Let’s be real, no college class is totally “easy.” Whether it’s just a lot of work, content that’s difficult to digest, or simply having things seem inconvenient or inefficient, college is not something that’s easy to get through, especially not alone. Especially with all of our current learning situation, I think we could all use a little extra help. Thankfully, there are a ton of resources out there for college students to help ensure they’ll do their best. Some are better known than others, but they’re all extremely useful in the path to graduation.
Amazon is one of the best resources for college students out there! They have nearly every textbook you could imagine needing in dozens of formats. Plus, on the marketplace, you have tons of options for used books at all different price points, so you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank. Rentals are also available, so you can customize the dates of your rental period, and even buy the book at the end of your rental for a discounted rate if you so desire. If your professor changes their mind on what textbook you need (like one of mine did), you can even return it. Amazon is definitely the first place I look for all my textbooks.
Chegg & TextbookRecycling.com
Although I personally haven’t used either of these sources, I know it’s a quite popular service for renting used textbooks for reasonable prices. I have looked into both, but what I ended up deciding to buy the digital versions of my textbooks from Amazon for Kindle so I didn’t have to worry about carrying big textbooks around, but more on that later. 😉 As for TextbookRecycling.com, you can sell your old books there so you don’t have to have them lying around the house and you can get a little bit of money back!
If you’re anything like me, you probably hate carrying a ton of things around campus. Especially as a commuter, I never know what kind of free time I’ll actually have on a given day to work on assignments, and not having a textbook when I need it is absolutely killer. I love using Kindle because I can access my books on my laptop, phone, desktop, iPad, or even a school computer at any time, and I don’t have to worry about carrying a giant textbook around in my backpack. The note taking feature is also extremely helpful, as I don’t have to go digging through pages and pages to find exactly what I’m looking for- I can just search for it! Kindle books also tend to be a little cheaper, especially when they’re available for rent (you can customize the dates, and you don’t have to do anything at the end of your rental period).
Rate My Professors
There is nothing worse than a bad professor. If the class is already bad, it makes it unbearable, and if the class is good, it’s easy to lose interest. It’s hard to get opinions on every professor your school has, especially at larger schools. Luckily, this is where Rate My Professors comes into play. It is by no means gospel, and sometimes reviews can be really off, but it’s a great jumping off point. The best reviews will tell you what a professor’s teaching style and assignment style is like, but you can at least get a really vague feeling from the overall consensus of reviews.
Socratic has honestly been my go-to study app since high school. I don’t know how I ever lived without it! It’s super easy to use- you can take a picture of the question you’re having trouble with, or type in a search query or math problem, and Socratic brings you resources and digital listings to help you! Sometimes it’s an actual answer for your exact problem with an explanation to help you do it right the next time, sometimes it’s for a similar question (like a math question where everything’s the same except for the numbers), and other times it’s resources like online posts and videos to help you out. Socratic covers all areas of study, but sometimes super-specific questions in super-niche areas can be little more difficult to answer. I’ve been using the app for years, and it has saved my life (and GPA) on so many occasions, I recommend it to everyone I know.
Quizlet is certainly an old favorite for so many students and teachers. For those who don’t know, it’s essentially a way to make digital flashcards. It works with multiple languages (in the same stack), pictures, and can even be used for questions (not just vocabulary terms). While just reviewing the terms on Quizlet is great, and accessible from anywhere,
Student discounts are one of the best perks of being in college, right? Well, UniDays makes it easy to get student discounts at hundreds of stores, all in one app. When you sign up, you’re asked to use your .edu email address to verify that you are actually a college student, and then you’ll have access to a bunch of discounts and special promos that are available both in-store and online for a bunch of different stores, like Princess Polly, American Eagle, PacSun, Adidas, Kate Spade, Bed Bath & Beyond, and more.
Student Beans is essentially the same thing as UniDays and pretty much works the same way (think Microsoft Word vs. Google Docs), but it just offers different stores. Brands on Student Beans include RedBubble, Pure Vida Bracelets, Romwe, Ivory Ella, Princess Polly, Nasty Gal, Winky Lux, and more.
I know most schools offer students free versions of the Microsoft Suite as part of tuition, however, I honestly prefer to use Google. I find it easier to use, and the digital apps easier to navigate. Plus, I have all my files organized into color-coded folders in my Google Drive which makes me really happy. Finally, I’m also happy to be able to keep all of my files post-graduation, so if I want to refer to any old notes from courses that are relevant to my career, I’ll have no problem doing so, and I also won’t have to worry about scrambling to save any files that might be important around graduation time (like I did the summer between college and high school).
If you’re studying a foreign language, whether it be for a gen ed or a major, WordReference is going to become your best friend. To be completely honest, GoogleTranslate is not really a reliable source, even just for single word translations. If you’re trying to decipher the gist of a long message, it’s totally fine, but if you’re doing assignments and writing papers, WordReference is far more reliable. It acts almost like a giant dictionary and thesaurus in one, and it even has verb conjugations and some idiomatic sayings. I used it for six years of French classes, as it was recommended by my teacher, and it was a great tool to use.
I hope everyone is doing well in quarantine and with online school. With a little positive thinking, you’re all going to totally rock the rest of this school year, and we’re all going to come back so much stronger in the fall!
See ya real soon,