For a quick overview of this blog post, view my printable Top 8 Technology Tools for College*
I love using Google Drive. I first became acquainted with Google Drive my sophomore year a for a Communications class group project. My group never met outside of class and we completed an entire paper together by editing one document simultaneously that we all had access to through the internet. Google Drive is a great alternative for the Microsoft Office programs. You can create word documents, spreadsheets and presentations. All you need for a Google Drive account is a gmail account, including those that are hosted by other organizations such as your school.
I have used all of these since I have owned a Windows Phone, Android Phone, and iPad/MacBook. So I’m kind of a hybrid when it comes to the devices, apps and software I use. These are all great mind mapping apps. I use that term because there are so many things that pop up in my mind at any given moment that I want to jot down. Depending on the device I’m using, I jot my notes down for later. Depending on your preference, these can be used for note taking in class. OneNote is particularly organized for this. You are able to categorize your notes into separate virtual notebooks, sections, tabs and pages. Google Keep is great for categorizing short notes with color coated tabs and Apple Notes is great for random notes that can be synced between devices.
Google Keep screenshot
Apple Notes screenshot
Mint is a budget tracking application created by Intuit, a financial and tax preparation software company. I began using Mint while in college to get a better gauge of where my money was going and to create a plan for spending and saving my money more wisely. Mint sends weekly financial reports, budget updates and savings progress via email. An added bonus, it gives you a free viewing of your credit score every 4 months!
Internet Streaming Services
To be honest, college cable sucks and no one these days has the flexibility to base their schedule around the television schedule. So, the next best thing to take advantage of are internet streaming services. Most cost no more than $10 a month. Everyone knows about Netflix and Spotfiy but have you explored the other services out there? Hulu Plus is one of alternatives to Netflix that has the rights to shows that Netflix does not (personal favorite: Modern Family). New to the game is Apple Music which is a rival to Spotify and more compatible with Apple users. Currently Apple Music is free three months for a trial. Another advantageous service is Amazon Prime. This subscription allows you to watch all the movies, tv shows and music in the Amazon database plus free book rentals and 2 day shipping. Bonus, they have a student annual fee of just $50!
This is more of a side note for those who want ease of access to documents and other files across multiple devices. I became aware of this knowledge as I used a Windows phone from 2011 to 2013. There were so many opportunities to share and sync documents to a Surface tablet. However, I did not own one so I had no idea of the advantages. Other ecosystems began to amp up their tools for sharing their files between devices. Google now has Drive to view documents on any device with internet, Apple has iCloud and Microsoft has OneDrive. Try one out!
YouTube Personal Trainer/My Fitness Pal
To avoid the Freshman 15 or even Sophomore 20, attend the workout classes at the campus gym. Is your schedule not flexible enough? Follow YouTube gurus to stay in shape and follow healthy meal plans. My favorite is Blogilates and Fitness Blender. Blogilates provides fun pilates and strength training workouts formatted like workout DVDs with interactive demonstrations and pumped music. A personal favorite, Blogilates provides monthly workout plans where two are never the same and clean eating meal plans to whip you into shape! Fitness Blender has many options based on fitness level along with manageable meal plans. Top off your health conscious lifestyle, count your calories and log your workouts in the My Fitness Pal app powered by Under Armour.
Mobile Check Depositing
When I was pursuing my undergraduate degree, I did not have a car and I lived in a city that was kind of rural and difficult to get around with public transportation. Whenever I got random checks from the university I had limited resources to visit a bank branch just to deposit a check. Most banking mobile applications now have the capability to deposit checks remotely and the money is available within 2-5 business days! No need to visit the bank EVER AGAIN!
I have a friend who graduated with a Computer Science degree and one who is pursuing an Information Security master’s degree. They were the best resources in college for new devices that are trending, free software (It was legit…most of the time haha) and online resources. They really kept me on my toes and up to date on technology news when I did not want to research it myself.
Published July 2015
*Please read User License Agreement for all downloads.