20 Apps Every Penn Stater Needs

Your smartphone is a bit of a painful necessity in college. You keep in touch, maintain your #brand, and organize your existence on a 6″ x 3″ piece of glass. It can be both a blessing and a curse, being as connected as the basic Penn State millennial is today. With such a plethora of options, it can be difficult to decide which 20 little squares you want to inhabit your home screen.

Well, as usual, Onward State is here to help. Here are the 20 applications every Penn Stater needs. Facebook, Twitter, and default apps are excluded, because that would be too easy.

1. GroupMe

Everyone hates GroupMe. Sure, it made group texting available to the masses in a way nothing really has before, but going to bed early and waking up with 112 messages from your executive board, roommates, project group, and your fantasy soccer league are almost always useless, and most certainly annoying. You need it to survive, but you’re downloading it begrudingly because the basic SMS version kind of sucks.

2. Fine Wine & Good Spirits

An app that doesn’t get nearly enough praise, the FW&GS app gives you the prices of all liquors and fermented grape juices in Pennsylvania. When you’re picking up for the party and can’t remember how much four handles of Vlad costs, or want to see what’s on sale before you visit, it’s there for you. The perfect organizational tool for the fiend in your life.


The much-maligned CATA app has improved over the last year to the point of again being useful. Trying to find best time to catch a White Loop or figuring out the Vairo when you’re craving Wendy’s has never been easier, although you’ll still get stuck waiting for two buses because you let that one asshole kid in front of you go.

4. Instagram

Okay this one is basic as hell and everyone has it, but it’s a Penn State necessity nonetheless. #OldMainstagram is a way of life around these parts, and there are still plenty of people out there who don’t fancy themselves amateur photographers. Go on and bust out that 1979 filter and toss in a #WeAre and you’re that much more state.

5. Yik Yak

Yik Yak is pretty decidedly awful. In a post-CollegeACB world, Yik Yak has allowed anonymous trolls to thrive once again. It has its moments for humor, organizing rallies, and even the occasional bit of insight. Just try and ignore the mind-numbing Greek Life-related insults that will quickly be downvoted.

6. Viber

In the past, when all of your friends went abroad there was nothing you could do but sit there and stare at their pictures and be jealous of their lives. Thakfully, Viber allows you to message and call your friends to TELL them how much you hate their new Euro-centric identity.

7. BTN2Go

This app made the list in case you enjoy the distinct brand of heartache that comes with watching Penn State Basketball choke in the last five minutes, or want to hear BTN’s terrible announcers. But hey, sometimes there’s wrestling, which makes it all okay in the end. Keep up with the Nittany Lions, but don’t waste your money on BTN+.

8. Venmo

The ultimate payment app, Venmo makes sure your friends never “forget” to pay you back for that drink. Organizing your electric bill with your roommates and making the note say “Sexual Favors” is something that doesn’t really get old. Plus, the reminder feature is there so your friends can’t sit on your payment request. Now you’ll get that $8 for Pokey Sticks you bought last night from your one mooch friend for sure.

9. Penn State Strength & Fitness

That way you can check the app in front of that girl you’re flirting with and go, “Oh man, the gym is packed today, even IM building. I may take today off honestly, don’t want to overwork. All these new kids crowd the gym.” Little do they know, you paid for the membership, went four times, and ordered Wings Over after two of them.

10. Snapchat

In case you didn’t know what a frat party, the inside of Skeller, Beaver Stadium, or the HUB looked like, your friends can send you selfies from them with unfunny captions. Now you can make emojis the full size of the screen, which is clearly the feature they needed to add as opposed to a send all button.

11. Uber

It’s coming. State College cabs are a disaster, and you can make extra cash as a driver. It’ll be on everyone’s phone within a month of arrival, and your laziness can truly reach elite levels.

12. Untappd

Untappd let’s you “check in” different beers and rate them, then gives you suggestions for new beers to try. It helps you chronicle just how awful your drinking habit has become in college, and you can even favorite beers. That way, announcing to the world that you’re twelve Bud Light Platinums deep will be two clicks away!

13. Parkmobile

Never get a parking ticket downtown again. The borough wised up to the 21st century and now allows you to pay for your parking with this app. As someone who has accrued dozens of tickets because I don’t carry quarters on me at all times like some weirdo generic coin collector, this app has saved me a lot of heartache in the past year.

14. Mint

Personal finance is hard in college. You’re independent for the first time, are paying for various things based on an agreement with your parents, and need to save for the future. Mint allows you to do all of that, will give you periodic updates, and can even yell at you when you spend too much at the bars. It’s a lifesaver, finance major or not.

15. Google Drive

I don’t think anyone on earth loves Google Docs more than a Penn State student. Group projects, order forms, poorly-engineered spreadsheets and more are available mobiley and collaboratively. Sure, typing at the same time as someone on the same line, then deleting at the same time, then getting frustrated and throwing your phone against the wall happens. But you’re doing it in real time!

16. Evernote

Keep all of your notes, record your lectures (professor-permitting), access them on any device, and scan in syllabi. Evernote is the best friend of those of us who suck with deadlines and organization (I’m now up at 2 a.m. writing this, so you know that includes me), and the elephant logo looks pretty sleek.

17. AccuWeather

Born and raised in State College, AccuWeather is the best weather app out there. Full radar scans, the RealFeel temperature, and highly-detailed hourly forecasts are perfect to use in collaboration with not getting out of bed for your 8 a.m.


Unfortunately, Onward State has learned that the University no longer supports the WE ARE app. That’s a shame, because it was an awesome idea. Maybe a revamp is in the works?

19. Tinder

Fun fact: everyone you know is having sex all the time, except for you. Download Tinder and find other poor, deranged souls in State College who are trolling for cheap hookups. I mean, 90 percent of the time you’ll just find yourself blocked, because you’re probably a total creep, so try to avoid that. But Tinder has become a college staple, and adding it to your arsenal can at least make for a good time when you’re bored. If you want to live dangerously, swipe right on everyone and see what happens.

20. Onward State

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About the Author

Noel Purcell

Noel Purcell is Onward State's Features Editor. He's a senior Supply Chain major, but is going to law school at some point in the future and masquerades as a writer for now. He continues to disappoint his ancestors by being a complete Irish stereotype. His email is [email protected] because there were no other Noels before him. His ex-wife got the good half of his bio in the divorce settlement.

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