SmartphoneIt can sometimes seem like you see smartphones everywhere you turn, which leads some students wondering if they need a smartphone for online college. A smartphone gives you complete access to your email, text messages and more while on the go. You can surf the web, send and receive text messages, send picture messages, listen to music and perform hundreds of other tasks. As much as you might like the freedom that your smartphone gives you, you don’t necessarily need one for online college.

Benefits of Smartphones

Having constant access to the Internet is one of the biggest benefits of having a smartphone. Even if your Internet goes out at home, you can often use your phone to log in to your online college account. This lets you send emails to your professors, complete assignments and post discussion questions. Some smartphones even function as mobile hot spots that let you use your laptop on that network. Having a smartphone also lets you download apps that you can use to check your spelling and grammar on assignments, upload assignments to online drop boxes and accounts and remain in touch with your professors and other students in your classes.

Colleges and Smartphones

According to an article written by Amanda M. Fairbanks on the Huffington Post, the University of Phoenix introduced a new smartphone app that became one of the top downloads on different platforms in 2011. This app let students download the app through the iTunes library for use on their iPhones, iPads and other devices. It let students gain complete access to all of their classes when away from their computers. Students responded positively and liked the accessibility that it offered. Other colleges added similar apps for online students to give them more ways to complete their assignments and remain in touch with their teachers.

Electronics and Students

A 2013 study completed by College Explorer found that more students than ever use electronic devices. The study surveyed college students 35 years old or younger. It found that the average student owns and uses seven different electronic devices, including a computer, smartphone, game console and music player. This indicates that more students use movable devices that they can use while on the bus, subway or while otherwise away from home. Based on how many students planned on buying new smartphones in the future, it showed that more colleges need to focus on designs for mobile devices.

So, Do You Need a Smartphone?

Despite the number of online colleges offering apps for students, you don’t necessarily need a smartphone for online college. As the size on screens increases, you might find that having a smartphone gives you a backup to work on your courses and finish your assignments when you don’t have access to your computer, but these screens are still too small for many students to use a phone in place of a computer. Those phones function as a good alternative to using a tablet or as a way to get a Wi-Fi signal when you’re away from home.

The University of Phoenix was the first online college that introduced an app designed specifically for students on the go. As other schools followed in UP’s footsteps, students found that having a phone offered a number of benefits. Though you don’t need a smartphone for online college, you might find that you appreciate the benefits that your phone offers.

Featured Infographic: Computers or Campuses?

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