College is harder than ever, so you need all the tools you can get.
By Quintara Hatten, University of South Carolina-Columbia
In addition to studying, students use apps for a variety of reasons, from personal entertainment to paying bills to meeting their future spouses.
But, if you’re student searching for some technological one-ups to help you through college, Apple and Android have some amazing products just sitting on the electronic shelf. A lot of students have apps that they couldn’t live without, but there are still some mobile helpers that students shouldn’t live without.
Here are the ten best apps for students.
Managing money while in college can be a struggle; trust me, I know. Wanting to devote time to your classroom responsibilities and to your social life can take a hit on your pockets. Mint is a budgeting app that can help undergrads keep track of their finances, as well as help them understand where they can make some budget cuts of their own.
Mint securely connects to your bank account and helps you automatically input purchases. Easy right? It saves you the time of entering every purchase into the app, and helps you break down each of your transactions into categories. The app even goes as far as breaking down ATM withdrawal fees, which serves as a reminder to avoid those stupid expenses in the future.
Another great aspect of Mint is that you can set a budget for how much you want to spend that month. For example, if you need to spend only $200 on groceries, the app will send alerts and remind you of your budget. Seeing that little red reminder and how much you can spend can help you in the long run.
For all its benefits, the best feature of the app is its debt-payoff planner, a function that helps you find the most effective way to pay off your debt. Users can prioritize this feature by figuring out their debt from highest to lowest balance, or from highest to lowest interest rate. So, whether you want to pay off your student loan or that credit card, Mint can do the math you can’t in order to find out what works best for you. Instead of being bad and bougie with your finances, go forth and be fine and frugal.
Wherever you go to college, your safety should be a priority, and LiveSafe wants to help colleges prevent sexual assault and violence.
The smartphone app helps empower students to report an incident before one has even occurred. Using the app, students can report a problem silently via text, or even anonymously, and also have the ability to attach pictures, video and audio files.
LiveSafe even has a feature called “SafeWalk” that enables a GPS feature to help friends and family keep a digital eye on your whereabouts. The feature has an icon that allows you to notify campus officials and even your local police department about any misgivings you have about a situation.
Group projects—either you love them or you hate them (guilty). When the fate of your grade depends on working together, one bad apple can ruin the whole bunch. While GroupMe can’t force the group slacker to pull their fair share, it can facilitate easier communication.
GroupMe was designed to help you interact via group chat like a discussion forum, but, because you don’t have to meet up anywhere, everyone in the group saves time and money by making plans and discussing problems on their phones.
If you happen to land yourself in a situation like me and need to freshen up on your foreign language skills, Duolingo is a godsend.
This free, language-learning app offers over ten languages, from Spanish to Italian. It works by helping you set goals each week and learn different skills, which allows learners to move from the basics all the way up to complex sentence structure.
So, whether you took your foreign language three months or three years ago, Duolingo is focused on helping you learn the language, not just retain information.
5. My Fitness Pal
For most students, learning how to juggle personal responsibility and stay healthy is one of college’s biggest challenges. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with splurging on cheat meals and adult beverages, but why not keep count of those calories?
By using My Fitness Pal, you can keep track of the calories you are consuming, which allows you to make informed decisions about your diet. The app can also help keep track of how much you’re exercising, as well as your water intake, so it can pretty much become your one-stop shop for personal health. Plus, the app never becomes a “one size fits all” gadget either, as you can adjust the settings to fit your lifestyle.
6. Your University App
If you’re attending a huge university like I am, keeping up with the events going on around campus can be difficult. If that’s the case with you, check out your school’s app, as it probably has all the information you need right in the palm of your hands.
Not only can they help you keep up with events, but college apps often help you store information such as contacts, valuable links and even grade portals, like Blackboard. Download your university app today and see what has in store for you.
Everyone deserves a mental break. To maintain proper mental health, you should take a few minutes rest for every hour you study. But, for those students who want to improve their mental health, not just maintain it, the Headspace app is the perfect place to start. It acts like a personal trainer for meditation, taking just ten minutes a day to guide your brain toward developing meditation muscle-memory.
Though Headspace only offers a ten-day trial, I recommend giving it a shot and seeing if the regime helps you out. If nothing else, the app is a daily reminder that for ten minutes a day, you should calm down, breathe, dislocate yourself from your stresses and surroundings, and try to focus on how you’re feeling on a deeper level.
I had the pleasure of learning about Easybib, an online citation generator, through a professor in the beginning of my college career. If you’ve ever been in a situation in which, after a long night of writing an essay, you find yourself trying to remember all the miscellany of punctuating a bibliography, you know the value of a simple plug-and-chug system for your works cited.
With EasyBib, you just tell the app what kind of bibliography you’re constructing, and then fill out the forms. If you want an even easier experience, if you have the physical copy of the textbook, you can just scan its ISBN and the app will create a citation that way.
My only suggestion? Double-check to see what Easybib created. Although the app is helpful, user error is common (oops), and occasionally the app itself will mispopulate a field.
Since you’re on your phone anyway, it makes a lot of sense to make your to-do list digital as well. With Wunderlist, you can set easy reminders for yourself that will improve your efficiency without giving you any extra work.
Plus, you can share your tasks with friends, family and other users of the app, so it works great with groups. Get away from crowding your social calendar with professional responsibilities, and use Wunderlist to make keeping all your ducks in a row easier than ever.
If Wunderlist is your professional calendar, then Toga is your social one. With the pressures of academic life constantly overwhelming you, do yourself a favor and make your social life a piece of cake.
Toga helps you add social gatherings, concerts, parties and events happening near your area to your own personal to-do roster. The app helps you find events in advance and even lets you create your own, which you can promote to other Toga users. So, whether you’re planning for the weekend or nearing the end of the semester, Toga is your go-to app for social scheduling.
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