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Must-Have Apps for College Students

The apps you need to be a successful student, friend, and overall awesome human during your college years

There are literally millions of apps. You probably have at least 30 on your phone. But, if you’re a college student, these are the only ones you really, truly need. (Okay, “need” might be a strong word. But you should have them anyway.)

Some people might call me a minimalist. I grew up without WiFi or cable TV in my home, and I am currently in the process of selling all the clothes I’m not completely in love with.

But if that isn’t minimalistic enough for you, then you should definitely take a look at my iPhone’s home screen. I’ve always been against having too many extra apps. I never played Flappy Bird, never had a Vine account, and to this day I refuse to download the Facebook app because it takes up too much data (#browserlife).

So when I say the apps below are must-haves for college students, you know I mean it. Here are the apps you need to be a successful student, friend, and overall awesome human during your college years.

Quizlet: For studying and, tbh, fun

Quizlet? The website your middle school teachers made you use to study? Yes! Quizlet is back and better than ever. Thanks to this app, I can make flashcards for my Marine Science class and study them on the quad—no book or laptop needed!

Nerd alert: honestly, the study games Quizlet has on their app are really fun. I don’t know how I would pass any of my classes without this app!

Venmo: For easily paying people (and getting paid)

Ah, Pad Thai Thursdays. It was my freshman year of college, and I was in my dorm room with my best friend and my then-boyfriend. Thursdays were low-key at our college (no Thirsty Thursdays here!), so my best friend Madie and I created a tradition of ordering Pad Thai and watching Netflix in my room that night. However, we always ran into the same issue: how would we pay for our Thai food and split the bill equally? The delivery guys hated splitting the bill between our credit cards, and we hated standing outside on cold Boston nights waiting for them to do it. Plus, we were broke college students, and who has cash?!?!

Every Thursday, Madie would say, “Get a Venmo. You can just add a credit card to your account and transfer the money directly to my bank account.” And I would say, “No, it sounds too complicated.” But on one particular Thursday night, Madie and my boyfriend convinced me to get an account. They even set it up for me—and gave me a complicated and weird password based on an inside joke. But I have to say, they were right.

Pad Thai Thursdays went much more smoothly from then on. Now I use Venmo on a daily basis. I use it to pay my rent, certain expenses for my sorority, and all those times I’m getting lunch at a cash-only place with a friend and they have cash but I don’t.

Long story short, get Venmo. But maybe set up your own password.

Google Drive: For being the most productive person ever

Have you ever forgotten to bring your laptop to class? How about forgotten to submit an essay until you’re sitting in class on the actual due date and you’re sans laptop? Well, with the Google Drive app, you’ll never have that issue again.

On the rare (okay, maybe not-so-rare) occasion where I forget to turn in an essay and don’t have my laptop on me, the Google Drive app lets me submit that essay in class right from my phone.

This app is an asset in so many ways. In fact, it’s possible that I call it my secret weapon…I neither confirm nor deny this. Just download the app ASAP, trust me.

Find My Friends: For the love of safety and friendship

Raise your hand if you’ve ever gone on a Tinder date. If you’re in college, there’s a good chance your hand is in the air right now. But even if that’s not the case, it’s still a good idea to share your location with a friend using the Find My Friends app on your phone before your next date or any big night out, just to be safe. Odds are you won’t need it, but better safe than sorry!

Related: Top Campus Safety Tips

Zipcar: For going on adventures

You know about Uber and Lyft already, but do you have a Zipcar account? Once you do, you’ll never want to use another service to run errands again. Zipcar works kinda like checking a book out of the library—except the book is a car that gives you sweet, sweet freedom to go and do whatever you want, whenever you want.

You can rent a car for about seven dollars an hour, then return to its designated parking spot. There are membership fees, but they’re usually not that bad, and you don’t even have to pay for gas! But the best news: many colleges have Zipcars available for students on campus. Vroom vroom, y’all.

NPR: For news and being an informed grownup

Umm, isn’t this the news station your dad listens to “Car Talk” on? Well, yes, National Public Radio may have monopolized your family minivan’s radio while you were growing up, and I’m deeply sorry for all the pop music you missed out on during those sad times. However, this past year I got past my youthful anger and downloaded the NPR app, and I have not regretted it once!

If you enable notifications, then you’ll get the most important news updates before all of your friends. Also, a flow chart about which news stations are the most reputable has been floating around the Internet lately, and most people agree that NPR is the best of the best.

As a college student, it can be hard to stay up to date on world news that goes beyond Beyoncé being pregnant with twins, but NPR provides a pretty good solution.

Alright, CollegeXpressers: what are your favorite apps? Leave a comment and let us know, or get in touch this way.

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About Phoebe Bain

Phoebe is a student at the College of William & Mary. She's an avid writer, reader, runner, ukulele player, and user of the passive voice. Her favorite show is How I Met Your Mother, and she loves how giraffes look when they sleep.


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