Apps offer helpful solutions for students

Many students might have identified with a recent BuzzFeed article entitled “16 Signs You’re a College Student Who Needs to Go Back to School.” Granted, there is some pleasure to be derived from marathon sessions of Breaking Bad, but no one can stay away from the greatest place on earth for long. Now that students have arrived on campus, here are a list of apps that can enhance college life.

Need a Lyft? · The app Lyft helps students find a ride, and drivers are oftentimes distinguished by the pink mustaches on their cars. - Courtesy of Lyft

Need a Lyft? · The app Lyft helps students find a ride, and drivers are oftentimes distinguished by the pink mustaches on their cars. – Courtesy of Lyft


There’s a great Seinfeld monologue in which he describes the horrible feeling of getting the check after a great meal: “We’re not hungry now, why are we buying all this food?” Odds are you’ve experienced the same thing, and it’s 10 times worse when you go out with friends. We’ve all been there: It’s the end of a great dinner and the check arrives, and unless someone is caught holding the bill, a small drama unfolds while everyone fumbles for cash and tries to figure out how much they owe while the waiter regrets not spitting in your food. And there’s the one guy who asks you to spot him and promises he’ll pay you back, but of course he never does. Now, there’s an app for that. Venmo allows you to pay your friends back right from your phone. You can link the app to your credit or debit card to make payments and “cash out,” or treat it like its own currency and simply receive and then send payments to friends. It’s a simple and effective way to deal with the hassle of being hungry students trying to go out for a meal.


If you’re not lucky enough to have a car on campus, and if you’ve experienced disappointment and frustration with Los Angeles public transportation, Lyft could be the solution for you. As its slogan “Your friend with a car,” suggests, Lyft is a ride-sharing service that matches you with drivers in your area, all of whom, Mom will be happy to know, have undergone DMV and background checks. After you get dropped off, you can donate through the app and drivers receive 80 percent of the donations.


Students who get easily tired of redundant campus eateries such as EVK or Parkside can receive a change of pace with GrubHub, a mobile order pickup or delivery app from restaurants around campus. Simply enter a home address and the app will instantly find restaurants nearby, a great way to add variety to the college dining experience.


This app is a must-have for any runner. It uses a phone’s GPS to record routes, calculate distance, average split time per mile and, for users willing to divulge their weight, calories burned. Workouts are easily logged or even shared, and runners can compete with others in the area who run on the same trails.


With a very simple interface that tracks expenditures to follow a budget, this personal finance app monitors users’ expenses, a feature that will come in handy after viewing that tuition bill. Syncing the app with a bank account allows users to view their expenses broken down by category and see where money is being spent each month. It also sends alerts when a user is spending more than usual on certain items and suggest areas where he or she can cut back. An excellent app to avoid awkward calls home for cash.


A simple and elegant digital notebook, Evernote allows users to take notes, add images and audio record anything in class or out. With apps available for iPhone, Android, iPad and a desktop version, it’s easy to sync notes across multiple devices. Consistently ranking highest among apps for productivity, Evernote is an excellent app to have in a student’s educational arsenal.

iTunes U 

With so much going on around campus, it’s easy to forget the primary reason to be here: To learn. iTunes U represents the future of education, a digital campus where students can take classes offered from hundreds of schools while lying on their bed in pajamas. iTunesU offers classes on anything from corporate finance to European civilization to mobile app development taught by some of the best professors in the world, and for free. All the course materials are easily downloadable, including quizzes and tests, and students can learn at their own pace. It’s a welcome departure from the normal registration process for classes, which always seems part lottery and part Darwinian struggle.

Follow Anshu Siripurapu on Twitter @AnshuSiripurapu