How Did We Live Without These Apps: Top 5 Best College Apps

Sometimes I wonder how people survived without smartphones. I’m being completely honest when I say how I don’t understand how there weren’t significantly more accidents when people were trying to find their way and they had to use physical maps while driving. We think texting and driving is dangerous, imagine losing complete site due to the massive unfolding maps while trying to navigate where north and south is. Or when people needed to send a document they would have to hand deliver it, potentially miles away, after printing it all out and binding it, when we can drag a document and click send.

The ease of use apps and technology to do menial tasks saves us immense time and stress when we are able to do it with the click of a button, especially in college. This article will go over a few of the most critical apps and how different our lives would be if we didn’t have the convenience of them.

1. Uber

tumblr_inline_nfcvf86d2p1rol1ej.gifThis was naturally the first that came to mind as I just came back from the grocery store using this convenient app. Especially when it comes to Boston College, it is incredibly difficult to get a parking pass and it then becomes expensive to park on campus, pay for gas and insurance, and then pay to park wherever you drive. This app not only makes it a lot more cost efficient, but also makes for an incredibly convenient experience. It picks you up exactly where you are so you don’t have to walk to your car and then drops you off where you want to be without having to worry about parking or distance from the nearest parking garage. Yes public transportation would be much more cost effective and  better for the environment, but the convenience that comes with this technology is unmatched. Uber is definitely at the top of my list in terms of “hot” college apps because

2. Snapchat

What was once purposed for the cause of sexting, has become one of the most used apps in the world. The ability to connect with each other for something that lasts no longer than 10 seconds not only feeds to our short attention span, but also serves as an entertaining and humorous way. Whether it is sending someone a picture indicating a message or showing them an event, these short messages help keep us connected. Additionally, the story feature allows us to broadcast what we are doing, what we are watching and who we are seeing which allows college students to be made aware of events on or off campus, potential activities we are participate in, and is a great way to learn about restaurants or shopping areas around school.

3, Facebook/Instagram

How many of you have been at a restaurant and see someone you know but can’t remember their names? In the old days you had to play a game where you tried to introduce someone to this person to remind yourself of their names, but nowadays if you have a few key pieces of information: hometown, high school, college, job, first name, and you can find them on Facebook or Instagram. This has also become a method of recon. Where one used to have to ask around about a person’s interest or in some cases their past relationships, one can now back stalk them to see what they used to be like are what they are into now. Both of these apps have served as tools during college to both showcase what we do during the year, but also are a way of connecting with people through pictures and information regarding what they like/dislike. It has also made our world much smaller. What used to be six degrees of separation has become just over 4.


4. Spotify

It’s hard to spot people without headphones in their ears while walking across campus. Whether they are listening to nothing, or connected to their latest songs on Spotify/Apple Music, people are connecting in a new way through music. People used to walk on with their walk-mans with limited songs on repeat, and now we have access to massive XRMV6.giflibraries of music that are at the touch of a button. We can see what people are listening to, what others around the world are loving, and are developing our music taste and libraries based on others. This is an incredible ability to connect through this universal language of music.

5. Venmo

“I’ll pay you back later bro” used to be a saying coming from a friend you knew was never going to actually pay you back. You bought them dinner and you were never going to see that money again. Until now, the app that has made everyone financially unnamed-2_1.jpgaccountable to those they are in debt to. Especially in college when you are ordering drinks or meals, it is easier to just put one card down and then split over Vemno. This has unfortunately become one of my most used apps simply because of the efficiency and ease of paying for anything over this app versus in cash (because who even carries cash anymore?).

Others that didn’t make the list, yet will receive honorable mention there include:

  • LinkedIn: Gotta have it if you want a job
  • Twitter: Trying to stay updated in a tech way
  • Pinterest: Looking for recipes or trying to be hip
  • News: If you’re trying to stay woke
  • Mail/Google Drive: For the overachievers trying to stay ultra organizedert
  • Netflix: Gotta have those movies and shows on the go

Think my rankings wrong/apps are out of order, lmk below as I’m interested how we all differ in our usage of our apps.


  1. fayehubregsen · ·

    Alexis, great post! It is interesting to think about ranking these apps particularly since some apps require less usage time (e.g. Venmo), but are a staple to the college experience. I might be also add GroupMe to the top-10 list considering it often serves as the back-bone for several on-campus groups and organizations. In terms of BC, I would say the Gold Pass app unfortunately does not make the top 10 list — several of my friends failed to check-in to a single sports game this year. Ultimately, I think busy-body college students would benefit greatly from incorporating the Headspace app into their day-to-day — but I think the apps you listed at the end definitely eclipse an app like Headspace as it encourages users to slow down rather than speed up.

