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Help Is Just a Tap Away

Surviving freshman year without totally stressing out is no easy feat. Luckily, there’s an app for that – about a gazillion of them, actually, and they make navigating the whole college experience far more manageable.


UC Irvine hosts AppJam, an annual competition where students design apps for all aspects of campus life. Past standouts include TimeToGo, which gives users appointment alerts, and ZotPark, designed for navigating UCI’s parking system. The winning 2012 app, AwkTalk, provides feedback on users’ social skills – a vital aspect of college life.


We asked Nithin Jilla, one of AppJam’s creators who’s also a recent UCI grad with a bachelor’s in computer science, to recommend some apps for new students. Here are his top five.



Aptly named, Everest lets you set goals and map out a path to conquering them. Input a plan of attack – maybe to get the GPA above 3.5 – and Everest will push you along the way by closely monitoring your progress. "Everest is becoming more popular with young students. It has really helped me and others accomplish goals," Jilla said.



A versatile app for the classroom, Evernote lets you take high-resolution photos of a teacher’s whiteboard, take notes and record voice reminders. Then, you can organize it all for later review and search through it on multiple platforms. Jilla: “It syncs with all devices, which is useful for students like myself who are so dependent on different devices.”



Jilla ranks Wunderlist as an essential productivity tool for easily managing to-do lists and seamlessly collaborating on projects. Its simple interface cross-syncs with most any device: Mac, PC, tablet, smartphone – you name it. “The great part about Wunderlist is that you can make lists and share them, invite friends to view them and more,” Jilla said. “It's very effective for team projects.”



Any.Do is a family of tasker apps that lets students organize and manage to-do lists – everything from school projects to errands and social events. “It’s a great app that shows everything you have to do on your calendar in a nice way that's organized and seamless,” Jilla said.


Genius Scan

Pure genius, indeed. This app lets you take pictures of homework and instantly convert them – or any documents – into a PDF file. Then, you can crop pages, scan images and email or fax the whole package from your smartphone to your professor. “Genius Scan has saved me many times,” Jilla said.


Robert Young, Brand Publishing Writer

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