Across the country, an anatomical mutation is sweeping college campuses. Students are growing fifth appendages, a paradigm shift to the human form. More shocking still is that this evolution is showing no signs of slowing down.
Admittedly, that may have been just a little hyperbolic. But students are increasingly treating their phones less like an accessory and more like an extension of themselves. That evolution seemed inevitable — with apps as useful as music-identifying Shazam and as frivolous as the pop culture survey app Frat or Indie, how could the digitally-native set possibly tire of looking at these tiny screens?
And while mainstays like Twitter, Pandora and Instagram can cover the better part of a college student’s bases, here’s a round-up of 10 hot apps that will fill in the gaps on any co-ed’s digital utility belt.
Balancing a budget: iReconcile – $2.99
Smartphones don’t fit very comfortably into a student budget, but this app will. iReconcile is a personal finance app packed with customizable features such as a built-in check register, an account management system and a running balance of your transactions that can be easily made into spreadsheets and charts. Categorize your spending and figure out where to trim the fat.
What’s for dinner: Love Food Hate Waste – free
Love Food Hate Waste is a virtual blender. Users input the random leftovers they have sitting in the fridge, and the app generates recipes from those ingredients so that you stop wasting your food and your money.
Besides the recipe blender, the app offers a portion planner — simplifying the art of cooking for one — and a meal planner with which users can build a smart shopping list that will create a diverse set of meals for the week. Bon appetit!
Pencil it in: iStudiez Pro – $0.99
This all-in-one digital planner makes it easy to keep a jam-packed college life in check. iStudiez Pro will help you keep track of schedules, assignments and deadlines, as well as professors’ office locations, hours and contact information. A handy GPA calculator allows students to stay on top of their grade point average over the course of the semester, so there aren’t any surprises come finals week. Sync it across your devices and watch organizing become a breeze.
Lightning round: gFlash+ Flashcards & Tests – free
3x5s are so 20th century. This cross-device app is a platform for downloading and creating flashcards that take the original quiz tool to the next level by adding images, audio files and video clips. Organize flashcards by what you know and what you don’t. Collaborate and share with classmates by syncing to your Google Docs account. Plus, for a small premium, educational publishers like Kaplan, McGraw-Hill and Barron’s provide their own material to pair up with your textbooks, so the facts are coming straight from the source.
Hitting the gym: MyFitnessPal – free
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, bulk up or just monitor your fitness more closely, MyFitnessPal makes staying healthy almost as fun as Doodle Jump. This app creates personalized goals for calorie intake and fitness activity based on healthy personal goals. With a hefty and ever-growing database of over 1,500,000 foods and 350 exercises, you can easily track all major nutrients you’re consuming and the fat you’re burning.
The app also features a barcode scanner and a newsfeed by which users can share goals they’ve reached and encourage friends who use the app. And with an accompanying website, you can track your diary from a web browser, too.
A good night’s sleep: Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock – $0.99
Whether you’re pulling all-nighters or just want to optimize your beauty sleep, Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock will optimize your sleep patterns and wake you up feeling refreshed. The app uses the iPhone’s accelerometer to evaluate your sleep cycle and wake you up in the lightest phase of your sleep cycle. Use it to get a killer full night’s rest, or for a recharging power nap in between late night cram sessions. It’s baffling at first, but as so many users attest, it just works.
Get connected: Wi-Fi Finder – free
This app is as simple as it is practical. Wi-Fi Finder tracks down hotspots in your vicinity, filtering them by free or paid access, provider and location type. That way, you can find a hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant with web access, or opt for the more familiar vanilla latte companion to your pile of work. With Wi-Fi Finder, the choice is yours.
String around your finger: Evernote – free
Ditch the Notes app that comes standard with your smartphone and opt for Evernote. This cross-platform productivity tool can be used for taking notes, capturing photos, creating to-do lists and recording voice reminders. Evernote can search for text inside images, making it a killer tool for searching and studying photos of whiteboards, books and slide presentations.
Stretch that dime: AroundCampus – free
The creators of this college-specific coupon app know that students live on a budget. That’s why they created this database of digital coupons for local deals around hundreds of college campuses. AroundCampus uses your smartphone’s GPS to find nearby spots for everything from consumer goods to food to services, and alerts you of the hot deals currently offered. You can share the deal with your social networks, or keep the secret to yourself.
A photographic scavenger hunt: InstaCC – free
A healthy portion of a connected millennial’s digital culture cred is associated with their Instagram. InstaCC is a great accessory to the Facebook-owned camera app, offering a calendar and challenges that inspire users to seek out particular subjects for their snapshots.
Challenges range from the concrete to the abstract, with topics like love, nature and nostalgia. Perhaps most alluring of all is that when you post photos to Instagram using InstaCC’s designated tags, your likes and comments will spike. As of now the app is exclusively available on the iPhone, but with the rapid growth of Instagram an Android version might very well be in the works.
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