As college students, we live by our cell phones — we use them to connect with friends, take photos, and even do schoolwork. Despite criticism from older generations, we know that our smartphones, and the wealth of information that they provide at the touch of a button, are helping us stay connected, safe, happy, and healthy. Here are some applications that are most valuable for making sure you can do just that:
Yelp is invaluable to the traveling student. If you’re new to the area where your college is located, or you like to take trips with new friends, Yelp can help you find local businesses to explore. Input any city, or your current location, to find a myriad of places to go in several distinct categories. Use the app to search for nearby restaurants, hotels, or even clubs. You can also search “things to do” when bored, and Yelp will provide you with boredom-breaking suggestions. The app also allows a space for user reviews for each business, so you can pick the best restaurant for dinner, and it can even connect to a GPS app to provide directions to the places you’ve found.
Pinterest isn’t just for outfit ideas. This image searching tool can be used for numerous activities, including self-promotion, idea sharing, and event planning. It operates like a search engine for pictures, which link to blogs and other websites. Virtually every industry has a following on Pinterest, from teachers looking for classroom designs and activities, to writers sharing prompts and publishing information. The app provides a happy medium between recreation and valuable information, and is important to keep handy in case you ever need inspiration for a project.
3. Circle of 6
This safety app is invaluable, especially for college students on larger campuses. With Circle of 6, you provide up to six emergency contacts that can be alerted when you need help. You can send pre-typed messages to these contacts asking them to call you for a distraction, texting them that you need to talk, or even providing them your location so they can come help. Stay safer on campus with this app.
Save yourself from writing out citations one by one for all of your papers: try EasyBib! This app allows you to scan the barcode on the back of a book, and it will automatically cite it for you. You can also input ISBN numbers or simple URLs to cite websites. If the app can’t find the information, just fill in the boxes and the app will format it for you. You can save entries into bibliographies and access them from your computer, phone, or tablet. For an extra fee, they offer citation makers for even the most obscure citation styles that your professors may request.
For readers, GoodReads is one of the most useful book tracking apps. You can label books as read, currently reading, or want to read, so you have a log of all the work you’ve done. You can also write and read user reviews on virtually any novel in existence. GoodReads will suggest books to read based on your past reviews and ratings, and can even connect you with your favorite contemporary authors. For readers, English majors, and anyone who doesn’t want to forget what they’ve read, GoodReads is your go-to app. Your friend’s “want to read” list is also the perfect place to look for gift ideas!
Movie tickets on the go? Refund if you end up not being able to go? Yes please! Fandango partners with thousands of movie theaters to provide you a single app to buy movie tickets, instead of showing up to the theater for a sold out show. You can get tickets early, and if something comes up, Fandango account holders can get a refund (and making an account is free). For even the occasional movie lover, this app is vital for your device.
7. S Health or FitBit
Track your steps, weight, water consumption, activities, calories, or any other fitness-related stats on one of these apps. While S Health is only available on Samsung devices, there are equivalents like FitBit that do exactly the same thing for other operating platforms including other Android and IOS devices. Keep track of your health and fitness no matter where you are by keeping this app on your phone.
For note taking, this should be every college student’s go-to app. Grab your iPad and stylus and you’re golden. Penultimate allows you to handwrite notes (and save a lot of time) to save for later. You can categorize them into notebooks for each class or event for easy access later. The best part is that you can rest your hand on the screen while writing, like you would a sheet of paper, and it won’t mark up the paper where you don’t want it. This smart app is also hugely customizable, with several ink color options, the ability to highlight, and even dozens of paper template designs — from wide or college ruled lines to graphs, games, and even musical staffs. Once you try Penultimate, you’ll never want to use pen-and-paper again!
Why spend $1.29 on one song, when you can have virtually any track in the world all on one app? Make playlists, listen to specific artists, and even start a “radio” station of similar songs all on Spotify, instead of having several different music applications taking up space on your phone. All of these features are available for free on any device, but on a desktop or laptop computer, you can use the Spotify app to play any song, on demand, at any time. You can do the same on your phone or tablet if you pay the fee (only $5 per year for college students), as well as save songs and playlists to listen to without data connection, offline. For this small fee, Spotify can be your one-stop shop for all things music.
10. Personal Banking App
Don’t be caught without money — get the app of your personal bank so you can make transfers or deposits on-the-go. This can be especially useful if your college is far from home: you can access your accounts right from your smartphone, even when you won’t be near a branch location for months at a time.
Get the most out of your smartphone by keeping these apps right at your fingertips, especially throughout your college years.