Top 10 Free Apps for College Students

StudyBlue

College students can save time, money, and paper (go green!) by creating decks of digital flashcards with StudyBlue. The app provides a familiar card flip movement while going through the deck, with added features that can help students track progress, discover which information they are struggling to retain, and the ability to share decks of cards with classmates.

Evernote

Evernote is the best way for college students to keep their notes organized and up to date. Users can create individual digital notebooks for every course, mark tabs, add photos, set reminders and more. To add the cherry on top, everything automatically syncs across all your devices so you can access notes anytime, anywhere.

Spotify

While there may be conflicting thoughts on whether music helps or hinders information retention, nothing is worse than auditory distractions that you can’t control. As the family in
`A Quite Place` discovered
, bigger noises are sometimes needed to drown out the smaller but more distracting noises, such as library chatter and roommate conversations. Spotify provides free unlimited music streaming access to users and offers a great student discount for premium services.

Grammarly 

As the saying goes – “Work smarter, not harder.” Grammarly is available on macOS, Chrome, iOS, and Android to help you be the best writer you can be. Not sure if you should put a comma there? Grammarly has the answer. It’s the perfect solution for those late night typos and grammar mistakes that are often and easily made. 

SelfControl

The internet and all it has to offer can easily suck up time and cause distractions and addictions, and while it is nearly impossible to break up with Big Tech in 2019, there is a short-term solution. Although only available on macOS, SelfControl allows users to completely block themselves from using websites of their choice for a selected amount of time. For college students who struggle with concentrating during online research and end up on BuzzFeed or YouTube instead, it may be the best solution. Just be prepared for the inevitable feeling of internet withdrawal.  

Venmo

🍕☕️🍻🎬🚙⛽; the list of things you might owe your friend or roommate money for goes on and on. College students today aren’t paying each other back via cash or check though, opting instead for digital payment methods such as Venmo, which offers fee-free instant payments between users. According to Forbes, 79% of 18-24 year olds have used a digital payment service at least once in the past month. Why? It’s easy to use, moves money instantly, and deters the classic “Sorry, I forgot my wallet” con.

Raftr

When surveyed, 70% of college students said they frequently miss out on campus events, simply because they didn’t know about them. Raftr can help solve this and other problems for administrators and students alike, by combining the hodgepodge of multiple campus calendars all into one simple to use, organized app with social features to boot.

Fooducate

While MyFitnessPal and similar health-oriented apps are great for counting calories and tracking exercise, Fooducate focuses on educating users about how nutritionally valuable the food they are eating is by providing a familiar letter grade for each product. College students can help combat the dreaded freshman fifteen by discovering which foods will get them an “A” and which will have them failing to meet their body’s needs.

LinkedIn

Why would anyone put 4+ years and thousands of dollars into a college education and not use it after graduation? With over 500 million users LinkedIn is one of the most heavily used profesional websites on the internet. Not only is LinkedIn a way to find or be found, but it can give users insight into companies they may be interested in working for in the future. It’s a great tool for college students looking for internships, a post-graduation job, or just looking to networking with professors and alumni.

Mint

For many college students, freshman year will be the first time they have to really begin taking responsibilities for their own lives, including their finances, and things can add up quickly. Mint is a great (and free!) financing app that lets users connect their bank accounts, student loans, credit cards, and more into one easy to use app. Students can create budgets for things they regularly buy, and reminders for bills they need to pay.

5 Tips for Using Technology to Improve Campus Life

college students using mobile appsCollege students are digital natives that live and breathe technology. According to IBM, over 65% of Generation Z claims to frequently use more than one device at a time. With hectic schedules, demanding classes, part-time jobs, and ever-evolving technology, today’s students are constantly looking for ways to connect with others and manage their lives. Here are five tips for using technology to connect students to your campus life.

Introduce them to your campus – before they arrive

Every university across the world has a unique campus life and culture, and every potential student is looking for something different from their college experience. Your website, social media accounts, and online groups will be most incoming students’ first impression of your campus. Make sure your first impression is your best, by ensuring your online platforms truly reflect the university’s values, diversity, and opportunities.  

