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10 Essential Apps for Making Your Life Easier

They’re a snap to use—and free


College life is hectic. We all know how hard it is to juggle classes, extracurriculars, and part-time jobs. Everyone’s pressed for time. So BU Today has put together a list of 10 phone apps designed to make your life easier. These apps will make finding a host of things, from student discounts on clothing to arrival time of the next bus or train, faster to find.

Have an app that you think should be on our list and isn’t? Add it in the Comment section below.

BU Mobile

BU Mobile is designed just for you. This one-stop app provides an interactive map that allows you to track when the BUS (the BU Shuttle) is arriving (a life-saver on cold winter days) and access the University’s academic calendar, campus maps, a staff and student directory, a comprehensive list of courses, and much more. There’s even an “Emergency” feature that provides quick access to the BU Police department and other emergency service providers. Oh, and lest we forget, to BU Today.

Screenshots of the BU Mobile app

Image courtesy of Boston University

BU Bookstore

Another must-have for Terriers, the BU Bookstore app makes buying textbooks, BU clothing, supplies, and more easier than ever. You’ll also find coupons and special promotions, as well as information about store events. The app allows you to track the status of your bookstore orders and sends reminders for when rental books are due back. Take advantage of its Cafe Loyalty option and get every 10th cup of coffee at the Barnes and Noble Starbucks for free.

Image courtesy of the Barnes & Noble College


If you’ve ever gone to a BU Student Activities Weeks of Welcome event or just about any other college activity that requires preregistration, chances are you used Eventbrite. This app offers easy registration without having to print out physical tickets. You can search for events by using filters that sort events by date, city, category and mood, such as “fun on a budget,” “outdoor adventures,” and “free popular events.” Whether it’s music, food, or parties, you’ll find something fun to do on Eventbrite.

Screenshots of the Eventbrite mobile app.

Image courtesy of Eventbrite


College students looking to save on apparel, accessories, and more will want to upload this easy-to-use app. UNiDAYS offers discounts on a wide variety of popular brands, like American Apparel, Bed Bath and Beyond, and New Balance, among many others. All you need to access these sweet deals is verification of your enrollment in college. But the individual discounts don’t last forever, so take advantage while you can.

Screenshots of the UNiDAYS app in three different white iphones.

Image courtesy of UNiDAYS


If you’ve lived in Boston for any length of time, you probably know that the MBTA is not always the most dependable mode of transportation. It’s annoying and inconvenient to arrive at a T stop or bus stop and find you’ve just missed a train or bus. With ProximiT, you get to see exactly how far the next MBTA bus or train is from the station where you are. The app also lets you find nearby T stations, an essential tool if you’re in an unfamiliar neighborhood.

Screenshots of the ProximiT app in 3 black iPhones.

Image courtesy of Jeff Lopes

Uber or Lyft

Many students prefer using Uber or Lyft over public transportation. These ride-sharing apps provide a quick and affordable way to get to your destination, especially if it’s not accessible by public transportation or within walking distance. The ride-sharing apps occasionally offer deals and discounts on future rides, so keep your eyes out.

Screenshots of the Uber and Lyft mobile apps in a white and black iPhone.

Images courtesy of Uber and Lyft


Venmo is one of the fastest and easiest ways to transfer money. This digital wallet allows you to pay back that friend for the iced coffee or textbook they bought for you just by touching a few buttons. You can also use the app to request money others have borrowed, and it will remind them if they’re slow to pay up. You can either deposit money directly into a Venmo account or link it your bank account or debit card for quick and easy transfers.

Screenshots of the Venmo mobile app in a white iPhone.

Image courtesy of Venmo

Google Drive

Many college students use Google Drive for taking notes, collaborating on assignments with peers, and more. The mobile app allows you to make edits and work on assignments while on the go and have all your files at your fingertips.

Screenshots of the Google Drive app.

Image courtesy of Google


Have a pothole outside your door that needs fixing? Know of a health hazard in your neighborhood or an abandoned car parked on your street? With Boston City Hall’s BOS:311 app, you can put the care of your community in your own hands. It’s especially useful for college students living in off-campus apartments who want to quickly report nonemergency issues in their neighborhood. Messages are sent to the city’s work order management system, which forwards them to the right people for prompt response. Users will get a tracking number that allows them to follow their case.

Screenshots of the BOS:311 app.

Image courtesy of the City of Boston

Self Control

For those who worry that they spend too much time on their iPhones, the Self Control app is a no-brainer—and the best way to avoid distracting sites like Facebook and Twitter when you should be studying for an exam or writing a paper. You pick and choose the sites and apps you want to block and select how long you want them off limits.

Screenshots of the Self Control mobile app.

Image courtesy of Self Control

Sara Frazier can be reached at smfrazie@bu.edu.


2 Comments on 10 Essential Apps for Making Your Life Easier

  • Phy on 10.02.2018 at 9:19 am

    Sad that BU Mobile is iOS-only. Also I will recommend CityMapper providing convenient choices between MBTA/BlueBikes/Uber-lyft with realtime data.

  • Margaret Adamell on 02.14.2019 at 1:00 pm

    Thank you for this apps! I’ve never heard about Self Control, but now I’m interested in it and definitely will check it out. It seems to be really useful for procrastinators. By the way, it’s so pity, that a lot of cool apps are unknown, because they have lack of app reviews and are not displayed at the top positions in markets. It’s almost a year passed, I’m pretty sure, that now we have even more essential apps. Why don’t you post a new article with updated list?

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