Many of us, self included, received smart phones/tablets/iPods what have you this year. After the initial joy of joining the 21st century wears off, one question remains: what apps should I download? Well, I'm here to answer that age-old question. And if you don't have yourself a fancy piece of touch screen machinery yet, no worries - I'm also going to recommend a few apps for Google Chrome! In fact, I'll start with that first. (Note: if you're not using Google Chrome as your browser, please go download it. Mozilla is fine too - just as long as you're not still using Internet Explorer. Please tell me you're not.)
The Best Chrome Apps for College Students
click here in your Chrome browser.
1. StayFocusd This is the app that will change your life if you, like me, happen to sit around on the internet for hours and hours and suddenly realize it's 2am and you didn't get anything done. This app is for us. Using StayFocusd you can limit the amount of time you spend on time-wasting websites. You set the time per day (such as 40 minutes) and you set the websites you want to limit. (Example: Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter etc.) You can also set "allowed" sites and even set a window of time for unlimited browsing (mine is set to 2 hours at night and weekends). And possibly the most useful of all: you can "Go Nuclear," which means ALL websites except, if you want, those on your "Allowed" list (Blackboard, Oncourse, etc) are completely blocked for as long as you want them to be. It is a LIFE SAVER when you need help focusing, or when Wikipedia articles on celebrities are more exciting than the essay you need to finish writing. Download it here.
2. Evernote This is basically like an electronic notebook where you can paste and clip anything you want to remember later. Write notes, add lists, pictures, videos, whatever you want - and you can sync them to your phone or other devices, too! Download it here.
3. Remember the Milk This is a task-management app for those of us who DON'T regularly keep To-Do lists handy. Simply add a task to your list, prioritize it, and if you like, give it a time estimate or due dates. If it's really important, you can have the app send a reminder to you to complete the task by phone or email! A must-have organization and productivity app. Download it here.
4. Mint.com So this one is really less of an app and more of a bookmark, but if you haven't yet signed up for Mint.com - the BEST money management and budgeting tool ever - take this opportunity! To learn more about Mint, read this blog post. Download it here.
Most of these apps will be available for iPhone, Android, iPad, Kindle Fire, etc, but make sure you check first (and don't kill me if it's not available for you!) I have an iPhone 3G, so these apps are all for sure available in the App store at the very least. Anyway, here are my recommendations.
1. Any app from your school! If your school has an app, download it! School apps can help you catch a bus on time, check your meal points, give you instant updates on campus closings or dangers, help you find buildings on campus or numbers to call if you need help, and more. Search for your school to see if you have an app available.
2. CampuSpecial An app created by http://www.campusspecial.com/. Many of you may already get the little coupon booklets from CampuSpecial containing awesome local deals around your campus. Well, imagine if you could get all of those coupons, deals and more, right on your phone, using a handy locator to find which ones are closest to you? It's pretty freakin' awesome. The app is free, search for CampuSpecial in the App store or Android Marketplace.
3. Mint.com Unfortunately, this app is only available for newer iPhones, so 3Gs can't use it. It is available for Androids as well as Kindles from the Amazon App store. Anyway, if you haven't gotten the message yet, Mint.com is the most amazing, super easy, incredibly awesome way to track your spending and budget your money. Even if you don't do anything more than just set it up to look at where you're spending your money, it's insanely helpful. To learn more about Mint, read this blog post. (Note: even if you don't use Mint, at least download your bank's app to keep track of your spending so you never incur overdraft fees!)
4. Evernote Evernote is the best way to make notes for yourself on your phone. Unlike the regular "notepad" that comes with your phone or tablet., Evernote allows you to create notebooks or organize your notes and include photos, audio clips and more to your notes. If you're the kind of person who frequently finds themselves writing cryptic notes in your phone or taking photos to "Remember for later," this is the app for you.
5. Amazon Price Check, Google Shopper or Shop Saavy Both of these apps are price comparison apps. Google Shopper searches for prices in your local area - so if you're in, say, Target looking at some nail polish, you can scan it with Google Shopper and find out that CVS next door has it for cheaper. Price Check
searches for prices on Amazon, which is good for things you might not need immediately but want to save money on. Shop Saavy will search for a scanned bar code both online and in local stores, and also has reviews available for the product you scan. Making sure you're getting the best price possible means saving money!
6. Shopkick So you know how I love paid-to sites like
Swagbucks where you get points to do super easy stuff and then can redeem those points for gift cards and other rewards? Well, Shopkick takes that idea to a whole new level. Shopkick gives you points you for going into stores and doing super easy stuff, and then you can redeem those for gift cards and other rewards. Let me repeat: GOING INTO STORES AND DOING SUPER EASY STUFF. For example, you'll get 50 "kicks" (points) by just walking into Best Buy, or Old Navy. Just WALKING IN! You can get more kicks for doing "scans", which just means finding a specific product and scanning its barcode. (Like a treasure hunt!) Yesterday, for example, there were 750 possible "kicks" for scanning items at Target. A $2 gift card is about 500 "kicks", so if you were going to Target to pick up some toothpaste or whatever anyway, you would've just gotten it for free and then some. In my experience, one trip to the mall can usually get me about 500 kicks, so this is a very easy to get rewarded for just walking around stores. If you want to save up your points for the rest of your life, you can get a cruise for a couple million "kicks" - I prefer to redeem my points for gift cards and do as little work as possible to earn them. I highly recommend this app- it's fun, easy, and gives you free money! What could be better?
Other Free Apps I Love: These might not be college-specific, but they are very useful:
- Pandora: better than listening to your playlists!
- AroundMe: For when you're wandering around and want to know where the nearest whatever is.
- HopStop: When you need to figure out how to get from A to B using public transportation!
- HauteLook: I'm just addicted to HauteLook, basically.
- Thrift Hunter and ThriftBuddy: I love thrift store shopping, especially in places I've never been. These apps help locate the thrift stores nearby.
- Shazam: For when you hear a really cool song and want to know what it is.
- Find My Car: Helpful in big parking lots, or for people who forget where they park their car every single time.
- Yelp: Need a review of a restaurant, salon, bar, etc at a moment's notice? Yelp has it covered.
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