• Sophia Díaz

UIUC Apps to Help You Navigate This Unprecedented Fall Semester

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

Before you click out of this article: know that my use of “unprecedented” is entirely ironic; trust me, I’m as tired of hearing this phrase used un-ironically as much as the next receiver of MASSMAILs. All jokes aside, here are a few apps that will help you find your way through this …  unique... Fall 2020, especially if you’re on campus and new to UIUC!

For an overview of Illinois info & resources:

Illinois App

provides an abundance of information useful to all students, with some features only applicable to those on campus. A very comprehensive resource! For my compadres who are returning students, this app seems to combine and replace the UI Dining and UI Student Affairs Apps. 


Features:

  • Events

  • Deadlines and information for scholarships

  • Athletics

  • All sports listed, with upcoming games and relevant news articles provided. There is also a function to purchase tickets and read about game day procedures in light of COVID-19; please read this before attending a sporting event for the safety of all present!

  • Illini Cash

  • This is money in your U of I account, loaded onto your i-Card. You can add money through this app!

  • Needed for use of most printing stations provided by UIUC

  • Can be used to purchase goods at dining locations within dorms 

  • My Illini can be accessed through the app as well!

  • Dining

  • Shows dining halls, cafes, and markets within UIUC residential halls, along with their hours, location and menus. 

  • Create and take polls

  • Wellness 

  • Information, links, interactive activities, and other resources and provided to help you achieve wellness in 8 aspects of your personal life. In-person and virtual opportunities available.

Navigating COVID-19 on campus:

Safer Illinois

Designed to help you manage your COVID-19 health info and navigate campus safely! 




Features:

  • Find testing locations near you

  • Receive testing reminders

  • Report symptoms and receive advice on a course of action 

  • View test results

  • Notifies you in the case of likely exposure

  • Status Card - tap to display for building/classroom access

  • If you’d like to download this app but don’t have a smartphone, no worries! Contact the Student Assistance Center

For Transportation:


There are countless apps to navigate the UIUC campus, on foot or by bus! You may already have added this to your list of first-year stressors, but consider the glass half full instead! You have numerous options, so find the one that works best for you! 

Side note: If taking a bus is new for you, know you’re not alone! Don’t let your fear of the unknown stop you from trying it out! With these apps, you’ll be on your way to classes much quicker than by foot!


Transit for CUMTD

This is my personal favorite bus app for everyday use. It never failed me for lack of WiFi and is very simple to navigate. However, it does not provide addresses of bus stops or a map, so this app is more helpful when using familiar locations for the experienced bus rider.


Features: 

  • "Favorite” the bus stops you use most often for easy access.

  • Select “Near Me” to find buses closest to your location. After choosing a stop, if unsure of its location, search the stop in Maps!

MTD Connect (website)

When I needed to plan a trip to an unfamiliar place ahead of time, this site was a LIFE SAVER. 

Features: 

  • Choose specifications of your trip, such as:

  • Preferred departure or arrival time

  • Date of the trip

  • Whether you prefer the quickest route, one that requires no transfers, or the least walking time between the stop and your destination

Illini Bus

This app is highly recommended by many members of NUVE- a portion of our last meeting was actually spent raving about this very app! I personally used it in tandem with the Transit app when I needed to see the bus stops on a map. In hindsight, this app is definitely the most comprehensive! Would recommend to a friend :)

Features:

  • Search: You can search stops or buildings

  • Favorite: You can “favorite” the bus stops you use most often for easy access later.

  • Nearby: Select the Nearby icon to find the bus stops closest to you!

  • Maps: My personal favorite feature, the Maps icon allows you to see a comprehensive map of campus with orange dots indicating all bus stops. This is an invaluable visual resource to see bus stops in relation to the streets and buildings on campus!

  • Trip Planner: Input a building or bus stop in the “To” and “From” boxes to see your route options

Maps


Few UIUC students use solely Maps to get from place to place, though I don’t see why; after checking out these apps in greater detail, I see Maps has all the features you would need for a successful journey!



How to use for transportation:

  • Search the name of your destination by the building (ex. La Casa Cultural Latina) or bus stop (ex. Goodwin and Nevada)

  • Select Directions, then your desired method of transportation. Tap on the route for specific info.

For Academics:

Blackboard

Although I recommend you use the Compass 2g/ Blackboard website instead, it’s still nice to have options. The site offers more features and is generally far less faulty than the app. 



Features:

  • Check grades

  • Course updates/notifications

  • Receive and submit assignments

  • Any files/documents/resources you need for classes will likely be posted on their respective compass page

Zoom

Pretty much a given, but in order to attend most of your classes this semester you’ll need to download Zoom and create an account. I also recommend updating Zoom if you haven’t recently; I’ve been prevented from entering meetings for exactly this reason!



Extra Tips:

  • It is possible to attend Zoom meetings without the app, but it’s far more efficient to download ahead of time, on the device you plan to use for attending meetings

  • For instructions on how to access Zoom without the app, click here

Now that you know what’s out there, I wish you all the best in finding what works best for YOU! I hope these resources make the transition into college a bit easier, whether you’re a new student or simply trying to navigate this suddenly unfamiliar campus dynamic. If you have any remaining questions, leave them in the comments! 

For more back to school advice, keep up with NUVE this month! There’s more to come!

#UIUCUnfiltered #Editorials

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