The Best New Mobile Apps for College Orientation and Campus Life

PlayTours Team

Heading from high school to college for the first time can feel liberating and sometimes scary. But it doesn’t take long before this meme starts to hit home:

All this independence can be a little overwhelming but some tools can help you better manage all your responsibilities: from campus orientation, your coursework, time management, and even your health and fitness. 

With that, let's get started with the orientation side of things:

Orientation Apps

Remember when we were freshmen? We were completely new to the campus and had no idea where the facilities like the career office and library were. 

We probably looked up the student association and different clubs in passing when we shopped around for a college. But as freshmen, this requires more attention since we must choose a club to commit to. 

But the last thing we want to do is to slog through a lot of dry material to figure all that out. 

Thankfully, some app platforms that colleges can make use of can solve a lot of these issues: 

  • Orientation Activity Support

Gamified orientation activities help students get used to the college environment in an engaging and fun way. Not all campus admin apps have this function built in nor can the campus swap apps easily just to add this in, so using apps just for events is an options

  • Admin

- Event Scheduling

- Facilities booking

- Maps

- Peer-to-peer communication

- Staff Directories

Guides (e.g. Campus Safety, Student Code of Conduct)

Orientation Activity Support

As college alumni ourselves, we’ve seen that orientation events don’t have to be stiff and boring. The above apps may include useful things like checklists, maps, and directories but they don’t make the orientation experience fun. 

Orientation camps and orientation events are normally organised by the current student council to get them used to college life and help them make new friends in a fun way.

If you’re part of the student union and in charge of designing the orientation, you’re likely looking for apps and suggestions that your team can afford and implement. We’ve got you covered with a few suggestions:

How Event Gamification Apps Bring Campus Orientation to Life

We’ve seen some examples where the campus orientation looks a lot like a company’s HR onboarding slide show. You get a whole lot of information about topics like safety information, financial aid assistance, and the student code of conduct thrown at you. 

Sadly, you’ll need to solve a quiz before you can get to the next section. While this can be done anytime and anywhere by incoming students, it’s about as exciting as watching paint dry.

Gamification makes use of competitiveness, scoring, and interactivity to bring these concepts to life. Some apps use geo-location to show teams their new tasks when they arrive at the right place. Instead of just showing them important places and people, you can create tasks to help them engage with them meaningfully. And if you want incoming students to make friends along the way, why not try organising a scavenger hunt for your orientation activity?

With scavenger hunts, you can split participants into scavenger hunt teams to help them make their first friends in college. The hunt can be designed like a guided tour of the campus, with tasks planned around different buildings like the track field or with important staff like librarians or career counsellors. You can involve the different clubs to design tasks so participants can be introduced to them.

We’ve also covered some of the must-have activities you can try in your college scavenger hunt below and our college scavenger hunt guide.

You can weave differ

ent campus rules, trivia, landmarks and even food joints into the activities so they can get used to all of this in just one sitting. You can even get them to take selfies together at key campus landmarks to create even more college memories for posterity.

Playtours - Scavenger Hunt App

Scavenger hunt apps like Playtours have plenty of features to make this interactive, seamless and easy to manage with no installation required by participants.

Its interactive online map feature lets you easily plan the routes the freshmen will take around campus. All the team’s answers and even image submissions are consolidated on the Playtours dashboard so you won’t have to manage multiple group chats to judge photos. 

Want to find out more? Check out our student engagement activities features page.

Scavenger hunt apps like PlayTours have plenty of features to make this interactive, seamless and easy to manage with no installation required by participants.

Want to plan a route through the different faculties, the library and different facilities? PlayTours'

interactive online map feature lets you easily plan the routes the participants will take around campus. The stations can be geo-located so that clues and tasks are only shown when teams arrive there.

Everyone loves photos and selfies, so why not include them in the tasks? You can get them to take snapshots or selfies of school landmarks but you and your station masters won't need to go cross-eyed managing this on different chat groups. All the team’s answers and even image submissions are consolidated on the PlayTours dashboard all in one place.

