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Five Mobile Apps that Every First-time College Student Should Have

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With over 1 million apps available in the App Store and Google Play alike, students have more opportunities than every before to navigate college (and life) with help from the device in the palm of their hands.

Although apps like Evernote, StudyBlue, Duolingo, and Wunderlist are no-brainer downloads for success in the classroom, here are several other key apps that can help you navigate college life like a pro.

TransLoc Rider

Nothing can be more nerve-wracking than trying to navigate a completely unfamiliar campus for the first time and nothing screams "freshman" (or "transfer student") more than breaking out the giant three-panel map you got free at orientation. Although many colleges and universities offer their own campus map apps, TransLoc Rider contains maps and routes for dozens of colleges and universities and yours is most likely on the list. Users can select their school and then select their favorite routes ensuring that you know just how long it is before the next bus or shuttle comes to take you to your next class or back to the dorms. Available for both Apple and Android devices, TransLoc Rider is available for free download.


Getting sick is never fun, but especially not when you're at college and you realize that for the first time it's largely up to you to get well on your own. iTriage can help with its simple design and treasure-trove of medical information. Among other things, users can easily isolate and identify their symptoms and discover possible causes, locate local medical providers and facilities, and research different medications and procedures making this app your one-stop for the cold and allergy seasons and everything in-between. Available for both Apple and Android devices, iTriage is available for free download.


Unfortunately, crime is often a part of the college experience. Campus crime is a reality that parents and students often don't like to think or talk about, but it's a reality that should not be ignored. Although self-defense products such as pepper spray or self-defense key chains are often affordable and more or less reliable in an emergency, if those are a little too extreme for you at the very least consider downloading SafeTrek. SafeTrek does one job and it does it well, users input their personal information (name, phone number, and a PIN) and then hold down a button on the screen while walking. If an emergency occurs, users release the button and have ten seconds to input their PIN, if they don't, police will be notified. SafeTrek offers a peace of mind that students should definitely take advantage of. Available for both Apple and Android devices, SafeTrek is available for free download on Google Play and for $1.99 on the App Store.

Scanner Pro by Readdle

From housing contracts to syllabi, college is about papers being thrown at you left and right. Keeping the physical copies is often confusing, messy, and an overall burden, but Scanner Pro makes creating high-quality of scans of everything from receipts to whiteboards as easy as taking a picture. Scans can be saved on your device or sent to Evernote, Dropbox, or Google Drive. Available for Apple devices only, Scanner Pro is available for download on the App Store for $6.99.

Voice Record Pro 7

Although the iPhone's native Voice Memos app does a fine job at recording speech, Voice Record Pro 7 does it better. Voice Record Pro 7 allows you do everything from set what file format you want your recording to be saved as to adjusting the bit and sample rates of your recordings. It also allows you to export and import recordings from Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and more. A dedicated digital recorder is probably best for those taking journalism or communications classes where interviews are common assignments, but for the average student looking to record lectures there is no doubt that Voice Record Pro 7 is the right app for the job. Available for Apple devices only, Voice Record Pro 7 is available for free download.

As most college students past their first year will tell you, there is a learning curve to college living. Living semi-independently for the first time is freeing, but at times it can be extremely daunting as well. However, these apps - along with dozens of others that unfortunately didn't make the list - can make the transition into college life a little easier, safer, and more organized.

Luis Ruuska welcomes comments at Follow him on Twitter at @LuisRuuska