We’ve graduated from college. But, when you work at Localytics the learning never stops.

We’re always learning and experimenting with the latest and greatest apps. This week, we’re taking lessons from the brightest and most talented students we know, on the topic of essential apps for students starting or returning to school this fall. Whether you’re a freshman, senior or grad student, we have the inside scoop for you. With over 2 million apps to choose from, we went straight to the experts to learn about the apps that students simply can’t live without.

Who’s getting an A+ in a world where many apps are failing? Let’s find out. Here are the essential apps for college as told by real life students.

1. Spotify – Music

Name: Sasha Krutiy

School: University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Field of Study: Computer Science

IPhone or Android: iPhone

What is the essential app every college student can’t live without in 2016?



Sasha spent the summer interning with the Localytics Engineering Team and is currently travelling across the West Coast of America. We’re super jealous….

Why do you like this app?

Spotify gives you access to so much music, allowing you to make playlists, and listen to friends playlists. However my favorite thing about the app is how easy it is to find new music. You can have Spotify create a playlist similar to any of your existing playlists, or listen to”Discover Weekly”, a playlist that changes each week with new music that is similar to what you listen to already. I like to listen to music throughout my entire day, and being able to find new songs so easily is perfect for me.

What makes this app so popular with college students?

College students like to listen to music almost all the time. We like to see what our friends are listening to and have playlists for the different things we do throughout our day. With Spotify, you can view friends’ playlists as well as see what song they are listening to currently with the “Friend Feed”. It is also very easy to create playlists and find new songs for them for each part of your day, if it’s for walking to class, hanging out with friends, working out, doing homework, or getting ready for a night out. You can have them all organized and easily accessible. Plus? Spotify provides a 50% off student discount for college students using premium. I am not one to pay for apps or services but I find Spotify Premium very worth it, and it is likely my most used app.

2. GroupMe – Social Networking

Name: Jacquie Bachand

School: Yale School of Public Health

Field of Study: Chronic Disease Epidemiology

IPhone or Android: iPhone


Jacquie spent this summer in Texas, interning at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. Jacquie also took some time away from saving the world to visit her family in California.

What is the essential app every college student can’t live without in 2016?


Why do you like this app?

It allows you to easily message large groups of people to make social plans or set up study groups.

What makes this app so popular with college students?

It’s simple to use and you can turn notifications on or off if you don’t want your phone buzzing all the time.

3. Sweat With Kayla – Health & Fitness

Name: Hannah Mairead Morse

School: Hamilton College, Clinton, New York

Field of Study: English Literature with a Studio Art minor

iPhone or Android: iPhone!


Hannah spent her weekdays working as a Merchandise Planning Intern at the TJX Companies’ Massachusetts HQ and escaped to Cape Cod during the weekends.

What is the essential app every college student can’t live without in 2016?

Sweat With Kayla

Why do you like this app?

It’s a fitness app that gives you short workouts that I can do at the gym, as well as recipes that are really easy to make. You can also track your progress!

What makes this app so popular with college students?

It’s hard to get motivated to go to the gym with classes, work, and socializing, but this app makes it a lot easier. My friends and I go as a group so we motivate each other, and the app is sort of like a game with challenges so I like opening it up!

4. Yik Yak & GroupMe – Social Networking

Name: Ryan Griffin

School: Colgate University, New York

Field of Study: Bachelor of Arts: Economics

iPhone or Android: Android


Here’s an action shot of Ryan competing at the “Localympics” during our company outing. This summer, Ryan interned with the Localytics Sales Team and spent time visiting family in New Jersey.

What is the essential app every college student can’t live without in 2016?

Yik Yak, GroupMe are the two big ones.

Why do you like this app?

I like Yik Yak because it’s a PG13 message board for college students where users can speak their mind anonymously. There’s also a lot of funny messages on there that pertain to a specific location (college town.) GroupMe is great for huge chats where you can see who is speaking without having their number.

What makes this app so popular with college students?

Yik Yak is popular as it has a lot of funny posts on it, and is great for getting unfiltered opinions about local events or efforts. GroupMe can be used for huge chats when you want to know who is speaking and not have that user just be a 10 digit cellphone number.

5. Twitter & LinkedIn – Social Networking

Name: Lauren Smith

School: The George Washington University

Field of Study: MA International Education

iPhone or Android: iPhone


Lauren works as a Program Coordinator for the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program at the Institute of International Education, DC. She’s a core member of the November Project, a fitness movement that was born in Boston (2011) and has spread to 29 cities across America.

What is the essential app every college student can’t live without in 2016?

Twitter, which I mostly use to keep up with the news, issues in the world, and organizations that are in my field. I also use LinkedIn often because I live in DC and everybody here is about networking.

Why do you like this app?

I love Twitter because it’s an easy way to keep up with the news and to be informed of organizations in my city and across the world. I often find volunteering opportunities, job opportunities, and people to meet via Twitter that I would not otherwise be familiar with if I did not have the app. Twitter is also great for being aware of any emergencies in the city, along with traffic reports/metro shutdowns/delays so I can plan my commute. LinkedIn is great because it gives me a way to remember everybody I meet at events. I can stay in touch with people through there, and to be honest it has landed me quite a few job interviews.

What makes this app so popular with college students?

Well, I am a graduate student, but I know that Twitter helps both undergraduate and graduate students stay informed when they otherwise would not be paying attention to the world. It is easy in school to get stuck in the school bubble and only focus on class, seeing friends, and socializing at the local bar. Twitter and other apps that are similar help students remain connected.

What Can Brands Take Away From This?

Being a college student in 2016 is all about one thing: being connected. This group of students value being connected with friends and classmates on social networking apps such as Yik Yak, GroupMe and Twitter. Music and fitness apps were the other two essential app choices. Both Spotify and Sweat With Kayla have successfully leveraged millennials desire to be connected with friends while listening to music and working out.

These apps have gained a competitive edge in a saturated app market by creating a strong community of individuals who are passionate about something and combining it with a great user experience and a platform to interact with one another. Students want apps that not only keep them connected, but promote a sense of community.

My advice to returning students as a recent college grad? Although social networking is awesome, some things are meant to be experienced in real life. Make sure to take a break from the virtual world every now and then to appreciate the beauty of college life. When you look back at your college years, you probably won’t remember the time you caught a rare pokemon in the quad or the night you binge-watched the entire season of Stranger Things. You’ll remember the late nights spent with your classmates & closest friends, laughing, dancing and having a great time. Afterall, that’s what college is all about!