After many years of grade school and after you have celebrated your acceptance to college, you will probably be taking some time on holiday. Once the excitement has worn off and the holiday is over, however, you will be starting to think seriously about the upcoming challenges of college. You may be wondering whether you will succeed, and the challenge may be harder than you think, but if you set your mind to success, you will win, and you will be jubilantly going on to the next stage of your life after graduation.
In the modern world, studying at college is a lot easier than it was even a decade or two ago, as the Internet is now at your fingertips. You have started at the best time for the Internet too, because as the years pass the resources available get continuously better. The Internet speeds get faster and accessing the web can happen just about anywhere, whether you are in the college canteen, the library or even on a bus or train! This article has compiled the 15 Best Online Tools for College.
1. Google Apps (Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Calendar)
These are organisational tools you can use to share information with others and even send submissions to your lecturer. There is no need to email your work but just load it on Google Drive and your lecturer will open it, mark it and return using the same process. Learning to use these apps could also be very beneficial in the workplace, whether interning or in your career after graduation.
Diigo is an acronym for “Digest of Internet Information, Groups and Other stuff”. It has been constructed in response to the heavy use of the Internet. It’s a tool created to help you read and collate information you find on the Internet. You can read far more effectively when you use the annotation tools to browse the web. You can add digital highlighters as well as sticky notes.
Using Diigo, you can organise your college materials in cloud and compile a personal library, containing links, notes, pages and pictures. You can’t lose anything even if your computer crashes as it’s nicely stored in the cloud for easy access. Diigo even archives any of the web pages for the links you have saved.
When you are asked to write and submit your first essay you will be expected to present it in a certain format. Once you know what format your college expects you to use, EasyBib will do all the formatting for you. You don’t need to remember the format for your bibliography or footnotes as EasyBib can do that in a quarter of the time. It specializes in APA, Chicago/Turabian, and MLA styles.
One of the things that is certainly not tolerated in college is plagiarism. If you copy chunks of text from other writers, your lecturer or tutor will find out and penalize or fail you. Not to worry though, Unplag proofreads essays to ensure they don’t contain chunks of other author’s writings. You can check papers without the need to install any additional programs.
To access the Unplag plagiarism checker and start scanning an essay, or any other academic writing, you need only an Internet connection. Unplag remains accessible from any location and browser. After uploading an essay, you will soon discover if any part resembles anything else on the Internet. You can also quickly amend your essay, as the plagiarized pieces are all highlighted for easy reading.
Mendeley is a research tool that you can take anywhere. It is good for researchers and students alike. It securely stores your references, notes and documents in one place. You can access Mendeley offline or online so that you can highlight, add sticky notes, and annotate wherever and whenever you’d like. Mendeley will produce your bibliography and citations in your chosen style at lightning speeds. Share, collaborate and create groups, which enables you to tackle research assignments with ease. In the end, you can showcase your research to millions around the world.
Reading and gaining information from journal articles are important parts of college study, as they provide the most current information on your subject. Scirp is the largest publisher of publicly available journals. Whether you are studying a hard science subject or a soft science, this freely available journal library might have precisely what you need.
You might be asked as part of your assessment at college to provide a presentation of some of your findings in your study. This might bring back memories to the time you fell asleep during boring presentations by past teachers. Prezi is a type of software that has changed the way presentations are created forever. It is a resource that reinvents how people share knowledge and give inspiration to audiences. Prezi has gone beyond slide presentations and offers zoomable canvas that is limitless in the ability to illustrate the bigger picture, as well as focus on the finer details. The website offers a trial before you have to subscribe.
This is a website that enables you to produce stunning notes, fast and easily. You can share these notes with college friends and colleagues to enhance your ideas in a collaborative way. You can open Coggle during a tutorial or in a lecture hall, in revision time, or whenever inspiration hits you, and create simple structured notes. Take the beginning of an idea, input into Coggle, and it will grow into a complete plan that is well-laid out and easily shared with your classmates or throughout the world.
When you reach the more advanced stage of your study, i.e. to postgraduate level, you will be required to conduct research, and that means getting live data (which is often accessed through the use of volunteer participants). You don’t have to go through the painful process of tabulating survey results, as Polldaddy software can do it all for you. It can even compile the questions that you distribute to your survey participants. When compiling your survey, select from 14 different question types, ranging from multiple choice to Likert scales; and free text that you can create will provide an analysis of your data.
When you are given a topic on which to write, you will need to keep it to the word count outlined in the essay guidelines. Rarely will markers allow you to go over the limit by more than 10%, otherwise it is likely that you will be penalized. This is where WordCounter is a useful tool to keep you within your essay requirements. WordCounter is a character-count and word-count tool. You can type directly into it and it automatically keeps a count of the words and characters as you type. Also, copy and paste a complete document into the box and it will show the total word count. It is a particularly useful tool if the author has to submit a paper that is required in a certain number of words. Word counts are also important determinants in calculating reading and typing speeds. You can set a timer before you begin typing and when your time should come to an end. This will tell you your typing speed, which is a good indication of how much time you are taking on the task.
If you are a mathematics major, then you haven’t been left out of the loop when it comes to creative online resources. Desmos is an amazing tool with a superfast calculator facility that also has the capacity to create graphs and many other features that maths students need.
12. iTunes U
iTunes is the well known online store to purchase songs of all types, but there is also a section in the Apple’s iTunes store with many free higher education resources. This includes downloadable content containing lectures and full courses from universities such as Harvard and Stanford, and all for free.
Once you have completed your college education, your wallet or purse is likely to be somewhat empty, and you will be dying to pass on your new found encyclopedia of knowledge to an employer who is prepared to pay for it. To get the best jobs, you have to compile that magic CV which showcases your personality and achievements. Vizualise.me does just what you want and puts you on the road to that dream job and salary.
As you get closer to assignment deadlines, or your final examinations are just around the corner, you inevitably promise yourself that you are going to knuckle down and do some serious study. You sit down at your computer and the hours fly by, but you seemed to have achieved very little.
StayFocusD can help you monitor time wasting activities when you are supposed to be pursuing a high grade in your college exams. It’s a time monitoring tool which you can use to allocate time to different web based activities. Once your time is up, your access is blocked. It sounds a bit harsh, but it is ultimately based on your cooperation and parameters.
This tool is a great help for students who want to promptly figure out the definition of some words. Besides definition, there are also examples from the web and information about word origin (etymology). The Word of the Day tab provides users with the definition of a random word (it’s a good chance to enrich your vocabulary) and the Translation tab translates words or popular phrases into nearly 50 languages. If you want to find synonyms to some words immediately, there’s Thesaurus.com next to Dictionary.com.
You are now all set to go to make your college experience the best you can ever expect. Also enjoy more time to spend on leisure activities, as these online tools do so much of the writing and organizing on your behalf.
Nancy Lin is a student of Rockhurst University and enthusiastic freelance writer who can’t imagine her life without classic English literature. Follow her on Twitter @nancylin90