College Apps and Websites You’ll Wish You Knew About Sooner

All photos courtesy of the author

Navigating college life can be rough. We have to manage so many aspects of our lives by ourselves simultaneously, but fear not! If you get some “help," your life as a college student can be so much easier! Here are some useful apps and websites you wish you knew about earlier! Don’t worry, it’s never too late to start using them!

Food-related:

1. Tapingo - few taps away from your food/drink order

Do you ever get out of class, go stand in the long line in Starbucks and worry you’re going to be late for your next class that starts in less than 10 minutes? Constantly debating whether being on time or having caffeine is more important? With Tapingo, you won’t ever have to wait in tedious lines and waste your precious time! Tapingo has two features: pick-ups and delivery. For the pick-up feature, you can order food or drinks from various GMU food places (Starbucks, Blaze Pizza, Subway, Einstein Bros Bagels… etc) through the app in advance so that when you get there, you can avoid the long queue and just grab your order and go when it’s ready! This is perfect for back to back classes! Doesn’t matter if you haven’t eaten all day or just want a pick-me-up boost drink, just go ahead and order something through the app when your class is about to end, go pick up your order, and then head to your next class! (Simply-to-go is also a great option for this situation, but sometimes you just need some variety, you know.) Another great thing about it: After you order with the app, you're able to track it, from the order being prepared to having it ready for pick up!Fun fact: Everyone has different pronunciations for the app title. Some call it “Tapeengo," and some say “Ta-ping-go."

2. “What’s Open” Web

Snowing outside? On break? Want food but don’t want to risk walking all the way to get food and find out nothing on campus is open? Go to GMU's What's Open web! You can see what's open at the moment and the opening hours of different stores/dining halls on campus all in one place! A lifesaver when it comes to weird snow days and breaks!

Life-related:

3. Laundry Room App/Web

Imagine dragging a big load of dirty laundry all the way to the laundry room only to find zero available washers. College students’ worst nightmare. It’s even more annoying when that was your planned 2-hour laundry session in your busy schedule when you are out of clean clothes.

The Wash Alert web/app will make your life so much easier! Go to https://housing.gmu.edu/laundry and click on your designated laundry room in/near your building. It'll bring you to the Wash alert web showing all the available machines and the remaining time before the washing/drying cycle ends for each machine! Now you can go check machine availability before you walk down the hall and avoid having to wait in the laundry room for endless hours!

4. When is the shuttle coming?

Want to know when the next shuttle is coming? Go check on the Ride System shuttle app! It shows you what shuttles are running that day and their schedule. The timing might not be 100% accurate but it's still very helpful for giving you a general idea so you can plan ahead of time!

5. GMU Map app

Have to go to this one random building for an event/appointment and don't want to use Google maps or look up the GMU map? Get the GMU Map app and you'll be good to go!

Class/textbook related:

6. TEXTBOOKS. BE SMART WHEN GETTING THEM.

First things first, never ever (ever) get your textbooks from Barnes and Noble unless they're the only one selling that textbook! Their textbooks tend to be overpriced, you can definitely get better deals on other websites like Chegg, Amazon or AbeBooks! The best way to decide where to buy your textbooks is by checking TextSurf. This platform compiles all the prices (both for buying and renting) of textbooks from various textbook sites and shows you the cheapest deals! Just type in the ISBN code (or just the title and/or author) and you'll be able to see the websites you can buy/rent your textbook for the lowest price! You'll save a load of money by checking on this website! You’re welcome.

7. Want to see what classes you still have to take?

It can be really tedious to look up classes your major and Mason Core requires and try to remember the classes you've taken and the ones who haven't. With Degree Works, it's so much easier! Just log into Patriot Web , go to Student Services, Student Records, Degree Evaluation Menu and then click Degree Works. The website has all the requirements for your major and the college. It's a great way to see what classes you've already taken, and what classes you still have to take for your major, Mason core, for your degree (B.S./B.A.) and for your specific college department.  It also shows you all your information such as class status, GPA, credits and more.

8. Coursicle - Plan your classes

It can be really annoying and messy when you're planning for classes for the upcoming semester. With Coursicle, you can plan possible schedules easily! The website has information about classes at many colleges/universities, GMU included! Coursicle is very visual so it'd be great for visualizing your potential schedules for your next semester and see if you could improve your schedule before you actually register for your classes and see your actual weekly schedule on Patriot Web. Patriot Scheduler is also a great resource, however, I personally think Coursicle is more user-friendly and has fewer restrictions! Feel free to try out both and see which one you like better! Another cool feature Coursicle has is notifications for open spots for sections that are filled! Some filled classes allow waitlists while some don’t. For classes that don’t offer a waitlist, you can sign up to be on the notification list on Coursicle, so you can sign up for them right when they open up!

9. Rate My Professor is your friend

In my opinion, the professor is the most important thing when it comes to a class, not the location or the time. However, different people have different priorities and preferences. For me, the professors are what makes or breaks the class for me. Thus, it is extremely important for me to look up ratings and reviews of potential professors for classes I want to take on Ratemyprofessor. You can even rate and comment on professors you've taken to help out fellow students! Sometimes you hear people say "I've never really had a bad professor before, it's fine, I don't have to check ratemyprofessor." My advice to you: luck can run out one day. If you couldn't be bothered to look up your professor and ended up with a not so great one you're gonna suffer for the entire semester. Your choice.

Social:

10. Getting involved on campus!

It's very easy to miss clubs and events that interest you when you just rely on promotions and word of mouth. Go on Get Connected, and you won't miss a thing! Get Connected  provides a list of organizations on campus as well as events going on in the near future! Have an afternoon off on Fridays? Go check out what’s going on on-campus!

Career-related:

11. Looking for a job?

If you're looking for a job or internships, go to Handshake for GMU! You can find thousands of job postings and apply via the platform. Many on-campus jobs, especially office positions, post openings on Handshake. Plus, it's fairly easy to navigate! You also get to customize your profile like the way you would on LinkedIn so you can look more appealing to potential employers!

Miscellaneous:

12. Looking to sell/buy a textbook? Want to find a roommate? An apartment? Want to know if a professor is any good?

There are numerous Facebook groups/pages out there for GMU students to buy and sell textbooks, furniture, look for roommates, find out which course is worth taking, look for people who want to start a club with you and much more. For instance, we have GMU General Postings, GMU Textbook Exchange, and George Mason University (GMU) Housing, Sublets & Roommates.

12. So you think you can grammar?

Everybody makes mistakes, especially when you're writing a 20-page research paper at 3 in the morning. It is important to check your grammar on Grammarly before you turn in your paper. It catches your grammar mistakes and tells you how to correct them. The best thing about is that it's FREE!  If you want some extra features and have it catch more advanced grammar errors, you can pay and get the premium version, but it's not necessary. Fewer grammar mistakes can make a huge difference in your grade!

Make sure to use all of these websites and apps to your advantage, collegiettes!