Heading off to college is equal parts exciting and terrifying. The leap from high school to undergrad is a huge one, and — trust us — your classmates are just as nervous about it as you are. College life is a whole new ballgame that’ll hit you before you’re ready for it, but these apps will definitely make the transition easier.
1. Seamless or GrubHub, because you burn all the things whenever you cook
At some inevitable point, you won’t be able to stand dining hall food anymore. Fortunately, ordering takeout has never been easier. You’ve probably already used the Seamless or GrubHub websites — but with their smartphone apps, you can order cheesy pizza and mozzarella sticks on your way home, so that both gourmet delicacies are waiting for your drunken self when you arrive at your dorm. Be careful, though, because you think the Freshman 15 will never happen to you…until it does.
2. Sleep Cycle, because waking up is hard
You know those days when you wake up feeling well-rested and ready to take on the world? Yeah, they’re not most days. The Sleep Cycle app costs 99 cents, and it’s more than worth it for a good night’s sleep.
The app uses your phone’s accelerometer to track your sleep phases, which are measured by how much or how little you’re moving while asleep. You simply set the Sleep Cycle alarm clock to the time you absolutely need to be awake by — and then the app wakes you up during your lightest sleep phase before the designated time, when it’s the easiest to get out of bed.
3. StaySafe, because safety is always a priority
There are plenty of personal safety apps on the market, but StaySafe is one of the few that doesn’t require you to get to your phone in order to send out an alert or call 911. Say, for example, you’re walking home late at night through a neighborhood you’re unfamiliar with. You set StaySafe’s timer for 20 minutes — or however long you estimate it’ll take you to get home — and then, if you don’t check in with the app after 20 minutes, your specified contacts are notified of the situation and are sent your GPS location. The app is a whopping $6.99, but that’s a small investment for peace of mind.
4. Adobe Photoshop Express, because Instagram filters are not enough
Photoshop Express, unlike the full-on computer software, is gloriously free. You can pay for additional add-ons such as extra special effect filters or the ability to reduce the noise in a photo — but it’s completely free to adjust a photo’s size, contrast, lighting and so on. Yes, Instagram has several of these features in its latest version, but the Photoshop app allows for much more customization than Insta does. This means you no longer have an excuse for ‘gramming blurry, too-dark pics.
5. Venmo, because ain’t nobody got time for cash
With Venmo, restaurant bills are no longer a giant headache. You connect your debit card — or credit card if you prefer, but that incurs an additional fee — to Venmo and can pay or charge your friends right through your phone for food, rent, booze, etc. When you don’t have cash on you, Venmo lets you instantly pay back a friend who is generous enough to spot you. And the generosity goes both ways, for those times when you need to remind a friend that you covered their tab.
6. Dropbox, because emailing file attachments is so 2010
Stop emailing files to yourself. The Dropbox app works exactly like the normal website, making it super convenient to access your computer’s files from your phone. Photos you take on your phone can be automatically saved to your Dropbox, so transferring pics between your computer and phone has never been easier. (Life Pro Tip: Use Photoshop Express to prettify your pics on your phone, then transfer them to your computer via Dropbox for permanent storage — you’re basically a photographer!)
7. Hinge, because Tinder is creepy
Hinge is just like Tinder, except you can only swipe through people whom you have mutual Facebook friends with. It’s kinda like a LinkedIn for dating in that Hinge tells you whether you have a second or third degree connection. When you match with someone, you’re given their full name — so you can Google and Facebook stalk as needed to determine that they are, in fact, a normal human being…or at least, so you can ask your friend if they’re cool.
8. Studious, because you forget everything ever (Android only)
This app is basically a planner on steroids. You’ll get notifications when papers are due and exams are coming up, so midterms won’t sneak up on you. The app will even silence your phone for you during class, so you don’t need to worry about “Marimba” going off mid-lecture.
9. Iconical, because customization is important, you know?
For $1.99 you can give your phone a complete makeover. Iconical lets you replace apps’ standard icons with your own images, so you can make your phone truly your own. The app even lets you set custom shortcuts on your home screen — like an icon that calls your mom or an icon that opens to an email already addressed to your boss.
10. Dark Sky, because the iPhone’s weather app is less accurate than Karen in “Mean Girls”
Dark Sky ($3.99) gives you the weather down to the minute, so you’ll know exactly how much time you have until a downfall soaks you to the bone on your way to class. Better start speed-walking — or hell, full-on sprinting — to get to your lecture hall before Mother Nature strikes.
11. Last Message, because your phone battery is the worst (Android only)
When your phone’s about to die, Last Message sends out an automatic text to your pre-specified friends letting them know you’re going offline for awhile. This way, your friends won’t think you’re ignoring them when you don’t respond to their texts all afternoon.