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The time you spend in college, be it 2 years or 12, really are some of the best years of your life.
Yes, you’ll spend a lot of time studying (or you should anyway) but there’s a whole other world outside the library and your dorm. What’s that phrase? “The world is your oyster”.. (or something like that) is never more true than your college years.
So, here is a list of the best apps to help you make the most of your 4-ish-year-long college life. Live it up!
Eventbrite is an awesome app that tells you what’s going on in the area. If you’re moving to a new city for college this app is especially useful. It will let you know what bands, comics, or other performers are coming to town and it’s pretty slick. You enter your city and it lists everything that’s going on from cooking and yoga classes to art exhibits.
If you have family coming to visit you, or you’re trying to plan a social event for your club, use this app to find out what’s going on in your area and buy tickets.
Meetup is another app that helps you find out what’s going on in the community, but with a twist. Through this app, you can find groups/clubs in the area where members get together and hang out. For example, there might be a meetup group in your college town that consists of 15 people who go on a bike ride every Thursday afternoon.
If you want to find a group of people with similar interests who do activities together, this is your app. Want to have a Wizard Chess tournament once a month but don’t see a meet up that already exists? Start your own group and let others know when you’re meeting and where.
Swarm is like the new Four Square. It’s an app that allows you to see which of your friends are close. If you want to order a pizza at the library, but don’t want to eat the whole thing (or pay for all of it), pull up Swarm and see who else is there.
There’s a gaming function to this app as well. When you “check-in” somewhere you earn coins. So if you frequent the local coffee shop, check-in each time to earn coins, and you can become the “mayor” of your turf to let your fellow app users know who’s boss and get the best, comfiest chair at the cafe.
LinkedIn is a way to keep track of your accomplishments, involvement, and other resume builders as they occur. During your time in college, you’ll want to be continually updating your resume, otherwise, you’ll be stressing over it–and trying to remember everything amazing that you did–come graduation.
Using this website and app is a good way to help you stay organized and get your name (and face) out there before you start looking for jobs. It’s basically a social media platform for adults that might land you a job.
5. Google Maps
Google Maps has saved my life once or twice. I moved from a large university to a small college and back again and I’m terrible with directions. This app is awesome. You can search for the closest caffeine dispensary, figure out where you ended up when you thought you were walking to class, and listen to a pleasant voice talk to you for five hours on your drive back home for the holidays.
You’ve probably used Google Maps before college, but when you’re out in the world all on your own, it’s pretty handy to have on your phone. Plus, you never know when you’re going to have a late-night craving for Taco Bell in a new city–Google Maps can help with that.
Speaking of late-night cravings and food, college is when you become the master of bill-splitting. That’s where Tab comes in. Planning on going to Applebees with a bunch of your friends to split some late-night apps? Use Tab to breakdown the bill. It will even help you calculate how much each person should contribute to the tip.
Tab is the perfect app for those who hate doing math in their heads. You scan the receipt and divide it by person. Easy peasy.
If it isn’t already, Amazon will become one of your best friends and favorite websites before you finish your degree.
Pro tip: Use your student email address and get Prime at a discounted rate.
The app is equally awesome. It does away with overspending. There’s a barcode scanner that pulls up the item if you can get it on Amazon. So, if you’re shopping at Target and you really want that new movie that just came out, see if it’s cheaper on Amazon first. I usually save around $5 that way, and because I have Prime it’s in my mailbox in 2 days.
Amazon is also how I buy all my textbooks. If you really want to, go to the bookstore and see what the books look like, then scan them into a wishlist. Otherwise, just save them to your list, and you can send that to Mom and Dad. If you’re lucky…
Amazon isn’t just for movies, books, and kindles anymore either. Amazon Pantry is a whole other ballgame. Run out of toilet paper? No problem, you can order it. Really want new K-cups and Cliff bars? Sneak those into the cart when Mom is buying your textbooks.
Welcome to college where the majority of people survive on caffeine. If you are a coffee connoisseur, you must have the Starbucks app. It’s the easiest way to find locations, order ahead of time, pay with your phone, and keep track of stars–Starbucks reward system.
The app will also keep track of your special offers. No more hunting down emails, have 25% off a breakfast sandwich? It’s on your app.
You can also save your favorite orders so that you can quickly place them before you get there, and have them ready when you arrive.
After you use Tab and drink all of the Starbucks, you can log in to your myfitnesspal app to help hold yourself accountable. Trying to avoid that notorious freshman 15? This app will help you track your calorie intake and exercise output. Easily set a goal and monitor progress with the app.
Wellness apps, like myfitnesspal, are easier to use if you can access them from anywhere. You’re more likely to admit (or remember) you had a chocolate shake in the afternoon if you plug it into your chart right away than if you have to do it when you get back to your room later that night.
If you’re out with friends and you forget your wallet or don’t have cash, Venmo helps you to pay your IOUs. Simply link your bank account to the app and you can request or send money to your friends.
For example, if you go out for pizza with your friends and one person picks up the tab, the rest of you owe them. You whip out your phone, open up Venmo, and send $5 to Fred (he bought the pizza).
Or, if you’re Fred, and no one sends you the money they owe you, you can send them a reminder. You know, a friendly little note like “hey y’all owe me $5” even though you’re thinking, “hey y’all owe me $5 for the pizza I begrudgingly bought last weekend…I knew you’d never pay me back”.
When you start to wonder where all your money is going it’s time to start a Mint account. That’s right, you need a budget. All those late-night Taco Bell runs and pizza out with the gang will catch up with your bank account eventually.
This app helps you create a budget and stick to it. You’ll also get updates if you’re spending too much, or when you have a bit extra cash to play with. Mint is a good way to get a good look at your financial situation all in one place. You can plug in your student loans, credit cards, and bank account information and have it all on one page, as opposed to flipping back and forth between 20 different tabs on your computer.
Set yourself up for financial success by starting a Mint account early. Or, you can use it to get yourself back on track.
Most of these apps are available for free on Android and iOS. If you have another app that needs to be added to this list let me know in the comments and tell the world! We’ll all thank you for it.