The Ultimate Student Resource List

By | January 23, 2008

class=”bigphoto”> class=”figure”>Ultimate Student Resource List

It’s back to school time, yet again.  In the spirit of the season, I decided to gather together the best tools, websites, and advice I know of to help make you a more effective and relaxed student this semester. Since I know you’re broke, it’s all free!

10 Free Applications Every Student Needs

Unless you have money coming out of your ears, you probably won’t want to shell out the cash you’ll need to get Office, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, EndNote, and so on — even with your student discount. These free apps do the job well enough, and sometimes even better than their paid or otherwise limited alternatives.

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  • OpenOffice.org: A top-quality, full-featured office productivity suite — word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software, graphics editor, database, the works! Can save and open most Microsoft Office formats. If you have MS Works on your PC, ditch it and get OpenOffice.org instead. Available for most operating systems.
  • GIMP: A powerful, full-featured photo editing program, comparable to Photoshop. Available for Linux, Mac, and Windows.
  • KeyNote: Even after 2 1/2 years of being abandoned by its developer, KeyNote (not the Mac presentation software) remains the best free outlining software, with support for rich text formatting, plugins and macros, hotkeys, and a lot more. Can be run from a flash drive, too.
  • FreeMind: Great mindmapping program, useful for brainstorming, outlining projects, and keeping notes.
  • Mozy Backup: An Internet-based backup system, Mozy’s free plan allows you to store up to 2GB of files. The software runs in your system tray and automatically backs up the folders and files you’ve selected. I have it set to backup my documents folder and my email, which comes in just under 2GB. To backup photos, music, and other big files, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid version.
  • Zotero: A bibliography manager that integrates with Firefox, allowing you to automatically add webpages and, more usefully, resources from academic databases like J-Stor and AnthroSource to your bibliography. You can attach PDFs and images to your entries, as well as add your own notes. And all without leaving Firefox.
  • NVU: Mozilla’s web editor, NVU allows you to write webpages either in raw code or using the WYSIWYG interface, making webpage creation simple. UPDATE: NVU is no longer in development; the current version is called Kompozer.
  • VLC: The VideoLan Client isn’t pretty, but it will play just about any audio or video file you throw at it.
  • Pidgin: A single IM client that connects to just about every IM network: AOL, MSN, Yahoo!, MySpace, IRC, and so on. Available for Windows and Linux; Mac users can give Adium a try (I can’t vouch for it, since I haven’t used a Mac for 7 years…).

 

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11 Online Tools Students Should Check Out

Or 20, depending on how you count.

  • Email: Gmail
    Register for a solid, plain-jane email address from Gmail, something like FirstnameLastname@gmail.com. If your school sends important information only to your school email account, have it forwarded to your Gmail account. When you graduate, you’ll lose that school address — don’t invest too much of your social identity in an address you’ll lose someday. And while that .oOAwesomeChickOo.@goober.com email address seems like fun now, it won’t be much use he you start applying for internships, scholarships, and jobs.
  • Word Processor: Google Docs/Zoho Writer/Buzzword
    Online word processing offers solid features (minus a few bells and whistles you aren’t likely to need) with the ability to access your work from any web-connected computer. Google and Zoho lead the pack at the moment, though Buzzword’s gorgeous interface makes it a definite contender.
  • Spreadsheet: Google Docs/Zoho Sheet/EditGrid
    Again, Google and Zoho both offer strong online spreadsheets; if you’re using them for word processing, you might as well stick with them for spreadsheets. EditGrid’s emphasis on collaboration (they even have a FaceBook app) and strong feature-set make it well worth checking out.
  • Student Organizer: Notely/MyNoteIt/GradeMate
    Online organizers designed with students in mind, these services offer the ability to create, organize, and share notes, create reminders for important assignments, track grades and schedules, and generally keep on top of your student life.  Each offers a slightly different feature-set and approach to student organization; pick the one that fits you best.
  • Todo List: Toodledo/Remember the Milk
    Good, solid general-purpose task lists that allow you to sort tasks by date, priority, project, and just about any other way that strikes your fancy. Send yourself reminders by SMS, email, IM, or RSS.  Access on your computer or any web-enabled mobile device, even by voice using Jott. Integrate with GMail (Remember the Milk only), iGoogle, Google Calendar, and various other apps and services.
  • Mindmapping: Bubbl.us/Mindomo/Mind42/MindMeister
    Release your creativity and organize your thoughts using an online mindmapping tool. Collaborate with others and publish your mindmaps. Use to generate ideas for your papers and export in outline format.
  • Textbook Search: BookFinder
    Search over a hundred online bookstores for used or cheap copies of your required texts.
  • Bookmark Manager: del.icio.us
    Still the best place for storing, organizing, sharing, and discovering online resources.  Tag bookmarks with the name of each project you’re working on to create an online research reference. Tag by subject to recall possible topics for later papers.
  • Notebook: Google Notebook
    Use Google Notebook to keep track of pages, pictures, excerpts, and other material for papers and projects. Create a new notebook for each class or essay. Share resources by publishing your notebooks to the web.
  • WIki: PBWiki/WikiDot
    Another way to build and share resources like notes, collaborative papers, etc. Wikis offer incredible ease of use and are ideal for working with others.
  • Bibliography Creator: OttoBib
    Enter the ISBNs of all the books you used in a paper; OttoBib returns a perfectly formatted bibliography ready to cut and paste into your paper’s “Works Cited” page.

