Inspiration

10 Best Mobile Apps for College Students

August 8, 2017

Back when we were attending university, smartphones hadn’t quite evolved into what they are today, and there weren’t a million apps to choose from — but we certainly could have used them! College is an exciting time full of new adventures and (sometimes frightening) challenges. And for the most part, this is the first time you’ve ever been away from home without the safety net of your parents to pick up the slack.

No one else is doing laundry or reminding you to do things anymore. Dinner isn’t being prepared for you (and that dining hall food doesn’t compare to home cooking). You have to make your own schedule and motivate yourself to get your homework done and study for tests. You’re finally on your own! It’s both liberating and terrifying.

We know you have no shortage of apps on your phone. Between those and the thousands of photos you took this summer, you’re running out of room, but we believe there are some apps for college students that are must-downloads. Here are 10 of our favorites that you should definitely clear some room for.  

Best Apps for Security

SurfEasy

It seems like every week, there’s another story in the news about a cyber attack on retailers or random computer networks. It’s hard to tell when a network or website has been compromised, especially if it isn’t your own.

Chances are, you’ll be doing school work in a public place at some point during your college career and those public networks aren’t nearly as secure as the one your college has painstakingly set up for you. SurfEasy is an affordable VPN (virtual private network) you can use no matter where you are that will keep your private information private.

For just $3.99 per month, you can get the safety and security of a private network, whether you’re at home or Starbucks. And based on the deregulation of Internet service providers lately, it might be a good idea to get this set up sooner, rather than later.

A photo of a large college campus on a gorgeous sunny day.
We miss college right up until the moment we remember all the homework.

Lemonade

A lot of college students fresh out of the dorms don’t feel like renter’s insurance is a big deal. They figure they’re unlikely to have anything stolen from them, so they just forego the expense, assuming it will cost more than they can afford anyway. The truth is, renter’s insurance is cheap and Lemonade Insurance has made it even cheaper.

Starting at just $5.00 per month and a quick download of their app, you can sign up for a policy in a matter of minutes and the same goes for making a claim if something you own is lost or stolen — you’ll have cash in your account quicker than you ever expected. But the best part about Lemonade is that they donate a portion of excess premiums (about 10 percent of revenue in 2017) to charities chosen by policyholders. We couldn’t have found a better insurance app for college students.

For Decluttering/Buying Cheap

letgo

College students move frequently — dorm to an apartment to a different apartment — and it’s not until you’re moving that you realize how much stuff you’ve accumulated. Where did it all come from? When did you even acquire that lava lamp taking up space on your desk? Moving is the perfect time to let go of some stuff, which is exactly why letgo is the perfect app for college students.

letgo is the fastest growing app for buying and selling locally. It’s set up more in a Pinterest-style in that you have a feed of photos. You can find basically anything you’re looking for from game consoles to traffic cones (no judgement here) to appliances. It’s a perfect way to declutter your life or get “new” furniture for your apartment.

For Studying

Study.com

Every college student is looking to cut costs on tuition and the various expenses that come along with higher education. One way to do so is to take classes at a less expensive college (like a community college) and transfer them to another institution where you’ll finish a degree program. Study.com developed a great app for college students that allows them to do just that.

Study.com offers tens of thousands of courses and lessons, some of which can be transferred to a college or university for credit. Their College Accelerator program can save students thousands (not to mention the interest on student loans) by allowing them to take prerequisites at a much cheaper rate. For $199 per month, students can pass up to two courses — a fraction of the cost of any institute of higher learning. Of course, students should check to make sure these credits will transfer to their desired college prior to taking them.

Varsity Tutors

All of us have probably needed a little help in one subject or another at some point during the course of our education and that need doesn’t necessarily disappear when you enter college. In fact, you may need it even more as the courses are probably more difficult. Sure, all professors hold office hours, but it’s only a couple hours a week and there’s a line out the door the entire time. Where are students supposed to go for tutoring if there’s no teaching assistant?

Enter this excellent app for college students that will offer tutoring from any mobile device. Varsity Tutors offers online, on-demand, and in-person (in select cities) tutoring on many subjects, as well as prep for stressful tests, such as the LSAT, MCAT, and GRE. Tutoring can empower students to feel more confident both in class and on tests — in fact, we’re wishing this were around when we were in college.  

A photo of two college students studying outside.
Studying with a partner or tutor can better prepare you for that upcoming exam.

For Staying Organized

Circle Pay

We’re pretty sure every waiter hates large groups of people because they’re bound to split the check 15 different ways. In fact, some places won’t even divide a check more than a few ways. College students get stuck in this position all the time (because who has the money to pick up the entire tab?), which means someone always owes someone money because they didn’t bring enough cash.

