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In 2015 we saw colleges and universities, large and small, raise the bar on the mobile campus experience, and take their apps well beyond the basics. While it remains critical for mobile campus apps to include the practical functions and information that students rely on, 2015 was the year when many schools took advantage of advanced features and use-cases that took student engagement to the next level.
With so many excellent campus apps out there, it was difficult to select just 10, view this Slideshare, or see below, to view our picks for the Best University Mobile Apps of 2015, in alphabetical order:
California State University, Northridge:
CSUN Mobile App
The CSUN mobile app uses a number of advanced features including Indoor Maps with room numbers, restroom and water fountain locations, and more, as well as PeopleSoft integration which allows students to add and drop classes.
The CSUN mobile app also features dedicated Personas for students, faculty, and alumni.
In addition to the main campus app features, the CSUN app also includes a guided campus tour with videos.
Colgate University: Colgate Mobile
Colgate University consistently updates their mobile app with dedicated modules for current events and special programs including Orientation, Spring Party Weekend, 13 Days of Green Sustainability Week, Reunions, Commencement, and more.
The app also links to the student radio station as well as a handful of live webcams streaming on campus.
Additionally, the app features an Alumni Persona with information about giving, career services, and networking.
Del Mar College: VikingGO
Del Mar College creates modules for special events in their VikingGO app, such as a module dedicated to their annual fishing tournament fundraiser, full of event details such as times and locations, and used the app afterwards to announce the winners.
Additionally, Del Mar College uses live-stream technology to stream their College Board of Regents Meetings within their app, and has incorporated an automated question response system called “Ask the Viking.”
VikingGO was named the “most modern app in the region” by the Corpus Christi Caller Times.
Fitchburg State University:
Fitchburg State Mobile
The Fitchburg State University app has a number of features that are extremely useful to their students, such as laundry availability and an option to chat with IT help.
The app also features an Admissions module with information for prospective students such as costs and how to visit, as well as an Alumni module with details on how to get involved or make a gift.
Additionally, each event listed in the app Event Calendar is deep-linked to the map, for a seamless experience ensuring attendees always know where to go.
Georgetown University: Georgetown Mobile
Georgetown provides extensive personalized app experiences for its app users. In addition to Personas for New Students, Newly Admitted Students, Current Students, and Alumni, Georgetown also has four Location-versions of their app including Washington, D.C., the Law Center, the School of Continuing Studies, and their overseas campus in Qatar.
A “This Week” module gives users a quick glance at what is happening on campus in the coming week, such as the basketball game or special deals.
Georgetown also makes frequent use of Push Notifications to alert students to important happenings, such as shuttle delays.
Maine Maritime Academy:
Maine Maritime Academy Mobile
Maine Maritime Academy launched their campus app in August of this year, and quickly pushed their app functionality into new realms. The app features six Personas including Prospective Students, Current Students, Faculty/Staff and Alumni.
Additionally, they create dedicated modules for numerous special events—from Orientation to Homecoming and Career Fairs.
Maine Maritime also sends targeted Push Notifications and in-app Banner Messages, to share critical announcements, and alert students to important events.
Qatar University: Qatar University Mobile
The Qatar University app includes all of the basics of a great campus app, such as Calendars, Directories, Maps, Dining, and integration with Banner and Blackboard. It goes one step further with special modules such as a module with information about upcoming campus projects, as well as a module where students can submit ideas for campus improvements.
Not only is this a great campus app, it exists in two languages—Arabic and English. Users can select their language preference, in addition to choosing their appropriate Persona—Students, Faculty, or Visitors.
University of Massachusetts Amherst:
Living at UMass
The app was a critical tool during Fall Move-In, with detailed instructions on the check-in process as well as a map with customized directions from check-in to parking to aid the thousands of new families navigating campus while numerous road closures were in place.
UMass also makes great use of Push Notifications from their app, for example, sending notices to remind students to bring their IDs and special passes with them during move-in.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill:
The CarolinaGO app was created out of the Student Body President’s campaign promise for a better mobile app.
The app, which now features a bold home screen design, also includes numerous dining options, their hours, menus, and a Twitter feed announcing “Phree Phood” around campus.
Students can also add and drop classes and accomplish other important tasks through PeopleSoft in the app.
University of Notre Dame: ND Mobile
Notre Dame continues to add new features to their campus app, such as modules for laundry availability, safe ride requests, Admissions and a sustainability program. They also recently added Indoor Maps to the app, helping students and visitors navigate within buildings and identify key locations such as offices, classrooms, printers, water fountains, handicap accessibility, and more.
This Fall, Notre Dame also ran a campus-wide competition inviting students to build their own mobile campus tours in the MobileND app. The winner’s tour will be included as the official Notre Dame tour.
We had such a difficult time narrowing this list down to just the top 10 that we’d like to feature a few Honorable Mentions as well:
Emerson College: Emerson College Mobile App
The Emerson College app takes a different approach to the Home screen, using portlets to immediately display News, Events, Photo, Video, and Social feeds upon opening.
The Emerson College app also has modules which show the availability of laundry machines as well as their media labs so that students know what they are able to use before arriving.
The University of Kansas:
KU Academic Accelerator Program (AAP)
The KU AAP app is dedicated to facilitating the onboarding process of international students coming to KU. The app features a “Before Your Arrive” guide and checklist with information on visas, what to pack, what to expect when arriving at the airport, and the how-to’s of traveling to the US as a student. The app also includes a blog feed with helpful cultural tips to ease the transition.
KU also makes great use of Push Notifications, inviting students to social events, essay workshops, and more.
Pasco-Hernando State College: PHSC Mobile
The PHSC Mobile app includes distinct Personas for Students, Alumni, and Employees of the school.
The app also features a Student Life module with information about Athletics, Social Media, and campus initiatives, such as their Arts & Culture Week.
Additionally, the app has an Admissions module with details regarding the Admissions process and various programs, designed for prospective students.