15 Websites for Students (Aside from Lifehack)

These sites are in the same vein as pxsbox.com, but focus exclusively on student life and the needs of academics.

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  1. Study Hacks: The first stop in academic productivity, written by author Cal Newport (How to be a Straight-A Student).
  2. Academic Productivity: Three cognitive scientists share their insights into how productive researchers work.
  3. HackCollege: Cynical (in a fun way) and unabashedly anti-authoritarian, this site promises to teach students how to hack “the old” — professors and administrators.
  4. Mindful Ink: Review of tools and techniques for better studying.
  5. The University Blog: Study tips and higher education news and commentary from a avid student turned university administrator.
  6. That College Kid: Great tips and blogs from a on-the-ball college student.
  7. Gearfire: Billing itself as “Tips for Academic Success”, Gearfire offers a daily dose of practical advice, software reviews, and pointers to the latest online services for students.
  8. Instructify: Written by educators at the University of North Carolina, the intended audience is actually K-12 teachers — but most of the advice and tools they share apply to college students as well.
  9. Protoscholar: With the longest front-page I’ve ever seen, Protoscholar offers tips and advice in the GTD vein.
  10. The Student’s Blog: Backed by a student loan company, of all things, the Students’ Blog is packed full of great tips and advice for students.
  11. Scott H Young: Scott writes for pxsbox.com, so you know what he’s about already. A college student himself, Scott’s advice comes from deep experience and reflection.
  12. Academic Lifehacker: Advice for students with an emphasis on time management and academic efficiency.
  13. Academhack: Focuses on the use of technology by students and academics, with news, reviews, and howtos.
  14. Efficient Academic: More tips, advice, and pointers to new technology from a working academic, with an emphasis on the sciences.
  15. Getting Things Done in Academia: Dr. Mike Kaspari offers the kind of advice about working habits, creativity, and ideas that most grad students are expected to know but are never taught.

30 Pieces of Advice for Students from pxsbox.com

pxsbox.com authors have published dozens of pieces with advice for students.  Here’s a good sampling:

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  1. 11+ Ways to Make this Your Best Semester Yet
  2. Taking Notes that Work
  3. 10 Steps Toward Better Research
  4. Use a Wiki for Better Note-Taking
  5. : How to Read Like a Scholar
  6. How NOT to Plagiarize
  7. Beware of thesaurus
  8. Twenty uses for a Post-it Note
  9. Writing by hand
  10. Slow down and read
  11. How to Talk to Professors
  12. How to unstuff a sentence
  13. N’allez pas trop vite
  14. 10 Steps Toward Better Writing
  15. If you’d like help, ask
  16. Getting details right
  17. Homework-eating dogs, and how to avoid them
  18. 117 Creative Ways for Students to Pay for College
  19. 88 Tips for Succeeding in College
  20. From a freshman: Five tips for success in college
  21. 5 Things to Bring to College
  22. How to Write Research Papers that Rock
  23. How to Improve Your Spelling Skills
  24. How to Read a Painting
  25. 10 Steps Toward Better Writing
  26. Improve Your Writing with these Editing Tips
  27. Study Tip: Why Aiming for A is Better Than A+
  28. Learn Tough Stuff Faster
  29. How do I take notes on big books
  30. The New World of Today’s Student

 

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7 Online Research Resources

To help you get started with all your research projects:

