7 Online Tools All College Students Should Use

by Nate Desmond / January 28, 2014
JANUARY 28, 2014 Category: Student Life
Nate Desmond

Nate Desmond is an autodidactic learner and growth marketer who's excited by the intersection of behavioral psychology and data. He shares his favorite marketing learnings on his blog.

By Nate Desmond 

In our modern world, most college students have a computer, a smart phone, and likely a tablet. We spend hours of study time working on these devices, and yet we rarely realize how much time they can save us.

By using these seven tools in your studies, you can greatly improve your learning quality while also decreasing the amount of “busy work” needed.

Rescue Time

Through add-ons installed in your web browers, this simple web app tracks where you are spending your time and gives you detailed reports. Using their goal system, you can optimize it to automatically remind you when too much time has been spent on one particular category – such as social media.

According to their website, RescueTime saves users an average of three hours and fifty-four minutes per day by simply bringing these problems to the light.


By renting your textbooks instead of buying them, you can save quite a bit of money while still getting the correct editions. CampusBookRentals offers a great search engine, up to 90% discounts, simple rent extensions, and free return shipping!

If you would rather purchase your books, BookFinder.com provides an excellent central search engine for a number of discounts websites. Just remember to search by ISBN so you get the correct book!


Although this service is not free ($24.50/year for academic edition), it can be worth the cost. Much like a Google Docs for brainstorming, this service provides a live chat function and offers easy viewing of old versions. Because the maps are hosted online, you can view yours from virtually anywhere with internet access.

If you are interested in saving time while greatly improving the final result, I would recommend brainstorming your school projects on MindMeister.


If you do much research online, this tool is absolutely crucial. Easily added to your web browser, Diigo give you options to highlight and add notes to websites. These changes are then saved to your account and loaded automatically the next time you access the website.

In a bonus feature, this service saves both an HTML and image version of the webpage, so you don’t have to worry about a website getting deleted or going temporarily offline when you need it.


Does your paper require APA or MLA citations? What is the difference between website and book citations? Using EasyBib, you don’t need to worry about any of these problems.

When you enter your website’s address or book’s ISBN, their automated system will give you the proper citation format.

Study Blue

Probably my personal favorite study tool, StudyBlue is an online flash card application. Much like an individualized version of our own LearningNetwork, they provide tools to create your flash cards and easily study with them.

As you progress through your study sessions, their free service provides real-time statistics on your progress.


An excellent resource for anyone with a computer, Dropbox provides two gigabytes of free storage with cheap upgrade options. Whether you need to access your information from multiple computers or simply want a reliable backup, Dropbox is the perfect solution.

With SSL and 256 bit encryption, your files are secure without any action needed on your part!


Don’t worry about trying to apply all seven of these tools at once, but do choose one – perhaps RescueTime – to start using today. If it works well, try another next week.

What online tools have helped your study the most?

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