Freshman 101: Your Guide To Apps

Welcome to Happy Valley, freshmen!

As a freshman, this semester will be full of firsts. Between keeping up with Canvas assignments and figuring out the best places to eat on campus, there’s a lot to take in. However, there are more than enough resources to help along the way, and many of those resources come in the form of apps.

Clear some space on your phone because we compiled a list of apps every new Penn Stater needs to make it through the semester smoothly.


Almost every Penn State professor uses Canvas for scheduling assignments, submitting papers, and communicating with the class. Whether you like to plan your entire semester out or complete assignments the night before, Canvas is your best friend. Remember to turn on notifications!


Penn Staters get plenty of Outlook emails they may want to overlook, but nothing is worse than a flooded inbox that hasn’t been checked since the first week of classes. Be sure to check your email.

Microsoft Authenticator

Duo two-factor authentification is long gone, folks, and there’s a new two-step authenticator in town. Microsoft Authenticator is the key to every Penn State account you can think of, so you’ll want to have this one handy for quick and easy log-ins.


If you miss class, don’t understand a homework question, or are zoned out through an entire 8 a.m., GroupMe is a great way to catch up with the help of your classmates. Not every class will create a GroupMe, but it can be helpful for tricky situations or even just making friends. If someone in your class doesn’t make one, try creating it yourself.

Penn State Eats

The HUB Starbucks line is typically wrapped around the building by the time it opens, so Penn State Eats is a lifesaver. Not only does the app provide the operating times and dates for every place to dine on campus, but it also has an order-ahead feature for many dining locations. If you hate waiting in line or have a tight schedule, Penn State Eats is the app for you.

CATA myStop

Penn State has a big campus with a ton of hills, so learning the CATA schedule might work in your favor. With the app, you can find the bus stop closest to you and even track the busses to plan your travel. Once you’ve conquered the Loops, maybe you’ll even use the CATA myStop app to head off of campus to Trader Joe’s.


With big names like Luke Combs and Thomas Rhett coming to Penn State, you’ll want the Ticketmaster app handy for grabbing tickets. Unique artists are always coming to Penn State, and Ticketmaster is the best place to make sure you’re getting the tickets you want. Plus, students often have access to discounted tickets. Remember Outlook? That’s where you’ll find that information. Thank us later.

Ticketmaster is also home to your Penn State football tickets. Be sure to download the tickets into your phone’s wallet on gamedays, so you have no fear of a poor connection preventing your from attending the Greatest Show in College Football.

Penn State Athletics

If you were lucky enough to get Penn State Football student tickets on Ticketmaster, you’ll also want to make room for the Athletics app, which is where you access them. If you couldn’t snatch up season tickets this summer, you can use Onward State’s Football Student Ticket Exchange to snag a student section seat, too. Later in the year, you’ll use the Athletics app to access tickets to men’s basketball and men’s hockey, if you’re into that.

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About the Author

Megan Dougherty

Megan Dougherty is a senior majoring in English and an associate editor at Onward State. She loves making music, consuming the maximum daily amount of coffee recommended by the FDA, and overanalyzing Taylor Swift lyrics. Feel free to follow her on Instagram @meganedougherty and forward any (free) The Eras Tour tickets to her email, [email protected]

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