  • WikiPedia/Citizendium: While neither online nor offline encyclopedias are suitable as references in college-level papers, they are great for looking up unfamiliar topics in a flash and for getting a good overview of your topic when starting a new research project. WikiPedia is well-established as the “go to” resource on the web; Citizendium is an upstart using hand-picked expert authors.
  • Library of Congress: Literally Congress’s library, the LOC’s website offers a wealth of primary sources, including historical documents and photos, artworks, letters, manuscripts, and more. Expecially good are their online exhibitions of art and artifacts around specific themes, people, and events, like the Civil War or Colonial America.
  • Google Books: A great way to locate books for research papers and other projects. Use “Advanced Book Search” and select “Full View” to limit your search to titles whose entire contents are available online. You can even download PDF facsimiles of some titles!
  • LitSum: Online study guides and book summaries
  • Artcyclopedia: One-stop shopping for information on virtually any artist, movement, national tradition, or anything else art-related.
  • Intute/InfoMine: Curated guides to scholarly resources available on the Internet.
  • Bartleby: A full reference library at your fingertips, with dictionaries, encyclopedias, poetry collections, and full versions of classic novels, philosophy, religious texts, science writings, and more.

Over the years here at Lifehack, we’ve discussed plenty of apps that you can use to improve your overall productivity.

There are certain ones that many of our contributors and editors (past and present) have adopted over the long-term — there are always the stalwarts that stick around. But there are also new apps that crop up every day, adding more and more depth to the app category.

Some of the apps are incredibly plain and simple, while others are more robust and offer more features than you can shake a stick at. And everyone has the one they prefer.

It’s been our job (and still is our job) to keep abreast of all of the productivity-type apps out there. As a result — and as a bit of a refresher — we’ve put together a list of 35 best productivity apps for iPhone (all categorized based on their functions) to provide you with an all-in-one resource for you.

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Table of Contents

  1. For Getting Things Done
  2. For Building Habits
  3. For Files Organization
  4. For Improving Security
  5. More Recommended Productivity Tools

For Getting Things Done

1. OmniFocus

This app is, while pricey, considered to be one of the (if not the) most robust and full-featured productivity apps on the market.

Download it here.

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2. Forest

Train yourself to put your phone down and stay focused on the task at hand by playing with this planting game. It’s fun and will help you achieve more.

Download it here.

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3. Things

Another robust choice, this app is a favorite amongst “productivityists”.[1]

Download it here.

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4. Any.Do

A beautiful-looking app that is both easy on the eyes and your wallet.

Download it here.

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5. PocketLife Calendar

This calendar app is specifically designed to be stylish and super easy-to-use. You can organize your life easily with different modern features.

Download it here.

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6. Asana

We’ve covered Asana here at Lifehack

, and it is being actively developed by a strong team committed to making collaborative task management a more efficient and effective experience.

Download it here.

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7. ToDoist

This app keeps track of everything – from simple errands to your most important projects – so you can get it all done and enjoy more peace of mind along the way.

Download it here.

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8. Calendars 5

This calendar app focuses on events that help you to keep track of upcoming events and tasks easily. It has everything you need to organize, track, and complete your to-dos.

Download it here.

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9. Clear – Tasks, Reminders & To-Do Lists

A fun and innovative list-making app that relies on swiping and pinching to make things happen. Clear created a lot of buzz when it launched, and might be the perfect to-do list gateway app for many.

Download it here.

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10. Due

A robust reminders app that lets you store and maintain reminders of all types. It’s replaced Reminders for me when it comes to the basics, and it’s worth a look if you want to keep the mundane stuff out of your head and cluttering your mind.

Download it here.

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11. Checkmark 2

I use this app

for location-based reminders (such as groceries I need to get or single items I need to pick up from various locations). Checkmark is simple to use and valuable addition to my productivity arsenal.

Download it here.

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12. TeuxDeux

Created by Tina Roth Eisenberg and Fictive Kin — TeuxDeux is simple and incredibly stellar in terms of design. If you like lists (including the popular “Someday Bucket”) and want to associate dates with tasks, then TeuxDeux will be right up your alley.

Download it here.

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13. Nirvana

For the GTD enthusiasts, there’s Nirvana. Straight from the source: “Nirvana frees your mind to focus on actually getting things done. If you’ve had enough of generic to-do lists, it’s time for Nirvana.”

Download it here.

