Harvard University Harvard University The campus of Harvard University exudes beauty and history in the fall, when students arrive for a new school year. (Photo: Jannis Tobias Werner / Shutterstock)

5 useful smartphone apps for college students

Starting a new life, in a new town, with new responsibilities can be tough. But there are tools that can help.

It's that time of year. Summer is almost over, and everywhere you look there's another "back to school" sale. University students are moving into dorms and figuring out which classes to take. For the freshman class, it's often their first experience in a new and unfamiliar city. But have no fear. We here at From The Grapevine have compiled a handful of apps that will help you get accustomed to your new environs with ease.



Moving to a new town can be tough, especially if you're a college student without a car. That's where Moovit, an app created in Israel, steps in to help. It allows the millions of people who rely on public transit – subways, buses, trolleys – plan trips and anticipate obstacles in more than 600 cities around the world. Simply input your starting location and destination, and Moovit will offer directions and notify you when you’re getting close to your stop. A perfect tool to help you get to class – or that big party – just in time.



Starting a new life in college can come with a veritable cacophony of tasks for you: A meeting with your resident advisor, an ultimate-frisbee tournament, a sorority get-together, and the list goes on. How to keep track of this ever-growing to-do list? Try Wunderlist. You can create multiple lists (one for each class you're taking, one for social activities, another for to-dos around the dorm) and the app lets you share lists with friends (so you and your roommate can share a grocery list). It's no wonder that the app, acquired by American tech giant Microsoft this summer, was named "App of the Year" in 2013.



Not sure which dry cleaner to use or which pizza place offers the yummiest slices at the best prices? San Francisco-based Yelp was founded back in 2004, making it the grandaddy of crowdsourced review sites. And with age comes a massive database of small businesses in just about every college town in America. So whether you're on the hunt for a good dentist or a rockin' hair stylist, Yelp's database of 83 million reviews is definitely the place to start your search.



Being away from your hometown – and loved ones – can bring on feelings of isolation. Sure, you can video chat with old friends on Skype, but that requires setting up a time beforehand and making sure you're both online at the same time. You could text message, but that lacks depth, context and visuals. What if you could have the video capabilities of Skype with the ease of anytime-use offered by text messaging? That's where Glide, a Jerusalem-based startup, comes in. Try the app for just a few minutes, and you'll instantly be hooked.



Flash cards are almost as old as that idyllic little school house atop a hill. And up until the smartphone era, they had yet to get a much-needed upgrade. Enter StudyBlue, the 21st-century answer to that age-old study tool. The app, founded by alumni of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, allows you to digitize your flash cards to take with you wherever you need. It also allows you to put photos on cards, dictate material and swap notes with other students. StudyBlue's library of shared study material recently surpassed 100 million items.


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5 useful smartphone apps for college students
Starting a new life, in a new town, with new responsibilities can be tough. But there are tools that can help.