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8 Essential Apps that Every NU Class of 2020 Student Needs To Download Right Now

Hey NU Class of 2020! We hope you’re as excited as us to get on campus and start the new school year. But before Fall Quarter officially begins, here are 8 essential apps that every Northwestern student has to make campus life easier and more fun.

  1. TapRide


Perfect for late-night Chipotle runs.

TapRide is the app associated with SafeRide, Northwestern’s free late-night transport service. Although they can sometimes take a long time to arrive, SafeRides are a great alternative to more expensive modes of transportations like Uber or Lyft. They are available anywhere close to the Northwestern campus, and from the hours of 7:00 PM to 3:00 AM. Nothing is more satisfying after a long night than seeing one of those good ole’ white Priuses rounding a corner to pick you up after “studying” on a chilly winter Saturday night!


  1. Uber


When it hits 20 below in Evanston, you wouldn’t want to walk anywhere either.

Uber is one of the most important apps on any college students’ phone. In a suburb, it can take upwards of 20 minutes for a cab to arrive – but with Uber, the average wait time is less than 5 minutes. Not only that, but the ability to pay through a phone and split fare with friends easily is incredibly convenient in a atmosphere where paper money has become almost obsolete. Also, with the new feature UberPool, the prices that are already on average 40% lower than taxis can be reduced by an additional 50%, simply by pairing you with other riders with similar routes. This handy feature makes an already relatively affordable mode of transportation even more affordable, and can help lessen the effect of the rush hour surge pricing.


  1. Double map


You can figure out exactly when the buses come so you’re not standing at the bus stop freezing your bum off in the middle of winter.

Double map is an interactive bus tracker that shows accurate locations of the Northwestern and city buses in real time. Having a working knowledge of the bus system is especially important during the winter months when a trek all the way across campus feels comparable to summiting Everest. Clearly, transportation plays a big part in the lives of college students – whether by car, bus, or train, these apps are a necessity for the transition to college.


  1. Canvas


Have a quiz and forgot to study? Skim over the lecture notes on your phone before the quiz gets passed out. Trust me, it works wonders.

Almost every class you’ll be in during your time here at Northwestern will have its home base on Canvas. Here, you’ll be able to access the syllabus and class PowerPoints on your phone quickly and easily – which is especially handy when the teacher changes the slide just a second too quickly and you need to get down that last sentence in order to completely perfect your notes. The Canvas website is great on a computer, but if you ever want to access course files on your phone or tablet, the app is the way to go!


  1. Venmo


TBH, it’s kind of weird if you don’t have Venmo these days.

“I forgot my wallet – can I Venmo you for that?”

“Bro, you totally have to Venmo me $5 for last night!!”

Cash is hardly used on college campuses anymore – Venmo is the newest form of monetary exchange that connects your credit/debit card and bank account to one app, and allows you to easily pay and request payment without having to deal with the hassle of paper money. This allows you to request payment immediately, so gone are the days of people constantly “forgetting” to pay you back, or always “not having money on them”.


  1. NU Help


What’s better than not knowing where anything is? Knowing where everything is.

When you first get to campus, you will be bombarded with a class list with a collection of random buildings you’ve probably never heard of. While you can always ask where they are, in order to pretend you aren’t a freshman straight out of the womb of high school, it’s best to download this helpful map tool to find so you can find all these mysterious places yourself. The NU help app is a great place to find out which Ryan Hall or Searle Hall your class is in, or how to get to from Tech to Fisk in the shortest amount of time possible without wandering around like the freshman you are.


  1. Starbucks


Two words. Free coffee.

Let’s be honest – you’ll be pulling some at least a few all nighters during your time here. So you may as well earn some free coffees through the Starbucks rewards program while purchasing the several Venti drinks you’ll need to stay awake! In April of 2016, Starbucks completely revamped their rewards program; now, for each $1 you spend, you earn two stars. After you a certain number of stars, you’ll be eligible for rewards.


  1. Tinder


Who knows, maybe the cute girl/boy you swiped right on may turn out to be “the one”.

Tinder is a great way to meet new people – especially for those that have a harder time meeting people through the usual means. Tinder is also the source of a lot of lingo all the kids are using these days; the easy swiping system of the app has given rise to terms like “swiping right”, which is when you like the person’s profile that you’re viewing, and now has the colloquial meaning of generally approving of something. So by downloading this you not only become a part of a cultural phenomenon, but you also now have a handy tool to initiate conversation with your fellow wildcats!

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