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Mobile Apps by Colleges: The Mobile College Experience

By Brendan Conway updated on Monday, January 28, 2013

Apps! Colleges are full of 'em.

No, no, I don't mean just admissions applications, even though "app" is a pretty common abbreviation for just that. No, I'm talking about mobile program applications. The kind you get on your fancy Apple iDoohickey. Or your shiny Android-flavored clever-pad. Or whatever you kids are playing with these days.

Colleges today are releasing their own apps left and right. These apps are made to provide users with all kinds of interesting tidbits and tools, like information on upcoming athletic events, or maps of campuses, or laser-beam death rays.

What?

Okay, I'm being told by one of my off-screen correspondents that that last one may have been made up. But they still have schedules of events and maps!

For any school you're interested in, you should check to see if they have an app you can put on your device of choice, even if all you're doing is visiting. The simple fact of whether or not the school offers an app will tell you loads, but then checking it out can help you figure out what kind of events the campus offers on a consistent basis, and what kind of resources the college gives to its students. If you're visiting, the maps they provide can be a great boon, and  maybe you can even use them to attend a couple of fun events.

Below are some examples of some of the top-rated college apps offered on both Apple products and Android products. Take a look to get an idea of what some good college apps have to offer.

Sorry, no death ray lasers.

Arizona Mobile
Arizona Mobile is, aptly enough, the mobile application for the University of Arizona. Fancy that! It's got interactive maps, searchable course catalogs, videos, and more. The app can: take you straight to the iTunes U page for the University of Arizona; provide you with contact information from the university's registry; give you up-to-date info on your meal plan balance and on local restaurants; and list all the major emergency numbers, just in case.

It's available for free, for Android phones and Apple phones. If you're interested, you can check it out today at the University of Arizona website.

University of Alabama App
Craving information about the University of Alabama, all in pleasing shades of red and grey? Boy, do you have some weird cravings!

But, yeah, there's an app that'll probably satisfy your strange urges quite well. The University of Alabama app has all the features that you'd expect from a good school app, including a directory of faculty members, staff, and students; the most recent and important athletics information; a list of upcoming events, performances, lectures, and more; course schedules, locations, and instructor information; and much, much more.

There is an Android version of the University of Alabama App and an iDevice version of the app is here ().

Ashford University App
Ashford University's app is only available for students and faculty members at Ashford University. So if you want in, you'll want to submit the other kind of app pronto, and then cross your fingers. Because it's for students and for practical use, of course, it's made for practical use.  It provides features like the ability to check on your courses at any time; posting to class-related discussion forums; contact information registries; and news and events updates and listings. It's a fairly business-oriented, no-nonsense app, designed to provide you with the tools you need to get the most out of your time with Ashford University. What's more, the app is also available for Ashford's online students.

You can get an Android version of the app and an iTunes version of the app.

Mobile UW
Wonderful though it might have been, Mobile UW is not the name of some strange German metal fusion funk band. Mobile UW is instead the name of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's mobile app. But! Mobile UW the school app is even better than Mobile UW the band is. Or would have been, if it existed outside of my wildest imaginings.

Mobile UW is designed to be used by students, their parents, faculty members, and alumni. It's got the most important news items for the University of Wisconsin-Madison available at all times, including results of recent sporting events and information on students and employees and what they've been working on. Campus videos are available, including academic programming videos. Mobile UW supplies bus schedules and routes, so you can easily plan out where and when to get on and off the bus. Perhaps best of all, the campus map on Mobile UW allows users to search for libraries, parking spots, attractions, and walking and driving directions. 

There is an Android version of Mobile UW and an iTunes version, both available for free.

ECU Mobile
ECU Mobile is another solid college app, this time for East Carolina University. Now, I'll get to the litany of awesome that this app offers up in a minute. For the moment, I need to focus on one specific feature, though. ECU Mobile allows users to easily connect to InnerPirate. Now, what, praytell, is InnerPirate, I hear you asking in my head because I'm like that? It's the social network for East Carolina University, a university whose mascot is the pirate. So…ECU Mobile lets you connect to your InnerPirate.

Kudos, East Carolina University. Well done.

Anyways, this app is a cavalcade of goodies. It's got the bits 'n' bobbins you've come to expect, like course information, right alongside functions that let you access your pay information, full library catalogues, and your academic course information from Blackboard Learn. This app is, again, designed with students in mind, so if you want to get your paws on it (assuming that you have paws and not hands), then you'll need to get in.

East Carolina University is good enough to offer both an Android version of the app and an iOS version of the app.

More Great College Apps
One of the things you may have noticed after going through all those apps up there is that they share a lot of features in common. That's because they're all good apps!

Y'see, a good college app is likely to have all the features you need to make your college experience a cinch. Access to your courses, maps, contact information, etc., are all important components of a good college app. The ones above are great examples of apps that offer up those features and more, but htey're far from the only examples.

If you're interested in a few more of the best college apps out there today, then take a look at these babies:
- TAMUmobile (from Texas A&M University), for Android, and for iOS.
UC San Diego's mobile app, for Android, and for iOS.
- FSU Mobile (from Florida State University), for Android, and for iOS.
- Texas State Mobile (from Texas State University), for Android, and for iOS.
- iFullerton (from California State University Fullerton), for Android, and for iOS.

Want to recommend any other good apps from colleges? Have any of these apps saved your life when you really needed it? Drop us a line on our Facebook page to tell us about it!

About the Author

Brendan Conway is the Web Content Editor for Peterson's Interactive and is well-versed in the world of higher education and admissions. He is a graduate of Hamilton College, and has been working in admissions advice, test-prep advice, career planning advice, and similar fields for the majority of his career since graduation. Brendan endeavors to provide the most relevant, useful, and interesting information via Peterson's Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ feeds. Brendan enjoys lexicological oddities and voraciously reading in his free time.

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