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What are Students Looking For in a College App?

Around 87% of college students own a smartphone and a slightly lower percentage own a tablet. Indeed, for people aged 18 to 24, tech devices are almost like an additional limb, with many constantly checking their phones for updates, notifications, and emails. Thus is the importance of ubiquitous technology that many colleges are creating dedicated apps to help students communicate with college officials, find what they need on their campus, and interact socially with other students from a bevvy of courses. What are the features that most students deem essential from such an app?

Getting App Characteristics Right

The very best products developed for businesses and colleges are those which focus on the end-user experience instead of crossing off to-do lists. Products—including apps and software—should be tested and validated by target users. They should also be maintained via QA testing, user testing, and customer feedback. In other words, the characteristics that make a perfect app or piece of software today may change in the future and students from different colleges will have different needs depending on their speciality, location, and interests. Despite the importance of personalisation, there are a set of key characteristics that all college apps should aim to offer across the board.

Providing Key Information

Students who are living independently for the first time can find it hard to juggle timetables, keep up with University notifications, and know what is taking place and where at their university. Top apps should therefore provide key information such as students’ timetables, campus maps, bus timetables, and news, in one handy place. When it comes to bus and other timetables, apps should ideally contain real-time information so that students are advised when their bus is coming late or when the next shuttle is arriving. This feature enables students to make the most of their time or avoid waiting outside when the weather is less than ideal. Student apps should also contain information for international students—including currency converters and appropriate contacts and organisations that work to help new students settle in. Finally, cutting-edge apps should permit students to access their grades and even register for eligible classes, to save time, avoid queues, and cut down the amount of accumulated paperwork.

A Directory of Staff Members

Students sometimes need to contact staff urgently prior to an exam or an important deadline, so having a thorough directory of staff’s e-mails and other contact details can be very useful. These directories can be used to make queries as well as to set up appointments to discuss matters that cannot be dealt with in class. The list should contain information for advisors, psychological counsellors, language aids, and other professionals that a student may need to rely on outside usual class times.

Live Social Media Updates

Social media is a vital way for students to stay abreast of important events, talks, and parties taking place on campus. They should receive notifications of main events as well as have access to information on smaller events that may be of interest. Ideally, this type of information should be divided according to subject or department so that students can find what they are looking for with a couple of clicks.

A vast majority of university students are dependent on phones and tablets to negotiate their daily lives. University apps should connect with students by providing them with key information on everything from transport schedules to classes they are eligible to register for. They should additionally keep students informed regarding academic and social events taking place on campus and beyond.

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