  2. ItsUlker · ·

    Cool post! It definitely covers the whole college experience, and even beyond – I’m sure there are many millenials with the same list of apps that the use on a constant basis. The only way I would change the list is maybe by frequency of usage (SM apps come first, then Uber, then Venmo), but Uber is definitely one of the most important ones. I have noticed after the recent app update that you can even choose which one of the BC buildings you want to be picked up from. The app automatically presents a scrolling list if it detects that you are on campus, which I find very cool but not too convenient (I rarely go or need to go outside Fulton Hall and it took me forever to figure out how get picked up from Stokes).

    Some other apps I use a lot are WhatsApp for texting family and friends across the world, and Starbucks, because mobile order is the best.

  3. Great post– I think you were spot on! I think the only category of apps you may have missed is calendar/to do list apps that, my friends and I at least, seem to live by. Given the hectic nature of a college schedule, I’ve found it utterly necessary to keep a digital schedule that can travel with me on my phone or on my laptop. Most of my friends and I literally schedule time with each other, and we don’t consider lunch/dinner plans to be official (expected to show up) unless we mutually entered it into our calendars when we made the plans. I realize that may seem a bit overboard, but it’s reality within my circle of friends, at least.

    I also rely pretty heavily on food delivery services like GoPuff and DoorDash, but in terms of a top 5, I think the ones you listed beat them out.

  4. viquezj · ·

    Nice post! These are awesome apps that I think every college student uses on a daily basis since they make life easier for everybody. If I could add some other apps to the list, I would include Gmail, WhatsApp, Bank of America, Google Maps, Yelp and Foodler or any other equivalent app to order food delivery. In addition to the Social media apps, the best app out there are those that provide services and simplify your tasks of the day. Whenever you have a busy day, which is pretty common for college students, these apps will help you to get organized and carry out tasks in a shorter period of time. Services is a growing industry because users are willing to pay a premium in order to receive these benefits. This is definitely shaping how human beings interact in society, and every person’s routines on a daily basis. Essentially, these apps are creating a different type of lifestyle.

  5. aecharl · ·

    Interesting post. I particularly enjoyed reading it because I was in college just as smart phones were becoming popular and before Uber. It certainly was a lot more inconvenient, but when that is all that you know, you don’t notice a difference. I think there are certain social elements lost from a lot of these apps, however. In college, if someone needed a ride home from the library, then they would text a roommate who would come pick them up and then maybe go somewhere fun to hang out. In this sense, a social situation was created out of a need for a ride. Also, the dependency upon others I think is an important thing to learn. While it’s great to be independent and in total control of what time you will get home without having to wait on others, I do think that something is lost on this generation who rarely have to put themselves second if they are going to have someone do a favor for them.

  6. lenskubal · ·

    Great post! I have tried to not use my phone for a day and it was near impossible for me to do.. I became paranoid and thought I felt the vibrations of my phone when it was completely off. Refraining from social media apps wasn’t easier either. The apps you blogged about seem like absolute necessities and really make me realize how reliant we are on their existence. I think you were accurate with all the apps you mentioned, but one area you might have missed might be organizational apps. I personally use several organizational apps to schedule and stay on track. These apps have been a huge part of my college experience. I think our reliance on these apps has helped and hurt us. We now have more visibility and access to resources, but there is certainly a social, personal connection element that suffers from our addiction to smart devices.

  7. DanKaplan · ·

    Great job! All five of the apps that you mentioned provide so much value to the college experience and I cannot imagine going through these four years without them. My brother attended BC just a few years before us and he told stories of traveling just a few miles down the road and having the taxi be over $30. If it was this expensive every time we decided to into Boston or even into Allston- we would certainly be taking the T more often. As for Venmo- I know for a fact that without this App- there would be many times I would not be paid back for items I have fronted for. Lastly- Spotify makes it incredibly easy to listen to any song at any time. They have made college life so much easier and and will continue to provide substantial value in the years after college as well.

  8. Really great post! I definitely agree that the tools you identified make college easier to a great extent, although I personally think uber and venmo seem to be the most influential in my experience. I have also been saved many times by more BC specific apps such as Transloc for the Newton Bus back in Freshman year (anyone who lived on Newton knows what a saving grace this app is). Canvas has also been tremendously helpful for keeping classwork organized. I wonder how people were able to learn as much before a system like this where you only had one chance to learn the material, as opposed to being able to review lectures/slides online.

    In addition, I agree with Faye that GroupMe should be in the top five, considering how much of college is groupwork and how helpful this app can be at organizing people for school, clubs, etc.

  9. Nice. For me, Google Drive is likely the most indispensable. You guys probably don’t remember the time when you could actually “lose” data, but when it happened, it was catastrophic.

  10. dcardito13 · ·

    Very interesting post! Us college students really take for granted how easily accessible information is to us to complete schoolwork or research, let alone the immense number of apps that assist us in every aspect of life. I couldn’t imagine what I would do in my free time without Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook keeping me occupied. I definitely agree with your top 5 posts, however I would probably put the three social media platforms, as well as Spotify, before Uber. I actually personally do not use Venmo, but I know all of my friends do, along with probably all of the BC students. The alarm clock app and GroupMe are definitely up there as well, in addition to the News and Weather apps.

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