The Best Apps to Get You Started at University

I remember being stood in the doorway before I left for university, for the last time I thought: “Have I got everything?” It’s normally when you're half way there that you feel that sudden pang shoot through you as you realise those lucky socks or that Woody toy with your name scrawled into the sole of its shoe has been left to fend for itself.

First things first, your shoes will be ruined in Freshers week, a can of water and stain repellent shoe spray will keep them looking glorious.

Secondly, everything you need has shifted from physical to digital form i.e. apps. If you think apps are dead, try acting normal in an awkward situation, where you don't have a phone to occupy those nerves, or your own boredom. Let's look at some of the apps or websites to aid those nerves of being in a new environment or help out in Uni life in general.


The most helpful app when writing essays is RefMe. Imagine you've just finished your essay, all those hours sifting through books looking for that one line that you need to validate your argument, and then you find out you've been referencing incorrectly. RefMe takes that weight from your back and into the app. 

All you have to do is choose the referencing style, scan the book's barcode or type in the website or article and BOOM. It does it all for you, and it even organises the bibliography: 

Be Focused - Pomodoro 

A super helpful app for when you need to write an essay, or revise for an exam, is 'Be Focused'. This app uses the Pomodoro technique, which is proven to improve your productivity and creativity. It's basically a timer that goes off every 25 minutes and then gives you a 5-minute break. Just set up your project on the app, work through those periods and swipe it away when you've completed the task - it's really effective. There are numerous apps that work on the same principle, but this one is free and works great. In fact, I'm using it right now.


During lectures, one problem I have is missing lecture slides. I'd have to look through them all again to find the one I thought was relevant, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is frustrating. I'd try and catch it on camera but it would sometimes end up blurry. The app 'Scannable' is awesome for rectifying this, it automatically identifies the document you want to take a photo of and wacks up the contrast so the image is really clear.


'MySupermaket' is a good app to have if you're looking to save a bit of money when doing your food shopping. The app shows you the products and prices in each supermarket, so you can compare them and save as much as possible.

Pokemon Go

Pretty much everyone is super nice during fresher's week, but if you feel a bit nervous socially then there are apps to compensate for that too. Pokémon Go is a good example. 

I know it sounds a bit lame, but hear me out. Venturing around a new city is quite daunting, but using Pokéstops is a fun way to make a route around your local area and familiarise yourself with it, then branch out some more. 

The Pokéstops are at some really cool and historical places too. I learned about tons of places around Bristol which I had previously been totally oblivious to because they weren't well-known points of interest. 

I once spent the day with my housemate, wandering around Bristol via the Pokéstops. We wandered around for so long that we decided to turn it into a night out. Obviously, we put the phones away at that point. Pokemon Go was a super-effective segue into what turned out to be a really fun day. Also, catching Growlithe was pretty awesome. 

Tinder Social

If we let our preconceptions about Tinder go for a minute then Tinder Social actually sounds like a cool way of hanging out with new people, especially as it eases you into conversation with them before meeting up.

One of the things you forget about in the excitement of going to Uni is that you'll have to cook for yourself. Aside from cooking simple things, I only really learned to make one meal - Arrabiata. I eventually became sick of making it and began to hate it. The irony is that Arrabiata literally translates as 'angry'.

For me, the solution was ''. This website is great for finding recipes without having to go out and look for the ingredients. All you do is click on the food that you have and the website will show you all the different meals you can make with whatever's in your fridge.

Don’t worry about forgetting anything, everything you need is there waiting for you or is already in the palm of your hand. Except maybe a sandwich maker, that’s non-negotiable.

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