The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Must-have apps for your college years

5 min read
By CHRISTIAN BRUMFIELD In a world where technology is a part of everyday life, it is simply necessary to stay connected. One decade ago, the smartphone market did not even exist. Today, nearly two billion people worldwide carry a smartphone. As a college student, you can use your smart phone for a variety of purposes.

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In a world where technology is a part of everyday life, it is simply necessary to stay connected. One decade ago, the smartphone market did not even exist. Today, nearly two billion people worldwide carry a smartphone. As a college student, you can use your smart phone for a variety of purposes. Maybe you need to find the closest grocery store, or you are bored and you need a mindless game to pass the time. Perhaps you simply need a foolproof way to remember that next week you do in fact have a history test. Whatever the need, with over 1 million apps to choose from on the app store, it is hard to know which ones are best, let alone which one truly useful.

Having had an iPhone since they were first released in 2008, I have been able to scavenge through the app store year after year, looking for anything and everything that might be of use. While the following list obviously will not cover all aspects of life, it will probably help average college students maintain their relationship with their phones. Without further ado, here is – ranked in no particular order – a list of the Top Seven iPhone Apps for College Students:

1: For the directionally challenged: “Around Me” – Free

Very simply put, this app will solve the problem. Whether you need to find a cheap gas station, a movie theater nearby or that amazing Mexican restaurant you keep rediscovering, “Around Me” will not only show you everything nearby, but it will suggest top-rated places to go based on reviews from Yelp. Furthermore, “Around Me” provides business hours, phone numbers, menus and directions through Google Maps. Additionally, a clean user interface makes this app incredibly easy and simple to use.

2: All of your social needs in one place: “Flipboard” – Free

As a college student, maximizing time management is important. So instead of going to your Facebook app, then to Twitter, then to Google to find out who won that basketball game yesterday, you can keep up with everything in your life in one place with “Flipboard.” As the company’s slogan goes, “Flipboard” is your personal magazine. Stay up to date with sports, follow publications with your interests and add your favorite social networks.

3: Discover New Music: “Pandora” – Free

I am sure by now most of you have heard of “Pandora.” However, with other big music streaming apps on the market such as “Spotify,” “Pandora” has left the spotlight. While apps like “Spotify” definitely have their strengths, Pandora’s unlimited free streaming not only allows you to keep up with popular music, but also introduces new music. After creating stations based off music you like, “Pandora” will suggest and play music similar to that style. After a while, “Pandora” will become so familiar with your taste that it will predict songs it thinks you would like with incredible accuracy. Additionally, “Pandora” allows you to connect with friends to see what kind of music they are listening to, making this app a highly personal and social environment worth exploring.

4: When the most interesting thing you can think of is watching grass grow: “Fruit Ninja” – $0.99

“Fruit Ninja” has been on the app store for a few years now, yet it still remains one of the best iOS games of all time. For those of you who are not familiar, you basically get to use your inner ninja skills to slice up as many pieces of fruit as you can before accidentally hitting one of those bombs. Featuring several game modes, as well as the ability to make your ninja blade look like anything from a cluster of butterflies to the American flag, “Fruit Ninja” will keep you occupied for days. Despite its simple concept, it is guaranteed to give your fingers a work out. Batteries not included.

5: That thing you always forget to do: “Tabule” Homework Planner – $3.99

Remembering exactly what you need to do and exactly when it is due can be challenging, everyone forgets something important every once in a while. Unlike other apps for homework and class management, “Tabule” actually connects directly with your school to give you all of the information you need. What does this mean exactly? Once Tabule finds your school, it prompts you to type in which classes you are taking. Anyone in your class using “Tabule” will be able to see and comment on upcoming assignments or tests. The group discussion capabilities alone make this app one of the best ways to organize and plan for your classes.

Finally, “Tabule” will remind you to work on assignments before they are due, further enhancing your ability to turn in assignments on time. While this app may seem a little pricey, it is nothing compared to the money you would waste failing a class because you forgot the final exam was this Wednesday, and not next Wednesday.

6: Learn everything faster: “Flashcards+” – Free

“Flashcards+” is ideal for the any college student looking to memorize information quickly and efficiently. Featuring an incredibly simple interface, this app allows you to create flashcard sets to study on the go. Moreover, you can search for and download decks from a database containing millions of decks created by other students. If that is not enough, “Flashcards+” will pronounce words to you in over 20 languages.

7: Note-taking made simple: “Evernote” – Free

While this list is in no particular order, “Evernote” is arguably one of the best apps in existence. In short, a few of the countless features of this app include the ability to take notes and share them with others in real time, the ability to plan projects and conduct meetings, the option to incorporate and save in your notes videos, pictures and articles from the internet, the ability to create to-do lists, as well as the ability to sync all data between all of your devices. “Evernote” is the ultimate information storing and sharing device. The best way know how awesome this app is would be to try it for yourself. Perhaps the best news of all is that it is completely free.