by Joseph Black, student
It can be a nightmare to track down resources for college, especially if you’re just starting out your first semester.
Getting your books, materials, financial aid, student loans, advisement, classes registered, etc. can honestly seem like a never-ending to-do list. But there is one tool that every student should have at their fingertips and it’s also one tool that happens to be one of the most overlooked: Access to the Internet!
By now, we’ve all come to know and love the Internet when it comes to academic research. Knowledge and answers to virtually any topic are only a few clicks away.
But the Internet can also provide a lot more than that.
With the Internet, you can access a whole host of FREE tools to help you with tutoring, note-taking, and even step-by-step guides and tutorials that can walk you through even the most challenging algebra equations!
Here’s a list of a few of my favorites that have completely changed how I study. Keep in mind though that there’s plenty of other resources online that just might be your personal game-changer! (Just make sure you don’t tell the bursar’s office we’re getting such a bargain online!)
If you’re having trouble understanding what’s happening in your classes, you’re in luck! Ivy Tech has partnered with Tutor.com to offer access to free online tutoring that’s available 24/7! This is quite the steal when you consider that it can cost any other student over $100 for three hours of tutoring in a month.
Ivy Tech’s digital library is also always available online whenever you are, in case you need to do a little light reading when the physical library’s closed.
If your pen is having trouble keeping up with your instructor, maybe typing, recording, or even photographing your notes is more your speed? If so, the popular mobile app Evernote – which can also be accessed online at Evernote.com – can help you do all of those things!
Whether you’re writing a few quick notes or a full-length paper, it handles text input perfectly. On top of that, it can also record audio, transcribe handwriting in photographs of notes or chalkboards, and even helps you organize your notes in different virtual “notebooks.” It’s considered one of the best note-taking apps available for a reason!
Evernote’s Basic plan is completely free but there are also optional premium plans if you love it enough to unlock a few extra features like me! Oh, and be courteous and ask for permission before recording or photographing your instructor!
Seriously, if you’re having trouble with your English class, do yourself a favor right now and snag the tools available online at HemingwayApp.com and Grammarly.com. These aren’t just your run of the mill spell-check. Both apps monitor your writing, as you write, to make sure you haven’t made any spelling, grammar, formatting, or virtually any other errors.
And if you do make errors?
It’ll tell you what they were and offer helpful suggestions to correct them! This will drastically cut back the time it takes for you to make any revisions later. Even better: It might just help you get that grade back up after you bombed that term paper (ouch!). If you hate writing, then seriously, these are the gifts you’ve been waiting for! And don’t worry – they’re totally free.
This is just my opinion and it’s completely subjective, but math is HARD! But unfortunately, math is also a pretty big part of life, so we gotta learn to deal with it.
Thankfully, there are plenty of online math resources that can get us by. My showers of praise will go first and foremost to KhanAcademy.org. This website is amazing! Whether you’re just learning to count or you’re learning how to do multivariable calculus, this site has tutorials and video walk-throughs to show you exactly what you need to do to find your answers.
By the way, they have some pretty groovy lessons in other subjects too like science and engineering, computing, arts and humanities, and economics! How expensive? Please. It’s also COMPLETELY FREE!
- Need even more useful tools? Here are some neat recommendations:
KeepMeOut.com – This website will warn you if you try going to any designated websites that distract you (like Facebook or Netflix!).
- LovelyCharts.com – This diagram tool helps you create charts, flowcharts, sitemaps, business processes, organization charts, wireframes, and more!
- ZenPen.io – A minimalist, distraction-free word processor in your web browser!
- Drive.Google.com – Google Drive is a full office suite where you can create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more all stored in the cloud! (Hint: You can even use your Ivy Tech email credentials for this one!)
• Instructables.com & WikiHow.com – These sites provide tutorials for practically anything!
- Quora.com – Question and answer site, for all your burning questions.
- Coursera.org & Lynda.com – Extracurricular online courses, if you just can’t stop learning.
- GoAbroad.com – Information about studying, volunteering, interning, or teaching abroad.
- Quizlet.com – Virtual flash cards to help you study!
- DailyWritingTips.com – A different daily tip to writing better!
- Dictionary.com – Online dictionary.
- Duolingo.com – Learn a new language for free!
- SparkNotes.com – Books, papers, and study materials in a pinch.
- CitationMachine.net – Help with your citations has never been this easy!
- CollegeBoard.com – Connecting students to success.
- Scholarships.com – Helping you find scholarships that you qualify for.
So if you’re still not convinced that WiFi just isn’t something you can afford to spring for, think again! With access to this many free tools to help you get through school, you almost can’t afford NOT to have it!