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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCSB chapter.

So you’ve been admitted to UCSB… now what?

Sure, you’ve visited the campus, talked to advisors, and stalked UCSB’s social media pages, but you have no idea how to prepare for life here in Isla Vista. After all, there’s only so much one can learn from Reddit posts and online testimonials. 

Life at UCSB is truly something to be experienced—and that’s coming from an out-of-state student who had no idea what she was going into when she first moved in. While it was tough to adjust in the beginning, there are a few things that helped me stay on track and find my way through UCSB’s sprawling campus. 

So from one Gaucho to another, here’s a list of helpful apps I think every UCSB student should have. 


If there’s one app you should definitely download from this list, it’s this one. GoGaucho is a powerhouse of an app and makes navigating campus so much easier. For one, it displays your daily and weekly class schedules so you can refer to them with ease. You’ll never have to stress about missing another lecture or section with your schedule right in the palm of your hand. 

Need to find your way to Phelps or Broida? Use the handy maps feature to find out how far buildings are from you on campus. Plus, you can easily check what’s on the menu at each dining hall so you can plan accordingly. Combined with a wealth of resources such as CSO escorts, CAPS counseling, CLAS, and BARC all available in one place, GoGaucho is a must-have for all Gauchos looking to make student life a little easier.


Getting around Isla Vista, especially from dorms like Anacapa and San Rafael can be exhausting. And if you’re running late, the bus might not be the best option. 

Enter the Lime app—or Bird. They’re essentially the same thing.

When you visit around IV, you’ll notice electric scooters proudly sporting the Lime or Bird logo haphazardly parked all over town. They’re lifesavers for when you need to get somewhere without tiring yourself out by walking or biking. 

Simply download, connect the app with your bank information, and you’ll have access to any scooter near you with a quick scan. Just make sure you use them while sober and ride safely. And most importantly, be sure to use them only in Isla Vista, as scooters are banned in Goleta.

Duo Mobile

Though the daily health screenings are no longer required by UCSB Student Health, there is always a chance they will make a return in the 2022-2023 school year. To access these screenings, you need to have the Duo Mobile app installed. Certain UCSB platforms also require identity verification through Duo, such as UC Path, the payment portal for campus employees, and as such, is it necessary to create an account with Duo. UCSB’s IT service has information on their website on how to use the app—here’s a quick guide for learning more. 

I’m sure there are other apps current students view as essential, but these are the ones I’ve personally used the most. College life is already hard enough, and there’s nothing more helpful than sharing the ways we’ve made it easier with each other. Giving back the knowledge I’ve gained from the past 3 quarters is something I hope is of value to current and future Gauchos. You’ve chosen a great place to be—so make it the best time.

Alexa Tan

UCSB '25

Hello! I'm Alexa, a second-year Communication major. When I'm not writing, you can probably find me scrolling through Pinterest or shuffling my KR&B playlist.