Colleges and universities are increasingly using mobile applications to streamline the admissions process, simplify communication with prospective students, and advertise school programs. And more students than ever are using mobile apps to apply to schools. In fact, a recent survey found that over 80% of college-bound high schoolers planned to use mobile apps for their college applications in the 2019–2020 academic year. Working on an app as part of your college application can seem like an unnecessary distraction from your main essay, recommendation letters, and transcript. But if you’re applying to colleges with mobile app options, it’s probably worth your time online casinos for real money. Apps can help you stand out from the competition by demonstrating your creativity and fluency with new digital tools. Read on for 5 tips on creating a successful app for your college or university applications.
Research to determine the best app ideas
Before diving into specific ideas, you should do some research to determine if the app is actually a useful tool for students. For example, you might think that a virtual tour app would be a great way to showcase the campus and areas around the school. But is it actually popular among students, or is it something admissions officers insist on but no one actually uses? Most importantly, you should research app ideas to make sure your specific idea isn’t already available on the app store. If you’re planning on building a tour or campus map app, make sure there isn’t an existing tool you could use instead. You don’t want to build something that’s redundant or that doesn’t offer any added value.
Narrow your idea and focus on 2–3 topics
Once you’ve found an app idea that would be helpful for students and is unique enough that no one else is doing it, you should start narrowing it down to 2–3 areas you can explore in depth. This will help you stay on schedule while still producing a useful and noteworthy app. Focus on topics you are passionate and knowledgeable about. If you have a longer app idea, like a campus map, you can create multiple sections within the app like “Campus Buildings” and “Nearby Areas” to explore different aspects of the school. Or, if you want to create an event-planning tool, you could create tabs for “Search for Events’ and “Host an Event” to allow users to navigate the app more easily.
Start with sketching, not coding
When you start planning out your app, don’t jump right into coding. First, sketch out your idea on paper. If you’re still in high school, it might be difficult to find a computer lab with the software and time you need to code. That doesn’t mean you need a computer to start creating. There are many low- or no-code tools available to help you design your app visually slots online. For example, you could use tools like Wireframe.cc or UXPin to create a mock-up of your app and plan out the user journey. Or, if you’re more comfortable with a pen and paper, you can sketch out your idea and use that as a guide when you’re using other tools.
Use a responsive design for easier updates later on
If you’re building a map or tour app, you should always use a responsive design. Responsive design allows the app to scale and expand to fit the screen of any device. This is especially important if you’re building an app for a single school that will be accessed across multiple devices. Because you’re creating a single app, you have the option of hosting the code on a platform like Heroku or AWS. This will allow you to update the code easily, even when you’re back in school and not near a computer. You’ll also want to use a framework to help you build your app. There are many frameworks available, but you should choose one that fits your specific needs and is easy to learn.
Don’t forget about accessibility
If you have any visual impairments, it’s important to make sure your app is accessible to everyone. This means your app should be easy to navigate with a screen reader software or Braille device. You can also offer your app in a variety of languages for international students. Your navigation and graphics should follow specific guidelines for accessibility. You can also add a description for each app screen to let screen readers know what each screen does. While this may seem like an unnecessary addition, it will help ensure that all your users can navigate your app and gain the most from it.
As you can see, creating an app for your college application can be a challenging but rewarding experience. Be sure to start your app early and be patient. It takes time to create a great app, and rushing could result in a less-than-stellar product. An app is a great way to show admission officers another side of you. And if you do it right, it can help you stand out from the competition. With these 5 tips in mind, you should be well on your way to creating a successful app for your college applications.