They also support a wide range of question and task types, so you and the different student clubs can go nuts planning the challenges you want the freshmen to do. For instance, the station master can only give the passcode to the next clue if they finish a 100m dash.

WebMobi - Digital Events App

WebMobi is a digital event app which can also be used for college orientation. It allows for gamification and leaderboards while letting you update your attendees with WhatsApp and notification alerts to keep participants in the know. It also allows for peer-to-peer chatting within the app.

This app requires a bit of planning and set-up on your end. If you’re planning an activity like a scavenger hunt we recommend a more purpose-built app.

Admin App Examples

National University of Singapore’s uNivUS

One great example of an app that does some of this is the National University of Singapore’s uNivUS app. This app provides orientation info such as maps of the campus, peer-to-peer chatting with other undergrads, and also a resource hub shown below:

However, one app can’t specialise in everything and not all campuses will invest in apps like these. Here are some app platforms that could work for college orientation and campus life for your schools:


Modo Campus is a platform that lets campuses design and launch their own digital channels including a student portal, campus website or mobile app. 

Modolabs’ software is low-code and together with its ready-to-use tools and customisable templates campus teams deploy their apps in days and not months. Modolabs also has a lot of integrations and different modules to let campuses customise their channels their way.

Its main features include personalised messages and announcements to students, simplified registration with consolidated resources, checklists, and, due date reminders. 

On the other hand, its orientation support is likely to be limited to its directory and checklist functions which means that orientation activities might still be needed to make it feel less like a chore for new students.


Guidebook specialises in software to help with onboarding, orientation and events. Their app can help your college quickly and easily create and deliver first-year resources, welcome programming and other essential campus information for new students. 

Their features include creating checklists, campus maps, a contact list, and welcome week activities. 

However, as the brand name suggests, this is more of a guidebook and self-guided to-do-list as opposed to a platform for orientation events which is where the next apps come in.

Survive and Thrive With Campus Life Websites and Apps

That caps off the orientation side of things. Now we’re on to the rest of campus life.

Having graduated from college too, we know that there are plenty of experiences that we can pick up in addition to getting good grades: time management, financial management and staying fit.

Online Learning Apps for College Students

Khan Academy

App Store | Google Playstore

People remind us we need to be lifelong learners. Now we can be lifelong learners for free. 

Whether you want to get a deeper understanding of your coursework or want to beat the rest before the semester even begins Khan Academy has you covered. 

You can access the Khan Academy library of videos, exercises and articles here but bear in mind that not all functionality that's found on their website is on their app. You’ll still need to go to their website for that.


App Store | Google Play

Sometimes, the curriculum or what you learn in class isn’t enough. Coursera gives you on-demand access to over 6,800 courses from leading universities like Yale, the University of London, John Hopkins, and Wharton, and industry partners like IBM, Google and more. 

Coursera offers accredited certificates which are internationally recognised, including in the United States. You can even link these certificates to your LinkedIn profile.

Research Apps and Sites


Chances are, you’ve read the CliffsNotes versions of classic literature more than the actual classics themselves. Their yearly plan is USD 36 or USD 3 a month which makes it well worth your while.


As long as you don’t cite Wikipedia pages as your references, your papers should be fine. Wikipedia is a great place to grab a few reputable research sources for your coursework and speed up your assignments for free.



App Store | Google Play

My university made joining LinkedIn mandatory for graduation and our career programme required us to set up a profile and get coffee chats with people from industries we were interested in entering. It turned out to be good advice that builds good habits we should have to network and discover more about the industries before we jump into our careers.

LinkedIn has come a long way from when this writing team graduated and it’s here to stay. It’s a good idea to use LinkedIn to stay up-to-date with your industry and to find career and networking opportunities. 

Note Taking For College Success

Google Drive/ Docs

App Store | Google Play

It’s free, there’s no limit to the devices that you can use it on, and multiple people can edit the same document all at once. 

