3 essential apps NIU students should have on their phones


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Smartphone home screen with multiple app icons on display.

By Madelaine Vikse , Editor-in-Chief

It is important for students to have all of the necessary resources to feel safe on campus and to be able to have easy access to course assignments and grades.

These apps can help students continue to be safe around campus, can help with day-to-day life and can be incredibly useful for keeping up with school work and deadlines.


Blackboard is essential to all NIU students since that is where all classwork and vital information can be found. The Blackboard app makes accessing schoolwork that much easier and gives students the ability to check their grades or due dates anywhere they may be.

“It’s great to have all your schedules on there, all your grades and all your teacher’s emails just right at the drop of your hand,” said Amanda Swanton, a junior majoring in communications and the vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion in Alpha Phi.

The app also gives students the ability to submit coursework and assignments from their phones, so if an assignment is due soon and  a student can’t make it to their computer, they can still submit their assignment on time.

It’s reassuring to have the Blackboard app on your phone just in case something were to happen to your computer. You can still easily access what you need to from your phone, Swanton said.

NIU Safe

The NIU Safe app has three critical features that are vital for students to be aware of, including the Mobile BlueLight, the Safe Walk and the Friend Walk, said Darren Mitchell, acting chief of police at NIU.

The Mobile BlueLight feature in the NIU Safe app is set to replace the emergency call boxes that are located around campus.

“Now we have Mobile BlueLights in the Safe app, so everyone has a Mobile BlueLight in the palm of their hands,” Mitchell said.

The most helpful feature is the Friend Walk so that your friend can take any necessary action if something is off, said Dhruvit Patel, a junior majoring in computer science at NIU.

The Safe Walk feature allows students to share their location with the police department and have them monitor you on your route. The Friend Walk is essentially the same idea, but instead of your route being shared with the police department, it can be shared with a friend who can then alert police if you do not make it to your destination, Mitchell said.

The NIU Safe app can also provide students with safety updates on and off campus, including the NIU police Twitter feed’s latest updates.

NIU Mobile

The NIU mobile app is helpful when it comes to staying on track when it comes to school deadlines, such as applying for scholarships or staying up-to-date with upcoming events. 

“I like the NIU app because you can register for classes on there, you can check your class schedule and do payments and stuff on there,” Swanton said.

These apps can help keep students safe around campus, make being a student easier and provide convenience when working on and submitting assignments, no matter where one may be.