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Apps Every Penn Stater Needs

It’s 2016 and people of all ages are using smartphones for everything from tracking heart rate and fitness to catching Pokemon. Mobile apps have become somewhat essential for daily life, and that’s no different at Penn State. For every must-have app, though, there’s some pointless ones.

We sifted through the many Penn State and college-specific apps to give you a list of the best ones. We excluded standard apps like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat.


This is probably the worst app on the list, but it’s a necessary evil. We know LionPath sucks” but unfortunately it’s the only place to access to your schedules, tuition bills, campus maps, and grades. It also lets you add and drop courses, which is equally convenient and dangerous (don’t log on drunk). Aside from the struggling functionality of the app, which includes not being able to play music while on it, it’s more convenient than grabbing your laptop. It’s the only option you have to quickly access your Penn State lifeline without using the glitchy mobile website version on your phone’s browser. We’re truly sorry.


What’s better than a melting pot of mobile devices in the same, cohesive group text? GroupMe bridges Android and iPhone users into group-chats with the ability to add/remove people quickly. There is no doubt your organizations and group projects will be using this app. Just make sure you behave in the Groupme.


While you should be walking to class before the eminent dark void of winter emerges to engulf us all, the CATA App is something you’ll eventually use. It might seem complicated on the surface, but it really isn’t. When it isn’t glitchy, it’s a lifesaver for getting to campus or downtown when you’re in a rush (or if you’re lazy). The realtime function of bus tracking allows you to make sure you’re not sprinting to Willard for your 8 a.m. when you could be taking the bus. This is basically your lifeblood for getting to around, so make sure to download it.

Penn State Available Computers 

This one may be the greatest app you’ve never even heard of, but it is one you won’t survive without once you download it. This app tells you what computers are available in exactly what room, section, and or building. There isn’t many things worse than going to the library to work on the computers and not a single one of the hundreds are available. This comes especially in handy during finals week when grabbing a PC to print something out on campus seems to be the same as locating a certain missing landmark from Penn State.


Chances are if you live on campus, you’ll be eating in the new and improved dining halls or on campus 4-7 nights a week. With a plethora of options all over campus from campus eateries, dining commons, special promotions ,and late night options, it may be difficult to keep up. The Dining@PSU app will tell you every single thing being served in every place on campus, and it includes hours of operation. It also tells you the calories in one serving of each dish, so you can either stay on track with your calories prior to eating or check the damage once you finished that 3rd slice of pizza from the commons.

MyLinks at State 

This app isn’t winning any awards for its design, but does have the market cornered on Penn State fitness. The original Penn State fitness app is no longer on the Apple App Store, but the MyLinks at State app offers links to the gym occupancy just like the original. Nobody wants to find out they have to wait in line outside the White Building because it’s at 100 percent capacity.


Canvas is the better looking, more successful cousin of LionPATH. We’re used to accessing calendars, homework assignments, and syllabi via the mobile web browser and Angel on our phones in a pinch, but the higher education gods sent us a gift: quick Canvas access that isn’t glitchy. As Penn State switches from Angel to Canvas next year, you’ll be grateful.


Gone are the days of ramen as dorm currency. Venmo allows you to transfer money via a credit or debit card to another person’s account. This app is used for everything from alcohol to IM team t-shirts and even rent in some cases. It’s quick, simple, and so easy even a Pitt student could do it (maybe).


Quizlet makes studying on the bus, on the couch, or even on the toilet easier by giving you quick and easy access to your virtual flashcards. This app can help you get your grades up when you least expect it. Your face is already buried in your phone half the day — why not study your flashcards while you’re waiting for that slice from Canyon?

Google Drive 

You’ll quickly find most of your group projects migrating to Google Drive, so the app can be important if you’re having computer troubles or if you need to change something at the last minute before you submit.


In case you didn’t get the memo, State College weather sucks. The sun’s about to go away until May here in central Pennsylvania and you will absolutely need a good weather app. AccuWeather is State College-made and one of the best weather apps available. It doesn’t even tear through your data like TheWeatherChannel. Get this one to map out those icy treks to your 8 a.m.


The campus story minus the filter — watch at your own risk.


If you’re going to get an underage, it will probably be because you’re stumbling back from frat row 3 a.m. with your shirt off. We know it’s nice out and you love the weather, but if you’re that drunk, just take an Uber home. Also, you’ll thank me when it’s six degrees outside and you call an Uber from frat row to Pennypacker. You’re welcome.


Driving sucks. If you haven’t been apart of the Waze craze, you’ve been driving to State College all wrong. Waze is essentially a standard GPS app, but it allows users to report accidents, traffic jams, police, and anything else that delays your ride home for Thanksgiving. This one is a must have if you live more than 30 minutes away.


Who hasn’t walked down frat row and scratched his/her head asking, “Where did that kid get a Pete Maravich jersey?” Aliexpress sells any jersey you could think of, all for less than $25. It might take six weeks for delivery, but it’ll be worth it when you’re wearing a Sam Ficken Jaguars jersey.

Instant Rap Airhorn

Diffuse any awkward situation.

Onward State

Do it.

Can you think of any more must-have Penn State apps? Let us know in the comments!


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About the Author

Tim Reams

Tim Reams is a senior majoring in labor employment relations.

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