Top 5 Useful and Unique iPhone Apps for College Students

by Nicole Winkler

Say goodbye to pulling out a calculator to split the bill at dinner with friends, constantly eyeing your budget, waking up like a zombie on minimal hours of sleep, begging your friends for a ride, and fearing the dreaded “Freshman 15.”

Companies have created a variety of iPhone applications to help solve these exact problems.

“Apps are great for students, especially since our generation is on the go all the time,” said Brandon Paveh, Apple store employee and senior at California State University Long Beach.

Five unique and particularly useful apps for college students include Venmo, Mint, Uber, Sleep Cycle, and MyFitnessPal. To think that Apple’s application store did not exist 10 years ago and now has more than 1 million applications shows how apps are extremely relevant in our lives, especially as college students.


Venmo is a free, secure, and certified app that makes it easy for people to share payments for things like dinner, rent, movies and more. It makes splitting the check easier and more convenient.

Once the app is downloaded, you enter in your debit or bank account information in a completely secure network. According to Lydia Dallett’s Business Insider article, she said “founders’ ultimate goal: to make financial transactions social.”

“Venmo has established itself as an app that's truly designed for young people," Dallet said.

"Venmo makes hanging out with friends easier,” said senior communication studies major Alex Kaufman. “You don't have to worry about splitting up a bill 10 different ways, or making sure that everyone brings cash."

Kaufman loves the fact that Venmo takes the worry out of it all.

"You can really just enjoy being with good company," Kaufman said.


Mint is also a free app that makes tracking your personal finances easy. It securely pulls financial information from your bank account and puts it all in one place. Mint tracks where you spend your money, and encourages you to set financial goals to stay within your budget. It categorizes where you are spending money and notifies you when you exceed your budget, or if your account balance drops below an amount you are comfortable with.

“I love Mint because it forces me to be mindful of my finances,” said sophomore Madeleine Wilson, strategic and corporate communication major.

As a college student, Wilson finds Mint especially helpful.

“It provides helpful feedback and alerts me about my spending habits,” Wilson said.

The New York Times calls Mint, “your financial situation, in the palm of your hand.”


Uber’s goal is to make transportation more reliable and accessible. It prides itself on the way it connects riders to drivers at a click of a button through its phone application. The app is free to download, however does charge a little more than a taxi for transportation services depending on the destination.

Morgan Kauffman, a sophomore communication studies major, believes that Uber is like a “fancy taxi service.”

“Since I don’t have a car on campus, Uber is extremely useful, especially for rides to the airport,” Kauffman said.

Uber is quickly expanding nationwide and has proven to be a great resource for college students without transportation. It has three car options ranging from the lowest priced vehicle “uberX” to the highest priced experience in a black SUV. Uber recently introduced a transportation service to Vegas as well.

What separates Uber, according to Meg Sanborn, a sophomore music and communication studies major, is that it screens its drivers, making sure all passengers feel safe.

“I love Uber because I always feel safe getting a ride…I can always trust the driver and never feel in danger, and that’s a lot for a young college girl getting a ride home,” Sanborn said.


Sleep Cycle is a less familiar app to students that uses the accelerometer in your iPhone to track your sleep movements and determine which sleep phase you are in. It mainly serves as an alarm clock that uses a 30-minute window that ends at your desired alarm time to wake you up when you are in your lightest sleep.

The instructions suggest that you place your phone on the mattress above your pillow. Once the alarm is set, Sleep Cycle tells you, through graphs and statistics, how long you are in bed, when you woke up during the night, and the quality of your sleep. If you use the app consistently, it can even tell you your best and worst nights of sleep.

Although this app costs 99 cents in the app store, according to Kit Eaton’s New York Time’s article, “Turning to Your Phone for a Better Night’s Sleep,” Sleep Cycle is worth it because it makes you familiar with your sleep habits. 

According to sophomore Selina Bernal, a kinesiology major, Sleep Cycle is useful to college students because we often overlook the quality of our sleep. Bernal has been using this app for about a month and recognizes that when the alarm goes off in the lightest phase of her sleep, she feels better and more refreshed that morning.

“It’s pretty cool to see how long you are in a deep sleep for. I was also surprised that I was actually more awake when the alarm went off,” said Bernal.


MyFitnessPal is an application that acts as your personal nutritionist and trainer. You log in the food you eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and for snacks and it calculates your calorie intake. Once you install this free app, you record your height, weight, and decide on a desired weight loss goal. The goal calories are listed at the top, and as you add in the food you eat, it tells you how many calories you have left based on the weight loss plan chosen. You can also enter in exercise, which increases the amount of calories you can consume. Even if you are not interested in weight loss, it is an easy way to see what you are putting into your body.

“You don’t really realize how much you are snacking until you write it down,” said sophomore Mandi Ortiz, a strategic and corporate communication major.

“Diet and nutrition are so important. If this app helps students understand what they are putting in their body, I’m 100% for it,” said Ty Freeman, a personal trainer, wrestling/MMA coach, and professional fighter.

These five iPhone applications can make life as college students easier.  “Mobility is key for the future, and as students, we don’t have time or money and so with applications…we find the resources we need,” Paveh said.

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