As a generation attached to our phones and iPads, studenthood is a time when we probably should pay a little more attention to our new friends, have a little more quality time than ‘face time’ and generally put Words With Friends on the backburner for a while.
But as much as the wise elders will frown on our technological obsessions, a handy app or two is always useful for the new student, and there’s some fantastic mobile resources out there designed for city living. From the best money-saving apps to those that help you find your way around and plan your studies, we’ve tried, tested and spent a hard earned 69p (in some cases) to find the best student apps around.
if you’re currently a fully fledged student then we’re sure that the NUS Extra card is a much used and loved device! If you’re a prospective student however then you might not be aware that there’s a whole range of savings to be had on everything from eating out to motoring and travel.
The NUS (National Union of Students) Extra card basically gives you great savings on a variety of everyday items for an annual fee of £12. You simply present the card at the checkout and receive your discount, and don’t forget to ask wherever you go, you’ll be surprised at how many high street stores are willing to give students a nice 10% off!
The NUS Extra app works in the same way and brings all the latest offers in your area right to your phone. Saving savvy browsers can select discounts by category, making the app incredibly user friendly when you’re out and about. There’s also the option to log in to your NUS account or simply browse the offers available first (so no fiddling with details while you queue to pay for those new shoes!)
If you’re out and about with non student friends then all those great offers you’re enjoying might seem a little unfair to those paying the full prices, luckily there’s some great money saving apps out there that cater for everyone, not just students.
Vouchercloud is a great app for people on the go as the offers are always plentiful and usually cover popular eateries and entertainment venues, making it a perfect app for finding deals at your favourite haunts. The offers are arranged under handy icons too and cover everything from shopping to travel and takeaways.
The ultimate App for students finding their way around a new city, Pin Drop allows you to bookmark interesting places and landmarks you might come across but could easily end up forgetting in a large city such as Manchester. Of course this is great for remembering that amazing patisserie or that boutique you just have to share, but from a new student’s perspective, it’s just brilliant for getting your bearings.
Although your ‘pins’ are automatically set to private, Pin Drop is seriously social media friendly and allows you to import content from your other accounts such as Foursquare and Google Maps. It will also sync to Instagram and you can now drop pins whenever you take photos with this photo sharing favourite. You can back-up your data too so your carefully curated pins will be safe should you lose your phone.
*Please be aware that in central Manchester it is always wise to keep your valuables private. Students generally feel safe in our bustling city, but like anywhere, walking around with a brand new iPhone 5 on show (i.e. when you’re using maps) can attract the wrong attention.
Compatibility: iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch
Where can I get it? iTunes
If the extent of your organisation is adding a few notes to your phones/PCs/Tablet’s note pad with the occasional calendar reminder, then Wunderlist might just be your saviour. There’s plenty of intelligent ‘note taking’ and organisational apps around such as the ever-popular Evernote, but Wunderlist is one of the best around for its effortless ability to delegate, share, categorise tasks and generally organise your whole life.
The ‘share’ option is particularly great for social activities (such as keeping everyone up to date about an upcoming event) but is also really useful for group work and academic projects (and looks a little more professional than a Facebook group!). Wunderlist can also be synced across all of your devices ensuring even the most disorganised person has all their tasks to hand anywhere, anytime. With over 30 languages to choose from, Wunderlist can also be set to your home language if you’re a beginner English language student.
Now some people can be a little sceptical over the Sleep Cycle App as it essentially uses your movements while you sleep to wake you when you’re at your lightest sleep phase. The theory is that the app wakes you when you’re naturally ready within the 30 minute parameter you specify before going to sleep. For example if you need to be up around 7ish you can set the alarm for between 6:45 and 7:15.
The app aims to help you avoid that unbearable tiredness you experience when your alarm starts screaming and you’re still exhausted (this is when we’re woken during a deep sleep phase). The creator Maciek Drejak noticed that the technology that existed in some of the expensive ‘bio-alarm’ clocks was already installed in the iPhone (accelerometer) and so the Sleep Cycle app was born. Users simply place their iPhone face down on their mattress and the app measures their movements and consequently their sleep cycles.
Where can I get it? iTunes
These apps are amongst some of the finest we could get our hands on as they all excel at guiding students through unfamiliar territory in a fun and usable style. Yes they’re handy for saving money, keeping up to date with your tasks and helping you find your way and in 4 out of 5 cases they’re free! So if you’re planning to study at New College Manchester, a few of these handy additions on your beloved device are well worth installing before you arrive.