Create digital communities

All students, especially those that are new to your school, are looking for ways to integrate themselves into campus life by finding their people and discovering new passions. The easier you can make this for them, the better! While student activity fairs are a great opportunity for freshmen to explore, upperclassmen and transfer students may be missing out. Whether through paid platforms such as Raftr, or traditional social media accounts, it’s important to give students a digital platform with information that can be explored all year round.

college students on cell phonesMake it easy and accessible

From ordering a ride on Lyft, to having a burrito delivered by GrubHub, students expect to be able to access everything from their phone, and your campus life experience should be no different. No one wants to walk across campus just to find out the library closed an hour ago or the event they were psyched to attend was canceled. Give students instant access to the information they seek, with minimal effort on their end.  (Make sure your information is up-to-date too.)

Promote events in familiar platforms

Gone are the days of designing, printing, and hanging flyers on corkboards around campus, just for them to get overlooked or covered. With so many different activities for students to get involved with on campus, it can be overwhelming to find groups and events that actually matter to them. By using technology, universities can create a more organized and welcoming campus life for students from the moment they set foot on campus.

Increase Transparency

Your students want to be involved, engaged, and educated about campus life at your university. Give them the information that they seek. Technology allows university administrators to create conversations about issues, reach out directly to students, and answer questions instantly. According to Forbes, the current generation has a “very strong B.S. meter,” seeking authentic information and direct, honest discussions. Whether those conversations are about opinions on the cafeteria food, the financial status of the school, or the scandal you’d rather ignore, creating an open dialogue will make students feel heard and more connected to campus.    
Raftr Blog

Careers in Student Engagement: Expectations vs. Reality

students on college campusIt’s easy to see why people are drawn to careers in student affairs: working on a college campus, interacting daily with students on ways to improve campus life, and assurances that no two days will ever really be the same. That said, there are some challenges that come with the territory, and sometimes the realities of careers in student engagement can differ from the expectations.

Career Positions in Student Affairs

So what do student affairs professionals do? These positions typically cover a broad spectrum of roles, from student life and student activities to campus recreation and residence life. Many colleges and universities have opportunities for highly specialized roles, including first year & orientation directors, diversity and inclusion roles, and transfer student specialists. What all of these positions share, though, is a focus on finding ways to make sure students are safe on campus, successful in their college endeavors, and able to make the most out of this pivotal time in their lives. So what does it take to kickstart a career in student engagement? For most entry level roles, a bachelor’s degree is required, and while degrees can vary greatly, those in business, human resource management, sociology, psychology and education can be helpful. What you may find, though, is that upward mobility is challenging without an advanced degree. Most senior positions require a master’s degree in higher education administration or a similar area of focus, but tuition remission programs at many schools can make it possible to earn that degree while working in student affairs and gaining valuable experience.

A Day in the Life of a Student Engagement Professional

Once you’ve got the foot in the door and you’re working in student affairs, what does daily like look like? This where the expectations and reality may somewhat differ!

Expectation: Fun Events! Concerts! Campus Block Parties, Oh My!

Reality: Limited Budgets! Logistics! Intra-department Coordination, Oh My!

As a student, it’s easy to show up to exciting campus events and easily get drawn into how creating those events on campus would be a fun and fulfilling career – and you would be right! But it’s also easy to overlook the challenges that come with that. Limited budgets and ever-growing needs can require a lot of innovation to overcome, and the amount of time invested into coordinating with other departments and planning logistics for many of these events can be draining.

student affairs professionals meetingExpectation: Challenges and Struggles

Reality: Rewards That Far Outweigh the Challenges

Maybe you’re walking into a career in student engagement fully expecting it to be riddled with challenges to overcome .And you would be right! But the reality is that working with young people, and having the opportunity to serve as a mentor to college students just starting out on their own is one of the most rewarding careers imaginable. You will have the opportunity to make a significant impact on student success on campus, and that will carry over into your students’ lives well beyond college.

Why Choose a Career in Student Affairs?

There are so many benefits to careers in student affairs, and those go even beyond the impact you’ll have. The growth potential is limitless, with opportunities to advance from entry level positions, up to roles as Dean of Students, Vice Presidents, and beyond. The work is exciting and fun, and while you will spend some of your time around a conference room table at meetings, you’ll also be out on campus, meeting with and working with students in a dynamic environment. Many schools offer free or reduced tuition for employees and their families, so you can continue your development and education. Careers in student affairs are fun, rewarding, challenging, and always changing. Once you’ve made the decision to start a career in student engagement, make plans to join a national organization like NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) and let your creativity and innovation help spur the next trend in driving student engagement on campus.