10 apps to enhance college students’ lives

Maria McGinnis

There are several apps students can use in college to get deals, help study and organize their classes. In no particular order, these are 10 apps recommended by Kent State students to help ease college life.

1.) Ibotta

This app allows people to receive cash-back rewards by uploading a picture of their receipt to the app after shopping at stores partnered with Ibotta.

Some of Ibotta’s partners include Walmart, Target, Petco and Whole Foods. Ibotta even sends cash-back rewards for in-app purchases on apps such as Uber and Groupon.

Jill Engel. a junior aeronautics major, uses Ibotta and recommends the app to friends.

“Depending on what you buy, if it qualifies under certain categories, you get a certain percentage back,” Engel said. “It’s really cool. Over two months I’ve made about $70 from the things I normally buy.”

All of Ibotta’s functions are carried out in-app, and it also allows people to shop in-store or online and receive different deals for both options.

“It’s really user friendly. When you launch a (store’s) website through the app it will tell you right away if what you’re buying qualifies for a specific offer,” Engel said. “It’ll give you a green light or a red light so you don’t just buy something and have it not be under a promotion.”

2.) Pocket Points

Pocket Points gives students the incentive to stay off of their phone and pay attention in class by tracking the location on campus and rewarding points for every minute their phone stays locked.

These points can be used for deals and discounts at various retailers and local restaurants. 

Pocket Points allows students to use points to save money at places such as Amazon, Papa John’s, ASOS and Grubhub.

Amanda Barbale, a freshman early childhood education major, started using Pocket Points because she noticed herself getting distracted by her phone in class.

“If I would get on my phone, (the app) would say, ‘Lock your phone if you want to keep earning points’ and I was like ‘oh crap, I can’t go on my phone,’ so I would relock it,” Barbale said.

Barbale used her earned points for discounts and freebies on sites such as Redbubble and Redbox.

“It’s not like they have every single website that you’re looking for, but in general, I’ve found that if I just use it to keep my phone locked, not even just for the (points) rewards I can be like, ‘oh, I stayed off my phone for 30 minutes in class, good job,’” Barbale said. “It’s almost like a personal reward more than anything.”

3.) Apple Pay

Apple Pay allows Apple users to make secure purchases in stores, apps and online.

The app also allows people to send and receive money from one Apple device to another in iMessages and keeps track of all transactions in the Wallet app.

Yifan Wang, a junior fashion design major, uses Apple Pay for its convenience.

“Apple Pay is convenient because I don’t have to bring my large wallet with me if I want to go buy something quick,” Wang said. “Before Apple Pay, I mostly used my credit card and sometimes cash.”

Apple Pay can be used at locations such as Starbucks, Walgreens, GameStop and Sephora.

“With Apple Pay all I need to carry is my phone, which I just put in my pocket pretty easily. When I don’t have pockets on the clothes I’m wearing I can carry my phone by hand, but I can’t carry my (large) wallet by hand,” Wang said. “People are more likely to grab your wallet from your hand than your phone.”

4.) My Study Life

My Study Life is a website and an app that keeps track of classes, exams and assignments on a weekly schedule.

My Study Life allows students to set tasks they need to complete and will even send notifications as reminders for approaching deadlines.

Kristen Flask, a junior American Sign Language major, uses My Study Life to keep track of assignments in her classes and likes how user-friendly the app is.

“It’s perfect for a college student. It helps keep everything organized for classes,” Flask said. “It’s wonderful, especially for those classes that don’t post or update assignments on Blackboard. It also reminds you to complete those assignments.”

5.) Quora

Quora is a Q&A platform that allows people to ask any kind of question that anyone on Quora can answer if they choose to.

Questions can range from “What does a marketing plan look like?” to “Why didn’t you leave a tip at a restaurant?”

Quora is similar to Yahoo Answers with its Q&A format, although the majority of answers on Quora turn more into stories about people’s personal experiences and different insights.

Amber Quinlivan, a junior human development and family studies major, goes on Quora for fun to read about other people’s experiences.

“Usually the (answers) are about people’s experiences and they are usually humorous,” Quinlivan said.

Quora is divided into various categories that can be filtered to go on your feed that is catered to your personal interests.

Quinlivan even decided on her major through one of the stories on Quora.

“Through one of the anecdotal stories, I actually chose my major,” Quinlivan said. “The story was talking about what it was like to be a foster care social worker and it really stood out to me.”

6.) Bleacher Report

Similar to ESPN, Bleacher Report is a sports news app and website that notifies the user of all the news regarding your favorite sports teams.

Within the app, you pick your favorite teams to follow and receive live updates during games and alerts for any breaking news about favorited teams.

Zachary Heislman, a senior aeronautics major, likes Bleacher Report over ESPN for its content and simple format.

“I picked Bleacher Report because I think they have the most interesting stories and the most content,” Heislman said.

Bleacher Report offers several popular features in app such as the ability to share content you find with friends and comment on articles.

“One of my favorite features is the comment section for each article,” Heislman said. “It allows you to interact with other fans.”

7.) KSUMobile

Recently re-designed, KSUMobile provides students with the ability to access grades, class schedules and maps of main and regional campuses.

The app includes information on campus utilities such as student parking, dining menus and hours, campus safety and a directory for faculty and students.

There’s also a news and events feature that allows students to see what is going on around campus and when. 

KSUMobile also features a personal profile function where students can check their GPA and student account balance.

Jessica Mills, a sophomore biochemistry major, uses KSUMobile for some of its specific features, but hopes they add more to make it more convenient.

“I like being able to see my schedule and when I needed the bus schedule sometimes it was helpful,” Mills said. “I do wish I could make my tuition payments through the app.”

8.) Quizlet

This study app allows students to create flashcard sets to study material or choose from sets created and shared by other students.

Quizlet offers ways to study with the material you create such as memory or matching games.

Teachers can also access and create content on Quizlet to share with students to study.

Angelina Gonzales, a sophomore Spanish major, uses Quizlet to study and really likes the app’s testing feature.

“I use Quizlet for studying vocabulary and statistics a lot,” Gonzales said. “It’s really convenient, easy to use and classmates share (flashcards) a lot.”

9.) Google Docs

The Google Docs app performs the same functions as the desktop version, but with the convenience of being able to work on saved files at any time without having to carry around a laptop.

The app allows people to collaborate in real time on the same Doc without losing any changes made and keeping progress saved.

Gonzales likes the Google Docs app because it is convenient and easy to use on-the-go.

“I like Google Docs because I can work on my assignments without needing my computer with me,” Gonzales said. “It’s more user-friendly than Word is, easier to type in Spanish and easy to share with other people.”

10.) GroupMe

GroupMe allows you to organize group chats with other people such as coworkers, group projects, study groups and friends.

Josh Tallarico, a senior accounting major, likes GroupMe because it’s easy to use for making group chats with people that have iPhones and Androids.

“I guess Samsung phones can screw up normal group chats so GroupMe is a third party service that works with both (devices),” Tallarico said.

Anyone with a phone number or email address can be added to a group. GroupMe also offers a direct messaging and photo sharing feature.

“Overall, I’d rather use GroupMe,” Tallarico said. “You can send memes and see when people are typing. You can like people’s messages too.”

Maria is the technology reporter. Contact her at [email protected]