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14. Priorities

An elegant-looking task management app that has received decent reviews,[2] this could be the one for you if you’re not a fan of OmniFocus or Things — especially if you need (or want) to share tasks with others.

Download it here.

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For Building Habits

15. Productive

With this app, you can plan your habits with an easy-to-use interface, schedule habits for any time of the day, set smart reminders for each time of the day, and stay on track with useful feedback. This app is perfect for anyone who wants to build a habit that sticks.

Download it here.

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16. Habitica: Gamified Taskmanager

You can complete tasks and build habits in a more fun way with this app. Input your Habits, your Daily goals, and your To-Do list, and then create a custom avatar. Check off tasks to level up your avatar and unlock features such as armor, pets, skills, and even quests.

Download it here.

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17. Streaks

This app follows the model of the popular “don’t break the chain method” in that you use the app to track how you are donig in the pursuit of your goal. Great for goal-setting — and an easy and elegant interface to boot.

Download it here.

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18. Remember The Milk

Another popular to-do list app, Remember The Milk has a huge following. It has plenty to offer, including the ability to share tasks with others.

Download it here.

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19. Day One Journal

When it comes to journaling, nothing really beats Day One. Its latest update added a slew of features that will make you want to start making journaling a habit.

Download it here.

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For Files Organization

20. Evernote

Touted as the world’s most widely-used productivity app, Evernote is an be used simply as a notetaking app or can be customized to be your GTD app of choice — among other things.

Download it here.

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21. Pocket

You can save an article, video, or link you want to read or watch later to Pocket from anywhere including your computer, Safari, email, and your favorite apps like Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, and Feedly.

Download it here.

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22. Sync.Me

This app identifies unknown phone calls, warns you from annoying spam calls, and adds a caller picture to your contacts from Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Download it here.

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23. Droplr

One of the most popular file-sharing apps out there today. Straight from the source: “Stay productive on the go. Droplr for iPhone keeps you in sync and makes sharing on the iPhone natural.”

Download it here.

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24. Dropbox

Before iCloud, there was Dropbox. And there still is Dropbox, which is still widely used by both Mac and PC users all over the globe. It’s like having a flash drive on your iPhone. A must-have.

Download it here.

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For Working Smarter

25. Captio

A simple capture tool. Straight from the developers: “It’s simple. Open Captio and start typing. When you’re done, hit Send. The note is immediately delivered to your email inbox.”

Download it here.

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26. Drafts

A tremendous capture tool that allows for simple capture, followed by sending items to various applications such as OmniFocus, Things, and more.

Download it here.

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27. NoteShelf 2

This is a perfect note-taking app for you. You can take beautiful handwritten notes, type, annotate PDFs, record audio & create lists. You can organize them into categories or groups.

Download it here.

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28. Doodle

This app links directly with the Doodle service, which is one that allows you to plan and organize meetings far more efficiently and effectively. Lifehack contributor Steve Dotto has written about Doodle more in-depth here.

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Download it here.

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29. TextExpander (Legacy)

I have saved countless hours of time with TextExpander, and despite its inability to be as robust on iOS as it is on the Mac, it is still a worthy app to have in your arsenal.

Download it here.

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30. Launch Center Pro

A quick launcher for the iPhone that doesn’t just launch an app…with some of them it can do much more. This app saves you time by launching complex actions in a single tap.

Download it here.

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31. GoodReader

This may seem to be an odd one to make this list, but here are plenty of reasons why it is here with this article.

Download it here.

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32. LogMeIn

Want to be able to control your Mac from wherever you are? Then get this app.

Download it here.

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For Improving Security

33. 1Password

There is simply no better password manager out there. I’ve even put together a 1Password Emergency Kit worth looking at here.

Download it here.

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34. LastPass Password Manager

You can store passwords and logins, create online shopping profiles, generate strong passwords, track personal information in photo and audio notes.

All you have to do is remember your LastPass master password, and LastPass auto-fills web browser and app logins for you.

Download it here.

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35. Truecaller

Identify and block spammers, search for unknown numbers, and call friends easily with this app. With a community-based spam list from over 250 million users, you’ll need this app.

Download it here.

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There are plenty of other options out there (and we’ve heard from readers in the past as to what they enjoyed using), but these 40 are among the best.

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Reference

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[1]Ciara Conlon: Top Productivity Bloggers Share their #1 Tip
[2]The Next Web: Get the Right Stuff Done with Priorities