Your Guide to the Essential Tools for College Students

College is the ultimate investment for your future. When transitioning to college, the amount of effort and time you spend preparing for college is critical. While you’re still in high school, it helps to learn and understand proper time management, efficient note-taking methods, and so much more that can help you prepare for the strenuous demands of college. The moment you enter college, you will start to realize that while it is exciting, it is also quite stressful and hectic at times. It is always challenging to stay on top of things, especially when surrounded by ongoing demands. A huge chunk of becoming successful with university life is learning how to prioritize and manage your time efficiently. Although this may sound daunting, thankfully, you won’t have to do all these things independently. Learn to take advantage of the digital resources available online. With so many apps and digital tools today, going to college has never been as stress-free and fun.

How Does Digital Technology Benefit College Students?

Over the years, Internet access and digital technology have significantly changed the landscape of university life and beyond. In research shared by ed.gov, they asserted that 60% of the jobs in the 21st century would need digital and computer skills. But apart from the many career opportunities students can gain with the most recent technologies, colleges and universities have reported fewer dropouts and higher attendance rates because of access to technology. 

Modes of Instruction

Technology-based teaching utilizes several learning programs allowing students the ability to learn from a distance. University instructors who use technology tools in the classroom toggle between ones that include video, audio, illustrations, digital simulations, and other multi-sensory tools. Students, in return, use these technologies significantly to improve their comprehension of topics. Whether they use them to listen to the news, read aloud informational texts, learn foreign languages, or purely for research purposes, students perform 30% better than those without digital resources. 

Better Access

Because of digital technology, people can conveniently meet regardless of their location. This is a great way for college instructors to reach a variety of students. Whether a student lives far away, or right down the street, the power of technology can help bridge the gap. For example, rural students can conveniently attend lectures and complete online coursework even during extreme weather conditions, unforeseen health concerns, or even to provide the visual/audio impaired students access to a judgement free session. 

Seat Time

When you look at a traditional classroom setting, restructuring it better to match the ever-increasing needs of the 21st-century student often results in instructors talking about ‘seat time.’ This term is used to identify the time students have to be physically present in class to get the required full credit for their coursework. Today, many college students populate the schools, and frequently, traditional classroom schedules will need daytime attendance. For most students, this requirement does not work.

Enter Technology!

Technology helps fill this gap in more ways than one. Since online courses usually follow an asynchronous attendance schedule, they can easily access their lessons based on their schedules. Hybrid courses also allow students to enjoy some in-class time, with most of the coursework and lectures taking place online. With this approach, students are given ample flexibility, and universities can double the use of their classrooms: two-hybrid classes sharing a classroom every other week equals the same occupancy as one in-person (full-time) class. 

The Basics

Universities that utilize digital technology help boost the overall learning experience of a student and give the basics a boost. For instance, in an article published by education.com, students who work on their writing skills do better when using a word processing software than they would without it. Although college instructors cannot clearly understand why this happens, they believe that this has something to do with the ease of revising their articles. Students feel that because of sharing files via shared drives or emails, they can easily receive constructive feedback. In turn, the instant response allows the student to work smarter, not harder. Eventually leading them to produce better final outputs. 

Digital Learning Tools and Apps for University Students

For university students, the smartphone is one of the most valuable tools that play a crucial role in college: from study organization and management to in-class learning, community life and planning, personal security and safety, and even handling finances. Here are some of the most valuable apps every college student should have to make the best out of their university experience. 

For Recording and Collecting

  • Office Lens. It is a very popular applications for snapping instant scans using your smartphone’s camera. Office Lens can be synched with OneDrive and OneNote. Helping you scan many documents including: photos, texts, drawings, and even business cards. All can be saved with efficiency and ease syncing back to a home tool where all can be saved and stored remotely.
This app automatically identifies the measurements of the file you wish to crop and scan. It can even make autocorrect and sharpen images at your request. See an image on your classroom’s whiteboard? You can turn that into a word document! You can even instantly turn a business card into your mobile contact. Google Lens is another similar app that detects objects. It offers actions to your smartphone based on its visual analysis of the object. This is also similar to Bixby Vision and Google Googles. 
  • Notability.  This app is one of the best note-taking apps today. Aside from being a note-taking app, notability also helps students annotate PDFs/GIFs and images, brainstorm ideas, and create easy and quick notes for record lectures, future reference, and so many other functions. We all know it’s hard to take down lectures and notes while following an instructor’s lectures. Notability will let you manage your notes and lectures, and you can even share, synchronize and connect with your classmates. This app can also sync with OneDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox.
  • Dragon Microphone. Relatively new in the digital world (barely five years old), dragon microphone gives you amazing quality speech-to-text options to help turn your ideas into notes in just a matter of seconds. This allows you to dictate your notes and papers for assignments and presentations easily. Dragon Microphone can also recognize your voice, so after some time, overall accuracy is significantly improved. Writing your thoughts on paper is laborious and time-consuming. But with this app, you get your ideas down quickly. Once the workable draft is ready, you can edit and polish them as you please. 
  • SoundNote. Think of this app as your study buddy. It follows as your sketch, type, or record audio along the way. SoundNote is not available for the classroom, but you can also use this during group works or discussion or when you’re conducting interviews for research or assignments. You can also export your audio and notes as well in this app.
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Management

  • Uni Calculator. This is a straightforward app that helps you keep on top of your overall assessment and grades. The app allows you to compute the marks you need to get your desired grade in a specific class. You can also input whatever units of grading you prefer. 
  • iStudiez. This app lets you track everything: from your student life schedules to your homework and assignments, and even your grades. iStudiez is a student-planner app designed to help you track your plans at any time with easy-to-follow presentation and organization. To be more interesting, you can build fun and colorful block-style calendars, to-do categories, and timetable. It also features a simple grade-graph to help you track your college grades. Because it has received numerous reviews by students, iStudiez remains one of the most in-demand organizations and planning apps. 
  • SimpleMind. This is a highly illustrative map that provides the best place to map your thoughts and mull over them as your leisure. Because of its unlimited page size, brainstorming here is unlimited. You can create several mind maps on a single page. You can also inject useful video recordings, images, and voice memos. SimpleMind is very fun and easy to use. It can assist in the designing of complex mind maps in more than a dozen languages. 
  • SelfControl. Like any responsibility, diligently studying can be a bit of a challenge, especially of the many distractions around. This free app is the solution. SelfControl blocks any and every website that will distract you from your studies. You can time the blocks, set them for a specified time, and access only those fun and useful sites once you are done with your readings. 
  • StudyBlue. This powerful study assistant app helps you cut your stress brought about by too much studying. It also helps you to learn quicker and more effectively. With StudyBlue, you can access more than 500 million study materials, including study guides, notes, and flashcards. The app can also help you keep in touch with other students, provide you with suitable study and materials, and get involved actively with quizzes. Alternatives for this app include Quizlet, Brainscape, and Cram
  • GoConqr. Keeping an immense mass of information over the whole duration of your college semester (or even the first weeks in college) is a challenge. GoConqr is an app designed to live up to this challenge. It has interactive functions like mindmaps, courses, notes, flashcards, slides, flowcharts, and quizzes, making it a perfect learning and education management tool for college students. GoConqr also features a digital library for students. Educators can create their learning materials in the app and even make an interactive community among their students. The app can also provide schools with other features like creating campus portals, community announcements, and campus grounds.  
  • My Study Life. In college life, the most critical stage in the exam. Preparation for an exam is probably the most stressful experience you can ever have in university. Organization and time management are essential to solid exam preparation that can lead to achievement and success. When you wish to be organized and focused, you can do so with several apps, most notable, My Study Life. 
This app allows you to sync your calendars togethers allowing you to adjust your work life with your new college life. When you input key information about your college semester, you can easily keep on track with your classes, assignments, activities, and fast approaching exams. My Study Life also allows you to connect all your other devices and gives you the option of cloud storage. Other apps similar to this include Exam Countdown, Pocket, TCY Exam Prep, and ACCA Student Planner.  
  • EasyBib. Especially for first-year college students, citation and referencing is a daunting task. This is even more challenging, especially if your professors insist that you use different types of citation styles. Thankfully, EasyBib can help you with your referencing. This free bibliography generator can help reinforce all those important referencing rules that every student cannot escape. With this app, you can easily generate citations from a long list of formats. You can choose from several source options. Other features of the app include book search by title, citation sharing, or book barcode scanning. 
  • Google Drive. By this time, who is not familiar with Google Drive? Launched six years ago, this app gives you ample an amount of storage space. And the best part? It is very easy to use. Another alternative for Google Drive is OneDrive and Dropbox, although they only offer 5GB and 2GB storage space, respectively. Google Drive gives you 15GB of space. Aside from its easy drag and drop option, this app also gives you solid platform support. Your uploaded files are also automatically synced to the cloud. Google Drive also has a built-in image search technology that will surely impress you with its impeccable skills in identify objects and people. 
  • Pinterest.  Almost everybody knows Pinterest. This simple but amazing app is very popular among college students because of its enormous collection of ideas. It is plain fun to browse, and you get to gather so much information you need: whether it’s a room decoration idea, fashion advice, and so much more, Pinterest is full of inspiration and an unlimited range of visual contents to help you with your projects and the likes. Every “pin” will take you to a website where it was found. At present, it has more than 100 million active users worldwide. You can expect that ideas and images will never run short.  
  •  Coursera. Who says learning has always to take place in the classroom? Coursera gives you hundreds of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to those who are interested in gaining a basic understanding of various subjects and topics. This app offers courses that are organized and taught along with other colleges and universities. With more than 24 million users worldwide, you can never go wrong with Coursera. 
This app offers online studies in 12 different categories. You can receive your verified certificates and online achievements once you complete a course. Today, most universities even recognize Coursera credit, thus allowing students to have their online courses completed as part of their usual degree programs at a college. 
  • Google Duo. This is the simpler version of Skype. Google Duo is a helpful little app for making video and audio calls to people in your contact list. It has great audio and video quality, and you can leave previews for your recipients to check before they accept a call. Google Duo is a perfect app for students on a tight budget and is looking for options to reduce their calling costs. Other similar apps include Skype, Tango, Whatsapp, Viber, Facetime, and Amazon Alexa. 
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Security

  • bSafe. In recent years, personal security while in university is of primary concern. Although campuses are often observed and patrolled with CCTV cameras, schools can be quite massive, dark, and quiet. This is a bit uncomfortable if you are walking alone at night, right? bSafe app can provide you with some security by putting a virtual eye on you as you go home via live GPS tracking. The app features an SOS alarm and automatic audio and video recordings that instantly sends to other mobiles
  • Circle of 6. This dedicated app is created for college students as a device against possible sexual violence, although anybody can still use this for improved security and safety. Just like the bSafe app, this app lets you tap your location to anybody, relaying your position and the possible need for help. As its name implies, you can make a security circle of friends who can receive phone calls, GPS locations, and texts. Circle of 6 allows you direct access to important issues like relationships, sexuality, and personal safety. It also comes with a feature that allows users to make a direct “phone out” call to specific hotlines. 
Juggling multiple “lives” (college, work, and home) is certainly a challenge. Nonetheless, one should not let the fear of a challenge deter them from becoming successful.  With so many digital tools available today, advancing your career has never been so easy.