When we’re studying, we’re moving from place to place. Some of these places don’t won't allow laptop use, so having all your notes and documents in one place across all your devices is always a plus. The free plan is sufficient for student use but you can pay for more storage space.


App Store | Google Play

Evernote is an alternative to Google Drive which lets you keep and organise your notes all in one place across devices. Their system makes it easy to create, organise, and find your notes as long as you use a proper naming convention. Evernote isn’t as resource-hungry as Google Drive but its free plan places more restrictions on you. The last time I used the app it was limited to 2 devices per user.

Apps for A+ Essays


App Store | Google Play

In the age of generative AI, chances are you’re using ChatGPT or Bard to help you with your work. While we’ve found these apps to be great at generating drafts, you still need to proofread them so they sound human.

To help you further still with your assignments, Grammarly can help. The plugins could be a bit slow on apps like Microsoft Word and Google Docs but you can instead plug your writing straight into fields in their websites for faster and more accurate results.

The basic plan ensures that your work is grammatically correct, but the paid plans give you tone and style tips to make your work more professional. 

Flashcards for College Success


App Store | Google Play

If you like using flashcards to study, Brainscape’s free features include finding and accessing flashcards for free, letting you create your flashcards using CSV Excel files and tracking your progress. Brainscape helps you sync your flashcards and progress across multiple devices.

Flashcard Machine

App Store | Google Play

Flashcard Machine is a more barebones flashcard service that runs on ads for free accounts. They let you create web-based study flashcards that you can share with others.

Dictionaries and Thesauruses 

Whether you’re studying engineering, biology, finance or economics, chances are you’ll need to look up a few words. Thesauruses can also help you rephrase words to help you get your submissions past plagiarism checkers like Turnitin, but please also do sufficient citations to give credit where it’s due.

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries


Merriam Webster

App Store | Google Play

App Store | Google Play



As of the time of this writing we’ve heard that generative AI hasn’t quite reached the point where its maths is perfect. In the mean time, try these apps:

Graphing Calculator + Maths

Website (Geogebra) | Desmos (Google Play) | Desmos (App Store)

Scientific Calculator

Website (Desmos) | Desmos (Google Play) | Desmos (App Store)

Fitness and Calorie Tracking Apps

Whether you want to get ripped or just stay fit so your mind stays sharp, there are apps to help you take care of your health.

My Fitness Pal

App Store | Google Play

It’s an all-in-one food and fitness app that integrates with different watches like Apple Watch, Fitbit, Garmin, Samsung and more.

The free plans let you track calories from what you eat and your gym goals, exercise, and water intake. You can upgrade to the premium plan for more features like barcode scanning, intermittent fasting goals, and custom macro goals.


App Store | Google Play

Strong just focuses on workout tracking. Strong’s interface is meant to be simple to use so you can focus more on training and less on tracking.

Lose It!

App Store | Google Play

Lose It! Is an intuitive app that helps you lose weight back helping you count your calories. It helps you set your goals, track what you eat, hit your calorie budget, and track your overall progress towards your calorie goals.

The free gives you access to the calorie counting features and syncing with other health apps to track exercise. The premium version features a smart camera and meal and exercise planning.

Finance Apps So You Don’t Break Your Budget

Rocket Money

App Store | Google Play

Rocket Money help you track your expenses but its free plan also comes with an added benefit: helping you find unused subscriptions tied to your financial accounts.

The premium version includes bill negotiation and subscription cancellation assistance.

Money Manager (Android App Only)

Google Play

Simple and user-friendly with ads that don’t get in the way of expense tracking. Android only so far.

Let PlayTours help you with your orientation activities

As students, it’s hard to balance having a social life, good grades and getting enough sleep. Thankfully many of the apps above can help. You don’t have to go through college life managing and planning everything on your own, and least of all when it comes to planning great activities for your student groups and faculties. 

If you're planning an orientation activity or a scavenger hunt, drop us a message and we'll be happy to help supercharge your campus activities!

That's it! If you need help, do email us at