It’s no secret the amount of functions our smartphones are capable of doing right now is kind of mind blowing. It’s a literal high end computer in the palm of your hand, and that means it has the ability to help college students with more than just texting directions to the next keg party.
There are plenty of student centered academic, budgeting, time management, and social apps they should be using, and as for parents, well, your smartphone now is not only a means of communication and connection between you and your student, but now it can provide the same between you and your student’s college.
Below are a list of apps your college students should have, as well as some social media accounts that parents should be following to help keep them informed and educated about the goings on at their student’s school, as well as their new role as a college parent.
Smartphone Apps your college kids should have
Handwriting and creating your own flashcards for studying are so 2010. This ingenious website and app allows students to create their own flashcards, share them with friends, and sync them across all their devices. And check out their Knowledge Genome for over 1 millions flashcards already created that your student can use.
If you don’t know what Venmo is, I guarantee your college student does, and so should you. This is one app that you both should have, and it’s the fastest and easiest way to send money to your student. You can use a credit card, debit card, or bank account as your funding source, and once transferred with one click, your student has instant access to funds. No waiting around for things to “clear.” It’s also the #1 way students can request money from each other (and you) and pay off debts. Don’t be surprised if you get requests in the app like, “Mom, Can you VENMO me pizza money?”
This is the perfect beginner money management app for your student, and is the best way to get them thinking about and taking care of their personal finances on their own. It is a one stop app for managing all of their accounts, spending habits, credit cards, and setting budgets. It’s a must have to help your new independent adult start to take control of where their money goes.
Got a sleepy head at college that won’t have mom around to drag out of bed? No worries, because this brilliant- and also kind of annoying- app is a surefire guarantee for getting students who sleep thorough traditional iPhone alarms to actually WAKE UP. Once the alarm goes off, there are tasks that need to be completed before it turns off, like go take a picture of the sun outside, solve this math problem, hold phone and do jumping jacks…you get the idea. Where was this when I was in college?
5. Circle of 6
This is potentially the most important app in the bunch, and one that has been called the first line of defense against assault of any kind. Users choose up to 6 friends to join their circle, and then with one click (that can be done discreetly if it needs to be unseen), the app sends specific messages to friends that say things like, “I need help getting home,” along with your GPS location. It can also send a message that says, “Call me, I need an interruption,” and it can also directly connect you to specialized hotlines. It was designed to feel and look like a lifestyle app, not a safety app, and that’s so users have more privacy to ask for help. Genius!
At some point, all college students feel the pressure and stress of school, and while there are plenty of resources on campus for therapy and counseling, often overlooked is the power of simple meditation. Headspace is an award winning app that teaches you how to meditate, and so far 40 million users are currently using it successfully. Learning how to practice mindfulness and stillness as a college student can do wonders to help keep a handle on their anxiety and stress. Headspace has done extensive research studies with NYU and USC on their practices and methods, and has published in 16 peer-reviewed journals.
Social Media Account College Parents Should Follow
As a new college parent, the first thing you’re going to have to embrace (even if you’ve long been resisting and see no point in using it), is social media. But I don’t mean social media in the sense you want to keep up with your old high school friends and distant relatives. I mean embracing social media use as a means to stay informed and connected to the world your student is now living in.
This means you need to be on Twitter and Facebook, and you need to be following all the social media accounts that your student’s university has and/or offers.
Now stay with me here, because before you sigh and say that would be a waste of your time, let me inform you that some of, if not ALL, the most vital information your student’s college sends out is first done on a social media platform. This is information about anything and everything from housing, admissions, student jobs, tutoring centers, all campus events, scholarships, and a ton of other campus happenings and university news releases that you as a parent need to stay informed of.
In the least, you should be following these types of university department accounts from your student’s college (just to name a few:)
- student affairs,
- intramural sports,
- office of financial aid,
- new student programs department,
- alert/safety system,
- career center,
All of those places will have a presence both on Facebook and Twitter, and they share resources and information on a daily basis (if not multiple times a day) that both you and your student need to know. (This is where you come in, because your student won’t actually pay attention to them, but you will and can share what you’re learning with them!)
In addition, find some Facebook groups for college parents particular to your student’s college. For example, if you have student at Ohio State, do a search for “Ohio State Parents” on Facebook, and join a few of the private groups. They can be a wealth of information and help, and even a place where you can find ride shares, roommates, and mingle with other parents experiencing the same situations that you are.
Finally, try and find some Twitter or Facebook accounts that are geared towards trends and happenings in higher education, and that can include accounts that dispense information on paying for college, financial planning assistance, scholarship opportunities, and general college parent accounts that offer plenty of resources and tips on getting through the college years as a parent.
Be ready for your student to ask, “Mom how do you know all of this stuff?” To which you can sarcastically reply, “Uhhh, I saw it on Twitter, didn’t you?” Seriously, parents staying informed of campus happenings is the best way to make sure their student is staying informed as well.
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