5 essential apps every Penn freshman should have

With only a week away from your first day at college, you are probably feeling anxious, nervous and excited at the same time. For many of you, this is your first time moving into a new city, and for most, this is the first time you are living on your own. Next week will be one of most fun and memorable weeks you will have throughout your college career.

While you should definitely enjoy NSO and go to all of the events, it is easy to feel overwhelmed with the number of things that are happening around campus. That’s why I’ve curated this list of the 5 essential apps that will make your first week at Penn a bit less crazy and a whole lot more fun. These are the apps that I have found to be super useful throughout my past 2 years here at Penn, and I hope they will be useful to you too!

1. Venmo (send and receive money)

Venmo is an app that allows you to send money and receive money from your friends. If you don’t have a Venmo account yet, setting up your Venmo account is the first thing that you should do once you arrive at Penn.

Money sent to your Venmo account can be easily transferred to your bank account within a day or two for no extra fee. Everyone at Penn uses Venmo so it is very convenient to split bills when you and your friends go out for dinner. Don’t be that kid that splits bills with cash.

You can download Venmo for free here.

2. Huskie (your communities at Penn)

Huskie is a discussion platform for the hottest and latest topics at Penn. If you want to know what events are happening around campus or if you have questions about a problem set, Huskie is the place to do that.

On Huskie, you can find all of your courses, college houses and even groups that you’re interested in like “startups 🚀” or “parties 🎉”. The best part about Huskie is that you can post as an anonymous user or as yourself, so it is a very open and inviting space for discussions.

Huskie is a community made by Penn students for Penn students where anyone can share and discuss anything.

Currently, a couple of Penn upperclassmen and I are hosting Q&A sessions on Huskie. So if you still feel uncertain about something like the moving in process or what textbooks to buy, download Huskie and feel free to ask us anything!

You can download Huskie for free here.

3. GroupMe (group messaging app)

GroupMe is a group messaging app that you will use to communicate with most groups on campus like your hall, clubs, fraternity and sorority.

The appeal with GroupMe is that you can use it on any platforms. Even if someone doesn’t have a smartphone, you can still reach them through GroupMe but it will just show up as an SMS.

You can download GroupMe for free here.

4. Uber (your personal driver)

This one is mainly for international students. If you are coming from a place that doesn’t use Uber, then you need to download this app right away. Uber is an on-demand ride-hailing app that will be your primary way of getting back to campus late at night when the SEPTA doesn’t run.

With a tap of a button, you can request a personal driver to come pick you up wherever you are and take you to your destination. The price varies with the distance, time and traffic of each ride. Lyft is also a good alternative if you don’t like Uber.

You can download Uber for free here.

5. PennMobile (Penn official app)

Developed by PennLabs, PennMobile is the university’s official app for students. On PennMobile, you can check the hours of all dining halls on campus, book study rooms, keep up with the Penn Shuttle schedule, and even see which laundry rooms are available to use.

My life changed after I realize I can track which washing machine is available without having to go to the laundry room. The last thing that you would want to do is to drag your dirty pile of clothes across the quad at midnight to only find out that the laundry room is full.

You can download PennMobile for free here.

I hope you have found this article useful. If you enjoyed it, please share it with other freshmen that you know and spread the love. ❤️

If you have any other questions about Penn, a couple of upperclassmen and I will be on Huskie this week to answer them. Make sure you download Huskie today and ask us anything that you want!

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