Contagious by Jonah Berger


The Engineering Student



Crunch just about any number: Wolfram Alpha’s app gives you access to its vast library of data and algorithms. Bonus: Instead of just spitting out answers to your problems, it shows you the step-by-step solution.

$3, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Kindle

Autodesk ForceEffect Motion

There was a time when simulating how designs would function in the real world involved a whole lot of math, a whole lot of time, and a whole lot of opportunity to insert error. This simulation tool takes your designs and turns them into living, breathing, moving, functional systems.

Free, iOS and Android

Mathlab Graphing Calculator

Cheaper than your old TI, and it displays the ongoing calculations as it drives toward answers. (Great for the all-important "showing your work.")

Free, Android, Kindle, Nook


Dell XPS 13

With the release of Windows 10, there hasn't been a better time to buy a PC, and this one combines good industrial design with top-notch performance.

Essential Wear

COS cotton raincoat



Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless Headphones

The best of warm Bowers & Wilkins sound without all the cables getting in your way.



Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell


Brave New World by Aldous Huxley


Principles of Mathematics by Bertand Russell


The English Major



The word-processing program designed specifically for writers. Move chapters, quotes, and scenes around with ease while organizing your ideas and adding notes and annotations.

$44.99, Windows and Mac


Chances are, your word processor's grammar check lets its share of errors slide. This Chrome extension gives your computer a far smarter grammar and spelling check and instantly lets you know when you're mucking things up.

Free for basic version, Chrome


Serious reading and writing often requires serious silence. This app features a library of thousands of background sounds (white noises, rolling waves, thunderstorms) that are designed to make noisy environments feel as quiet as a library.

$2.99, iOS, Android


Google Chromebook Pixel

The Pixel's bright touchscreen and fast processor are perfect for watching Netflix or catching up on Pinterest—while writing that important paper about consumerism in Dickens's novels, of course.

Essential Wear

Burberry Brit Splash eau de toilette



Etymotic HF5 Earbuds

These sound way better than any of those fashion earbuds you'll find at the campus book store.



Some Versions of Pastoral by William Empson


The Infinitessimals by Laura Kasischke


Citizen by Claudia Rankine


The Law Student


Black's Law Dictionary, 10th Edition

Black's is the Merriam-Webster of legal dictionaries, a must-have on any aspiring attorney's shelf. It's also really, really bulky. The mobile version fits on your phone and provides audio pronunciations of many hard-to-tongue terms.

$55, iOS

Wolters Kluwer LawInAFlash

This series of flash card apps let students study up on bar basics–or specific legal topics.

$9.99-$29.99, depending on topic, iOS and Android

Kaplan Bar Review

Studying for the bar? This Kaplan app lets you chart your course progress, take on-the-go quizzes, download lectures, and stare at flashcards until your eyes bleed.

Free for Kaplan online course subscribers, iOS and Android


Surface Pro 3

It's actually a tablet with the power of a laptop: When you're done cramming you can pop off the keyboard and browse more easily during a much-needed study break.

Essential Wear

Club Monaco Made in the USA striped shirt



Bonavita 8-Cup Digital Coffee Maker

You need coffee, and this machine lets you think about having to make it as little as possible.



The Rule of Law by Tom Bingham


Letters to a Law Student by Nicholas McBride


Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg