9 Internet Essentials for College Students

24 Aug

The Internet has become a valuable resource to today’s college student. There are many free tools available that can help you keep up with your life.; many of these you may not know about. So in order to help you out, we’ve decided put together a list of our favorite free online tools. Be sure to let us know what you think and how you like the different tools. Enjoy!

1. Dropbox

Have you ever needed to save a file and didn’t have a thumb-drive? Has your computer ever crashed right before finishing an important project? If you’ve ever found yourself in these situations, Dropbox is what you’ve been waiting for. Dropbox is a free service that lets you store your photos, documents, and videos online and access them from anywhere. Any file you save to Dropbox instantly syncs to all of your devices including computers, phones, and the Dropbox website. With Dropbox you get 2GB of storage for free, with the potential to gain up to 100GB. Your files are always available from the secure Dropbox website or Dropbox apps available on Windows, Mac, Linux, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android and BlackBerry. Accidentally delete a file? Dropbox keeps a one-month history of your work; any changes can be undone, and files can be undeleted. Head over to the Dropbox site and sign-up!

2. Mint

No. This has nothing to do with bad breath. Mint brings all your financial accounts together online, automatically categorizes your transactions, lets you set budgets & helps you achieve your savings goals. Mint also sends a weekly update that summarizes your spending and saving, plus you can set up email or text message alerts to help you avoid fees or warn you when you’re going over budget. No more over-drafting! Obviously, security is a big concern when it comes to finances; with Mint, you don’t have to worry . They use 128-bit SSL encryption–the same security that banks use–and all data is protected and validated by VeriSign and TRUSTe. They even have an iPhone and Android app so that you can track your money on-the-go. Mint makes it easier than ever to keep track of those precious dollars and cents.

3. Google

Google is more than just a search engine. Signing up for a free Google account gives you immediate access to some of the newest and greatest technologies available.

First, there’s Gmail. In recent years, Gmail has become the standard for web-based email services. With Gmail, you get a 7GB storage limit. That’s nearly 1.5 million text emails! No longer will you deal with pesky ‘Inbox Full’ messages.

Second, you also have access to Google Docs. In Docs, you can create basic documents from scratch or start from a template. You can easily do all the basics, including making bulleted lists; adding tables, images, comments and formulas; changing fonts and more. You can also upload your existing documents for easy access on-the-go. Google Docs accepts most popular file formats, including DOC, XLS, ODT, ODS, RTF, CSV, PPT, etc. Want to collaborate on a project? Just enter the email addresses of the people with whom you want to share a given document and send them an invitation. Anyone you’ve invited to either edit or view your document, spreadsheet or presentation can access it as soon as they sign in. They can even collaborate in real time and view a complete revision history.

Have trouble managing your time? Then you need Google Calendar. Organizing your schedule shouldn’t be a burden. With Google Calendar, it’s easy to keep track of life’s important events all in one place. Custom reminders help you stay on schedule. You can choose to be notified by email or get a text message sent right to your mobile phone. Need to check the calendar while you’re out? With two-way syncing to your mobile phone’s built-in calendar, you can access your calendar while you’re away from your desk. It also syncs effortlessly with popular office tools like Outlook and iCal.

A new and exciting feature of the Google suite is Google+. This new social network provides you with a fun and easy way to connect with friends and classmates. You can add friends to your Circles or follow people that you find interesting. One of the most exciting features of Google+ is Hangout. With Hangout, you can video-chat with up to 10 friends at a time simultaneously. Have a group project but don’t want to meet in-person? Start a Hangout!

4. Evernote

From creating notes to taking snapshots of whiteboards and product labels, to making clips of webpages, Evernote allows users to document anything from their real and digital lives and find it at any point. Instead of trying to keep track of dozens of loose pages and miscellaneous Word documents in random folders, Evernote allows you to keep track of your thoughts in labeled “notebooks” and easily recall information with “tags.” It’s perfect for taking and organizing your class notes, projects, and journals. The best part of Evernote is that it syncs directly to “the cloud,” allowing you access wherever you may be. Free apps are available for the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Windows, and Palm Pre platforms. “One account. Many devices.”

5. Wunderlist

Are you a listmaker? Do you have 20 different things to do around campus, but can’t quite remember why you’re standing in the Financial Aid office? Wunderlist may be what you’ve been waiting for. It’s a free to-do list that automatically syncs to your Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android devices. Wunderlist is perfect for keeping track of projects and assignments, as it allows you to create separate lists for different categories (i.e. classes/projects), add due-dates, and even receive email alerts reminding you of when your tasks are due. An added bonus is that it’s beautifully designed.

6. LinkedIn

If you’re anything like many other college students, the concept of “networking” your way into your career is a scary thought. Ironically, you probably thoroughly enjoy “social networking.” In steps LinkedIn. It’s a social network that emphasizes professional and career related connections. Your profile allows you to represent your skills, experiences, affiliations, and academic training, which can all be exported into an automatically formatted resume. Another great feature is that you can join “groups” where you interact with pressing topics in your field with peers and upper-level professionals. Whether or not you’re currently searching for a job or an internship, it’s never too early to start “getting connected.”

7. Spotify

Spotify is the new way to listen to music. The Spotify library consists of over 15 million tracks and is growing constantly. It also comes in many formats available for your PC, Mac, home audio system and cell phone. You’ll never be too far from your music library. And because the music plays live, there’s no need to wait for downloads or take up precious hard drive space. Spotify makes it easier than ever to share music; you can share everything with your friends! The best part is, it’s all 100% legal! No more worries about about breaking copyright laws.

8. Amazon Student

Ordering products from the Internet can be a hassle, especially when you have to pay for shipping. With Amazon Student, these problems are a thing of the past. Amazon Student is a free membership program created especially for college students. Amazon Student members get exclusive discounts on a variety of products and categories. Discounts and promotions will be e-mailed to your Amazon.com e-mail account or made available on the Amazon Student membership page. As an Amazon Student member you’ll also get six months of FREE Two-Day Shipping, and $3.99 overnight shipping with Amazon Prime. If you choose to renew, you will continue receiving Amazon Prime shipping benefits in addition to unlimited access to Amazon’s streaming video service at a cost of $39 a year for up to four years. Order books, movies, clothes and much more without having to wait weeks for it to arrive!

9. Hulu Plus

Do you want to relax after finishing homework and want to catch up on your favorite TV shows? Then you need Hulu Plus. Hulu Plus lets you watch current and back season TV shows and movies anytime in HD. For many popular shows, Hulu Plus offers every episode of the current season, not just a few recent episodes. Hulu Plus subscribers also have access to back seasons and full runs of some of most popular TV shows in history, including many that were not available online before. You can access Hulu Plus directly on your computer or through connected devices including XBox 360, Playstation and the iPad. Get a free 1-month trial when you sign up with a .edu email address!

Honorable Mentions: Flickr, About.me, Foursquare, Sparked, Tumblr, Moo, Kindle App

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