The Wisconsin Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators is a non-profit organization that provides support to financial aid administrators and other agencies involved in the administration of financial aid programs in Wisconsin’s postsecondary educational institutions.
The WASFAA Blog
The WASFAA Blog contains updates from the WASFAA President, highlights committee activities and member profiles, and provides articles written by members and guests.
Technology can be a very dynamic force in our personal and professional lives, depending how we use it. Certainly, our ability (or lack thereof) to implement new technologies can either put us on the cutting edge or can make us fall behind in the times. I would hope that most individuals would strive for the former over the latter, but technology can be intimidating. The bell curve for technology implementation goes between that of innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. Not everyone is an innovator or an early adopter, but that’s okay. As intimidating as technology can be for some, I’ve realized (at least for me) that the best way to learn a system, device, or app is to play around with it and learn its functionality while trying to enjoy some of the fun facets that are up for discovery.
When it comes to looking at different apps that I can use my phone for, I always think about functionality first and foremost. That is, how can this app make my life easier or help me in my endeavors? Personally, I’m not much into game apps (sorry fans of Candy Crush Saga…and no, I will not accept your Facebook invite to play), but I do like to try out popular apps to see if there’s ever anything new that might be able to assist with productivity. Without further ado, here are five apps that I find particular useful:
Of all of my apps, I find Mint to be one of the most useful. The reason for that is that it takes all of financial accounts (checking, savings, auto loans, credit cards, investment accounts, mortgages, and yes, even student loans) and puts them in one application located in the cloud. Being able to use a one stop shop to see all of my account information is quite liberating and keeps me proactive in all of my finances rather than having to constantly log in to multiple accounts. Mint can be password protected (which I would obviously advise) and there’s no need to worry about security, as it uses the exact same encryption codes as a financial institution.
As one of the new Co-Chairs of the Innovations Committee, I’m going to go ahead and shamelessly plug the ever popular WASFAA social media site and app of Twitter. Many different WASFAA members (along with NASFAA and other financial aid professions) use Twitter to communicate using #fachat. I find that having the app right on my phone makes access to these communications that much easier to see notifications and it’s a great way to ask questions, gain clarification, open up discussion, and digitally network with each other.
For any music lover, Spotify is one of the premier apps for providing great musical experience as long as one has a connection to Wi-Fi or their network. While the free desktop version is undoubtedly better, the Spotify app provides me with access to the many different playlists that I’ve created, as well as a radio function to listen to different genres or specific artists. I often utilize this when I’m working out at the fitness center or if I have some friends and family around and want to add something to the atmosphere.
I’m sure many of you have used Google Maps in some capacity before (travel expense reports, anyone?), but I find this to be one of the more critical apps that I have on my mobile device. Where it’s utilizing the app as a GPS, finding new restaurants and businesses, looking up ratings and reviews of said businesses, or coordinating trips and schedules, Google Maps gives me the freedom to explore in a concise manner. It currently has live updates to give you information on traffic delays and various routes to avoid such issues, which can be huge with road construction season currently underway in Wisconsin. New functionality is on the way with an ‘Explore’ button being implemented soon, which will also help individuals localize their experiences, based off of past reviews and experiences, all while factoring in the time and weather to see which locations are appropriate.
My last app is one that might seem kind of ridiculous, but again, I said that I went for functionality with my apps, and certainly, this is an app that I use frequently. On top of that, in Google Play, it is ranked as the fifth most popular free app, so others have found how useful this app can be, as well. Having access to a flashlight at all times makes it easier to illuminate life (pun obviously intended) in a variety of fashions. May it be trying to get in the house, navigating your garage, going camping, reading late at night, seeing into dark nooks and crannies, working on a car engine, or anything else your imagination can conjure up, a mobile flashlight app can be seriously useful. On top of all of that, the flashlight also has a built-in SOS feature, which could be helpful, should you need it, and do not remember the SOS lighting pattern.