Circle Pay offers an easy solution to this problem by letting friends transfer cash to each other — even if you’re overseas studying abroad. Need to send your first month’s rent before you come back from Germany? No problem! Money transfers show up in your bank account instantly and the stress of owing someone money is gone.

We think this is a great app for college students because they can skip the ATMs (which aren’t even always available if your bank isn’t in your new city) and also avoid carrying cash around. Funds are FDIC-insured and the app is totally secure with fingerprint ID and double encryption. We’re downloading it now and we’re not even college students anymore.

DocuSign

College students have a lot of paperwork to sign for the first time in their lives, as they’re finally legal adults and are responsible for themselves. This means W2s, student loan paperwork, forms at the doctor’s office, lease agreements, and more. But the chances of getting a college student to print out pages (universities usually charge you per page) and then mail them (or even worse — fax them) to anyone is probably pretty slim.

Luckily, mobile app designers at DocuSign have you covered. This app is great for college students because they can electronically sign, manage, and store all of their personal documents quickly and securely, eliminating the need for printing, stamps, irritating faxes, and storing that paperwork in your tiny college dorm room.

A photo of a college student using a tablet in the library.
She’s surely downloading the apps for college students on this list.

Dashlane

As if college students don’t already have enough passwords to remember, now they have a whole host of new ones from their university (email, student accounts to pay bills and sign up for classes, etc). Even grown adults struggle to remember their passwords, so it’s no stretch of the imagination that students would as well, which is why Dashlane is an essential app for college students.

Dashlane allows students to securely manage passwords, credit cards, IDs, and other important information through advanced encryption and local storage. You’ll never have to worry about forgetting (and then resetting) a password again. The app even has a “digital wallet” feature where you can store a digital copy of your driver’s license and credit cards so you don’t have to risk losing your wallet during a night out.

For Financial Health

Acorns

Saving money and investing are often the last thing on a college student’s mind. Any savings account they have is being drained for books and retirement seems so far away that it’s not even a blip on their radar. The problem with this is that saving for retirement is a long, enduring process. Most people don’t start saving until later in life and they struggle to save enough to live comfortably come retirement — and these days, the majority of us won’t have pensions to cushion our monthly income.

This is why we love Acorns. In a nutshell (pun intended), you can link your credit and debit cards to your Acorns account, which tracks your transactions and takes your spare change to invest in your diversified portfolio. For example, if you stop into Starbucks for a latte and your bill is $4.95, Acorns will take that five cents as an investment. They call it micro-investing because it’s tiny amounts, but that’s what saving is all about — you set little bits aside and over time, it grows.

It’s such a simple concept, really. We should all be doing it, but we think this is a great app for college students because it could help them get into the habit of saving money early on in their careers. In addition, Acorns offers free accounts to anyone with a valid .edu email address for four years and after that, the fee is just a quarter of a percent per month for accounts totalling $5,000 or more.

For Job Hunting

Good&Co

Unless you’re one of the fortunate few with a job lined up from a co-op, every college student approaching graduation is nervous about finding a job. For the latter group, Good&Co is an app for college students that can provide some assistance in finding a company that’s a good fit for your goals and personality.

A photo of graduates in their red caps and gowns at a commencement ceremony.
Commencement is often bittersweet, but the feeling of accomplishment is palpable.

Co-founded by experimental psychologist Dr. Kerry Schofield, Good&Co combines the comprehensive, quiz-taking, match-making theories behind eHarmony with the networking capabilities of LinkedIn. Users answer questions that are used to measure personality factors and classify them into a persona. From this information, Good&Co matches you to employers with company cultures they believe you’d thrive in.

For young people entering the workforce, a negative first experience can have a lasting impact. For example, go-getters probably shouldn’t be working in companies that don’t allow newcomers to express any kind of opinion. A situation like this could make them feel sullen and unwanted, which will eventually lead to poor job performance. Schofield and her colleagues know the frustration of being unsatisfied in your job and they’re looking to increase the number of people who truly love going to work.

Essential Mobile Apps for College Students

This is certainly not a comprehensive list of useful mobile apps for college students. There are plenty of others that could prove invaluable for some, but of course, less helpful for others. The important part is determining which apps are truly enhancing your life, versus the ones that are simply wasting your time. You’ll have plenty of time for fun, so don’t squander your productive time on apps that aren’t really doing you any favors.  

And of course, we recommend our own app for college students! You should always prototype your mobile app design before turning it into your professor and Proto.io lets anyone build mobile app prototypes that feel real. No coding or design skills required. Bring your ideas to life quickly! Sign up for a free 15-day trial of Proto.io today and get started on your next mobile app design.

What are your favorite mobile apps for college students? Let us know by tweeting us @Protoio!

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