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21 Brilliant Productivity Tools Every College Student Must Use

If you ask a college student about productivity, he won't have much to say. And you really can't blame him. He leads a dynamic life where academics and fun go hand in hand, with the latter becoming a more important activity most of the times.

However, with the advent of internet and web 2.0, a college student now has access to so many amazing tools that he could finish up his work as well as enjoy life to the fullest without the guilt. The following list mentions 21 such tools which could skyrocket the productivity of college students when it comes to doing research, communicating with fellow students and dealing with assignments.

Research and Taking Notes


Questia is an excellent online research tool which features a huge web based library of magazines, books, journals, papers, articles and much more. They claim that it is the largest online collection of complete books and journals, all of which is searchable word by word.

Although you need to pay about $19.95 per month for its membership, you could save on books and magazines you buy if you subscribe to it. And of course if you are prone to missing classes, this tool could cover up for it. It is available in 9 languages including English. Check out this article - 10 Cool Things About Questia

2.Free Book Notes

Free Book Notes, as the name suggests is a collection of free book notes, summaries, study guides and similar material aggregated from the internet. If you are an English Literature student, you would benefit the most from it. It has a huge repository of novel guides, plot overviews, context summaries etc of almost any book you could think of.


Wikipedia, internet's favorite encyclopedia is also a great research tool. Whether you are studying in high school or doing your PhD, you are sure to find things of your interest in this ocean of knowledge.

Although time and again, academicians have raised concerns over the authenticity of the content in Wikipedia and if it should be used by students as a study material, it remains a great tool for any college student who can't afford to pay for sites like Questia and needs to do his research online.


Now coming to online note-taking, lets talk about Notely. I'd say it's a superb tool especially for college students because they are the ones it focuses on. It is a seriously cool web productivity tool for students which combines note taking, to-do lists, calendar, file uploads, calculators and converters, dictionary and translator and much more in one single interface. Oh, and it works on the iPhone too.

Check this great video tour of the app if you aren't convinced yet.


Evernote is my personal favorite and probably the most popular note taking tool available. It offers all the versions - web based, desktop and mobile and syncs your notes between all the 3 mediums effortlessly. A great tool with some extraordinary features, something you would know only when you start using it.

6.Google Docs

Unless you are into hardcore maths and statistics, I'd assume you don't do complex tasks like creating macros in Microsoft excel. If that's the case then you should strongly consider switching most of your note creating and spreadsheet tasks to Google Docs.

Not only does it transfer your work to the cloud which can be accessed from any computer connected to the internet, it also has some great sharing and collaboration features which you could make use of.

7. Google Reader

Google Reader is a great productivity tool for just about anyone looking to find and read great content on the web and that includes college students. It is the best RSS reader available and lets you read content from your favorite sources without the need to individually visit each of them.


Noodletools provides some creative online and software tools for both teachers and students which can help them in researching, organizing and recording things. Their main tool which is called NoodleBib is a bibliography composer combined with note taking.



It's important that college students use Gmail as their email client. Gmail has got some amazing features which ensures that you are productive while handling your emails. Features like keyboard shortcuts, Gmail tasks and labs make it the ultimate email app.


Skype is a great communication tool, especially for college students as they are usually cash-strapped. It saves them money by reducing their cellphone usage and also saves them time because unlike with cellphone, using which you can talk anywhere and in any position (like while making food, lying on the bed), with skype you know you have to be in front of the computer and hence you'd avoid talking for prolonged intervals.

It also offers nice video conferencing and collaboration features.


If your college blocks IM clients then Meebo could well become an indispensable tool for you. It combines all the IM clients in one web based interface thereby giving you the access to all your chat accounts at one place and also helping you bypass the restrictions.

Storing & Keeping Track

12.Remember the Milk

Remember the Milk (RTM) is an excellent web based task scheduler and reminder which makes setting up reminders super easy. You can set reminders from the web, mobile phone, by emailing them and get email, SMS or IM reminders. Plus you could share your tasks, manage them offline and use it with other tools like Google Calendar.


Soshiku is a powerful tool which can keep track of your college assignments. You can add courses, tasks, notes and assignments and also get your course averages by entering your grade. Also, you can get notified when the due date of an assignment is near. The notifications can reach you via SMS or email.

14.Google Calendar

The thing about Google Calendar is that while it certainly is the best web based calendar out there, it also integrates with Gmail and Google Docs. And that is the cornerstone of productivity - using services which can complement each other. Hence it's recommended that college students use Google Calendar as their primary calendar app.


There are many cloud storage services available but Box.net stands out because of its super cool interface and ease of use. You get 1GB free storage for file uploads which should be enough to store your documents online. Easily collaborate on and sync documents and access them from anywhere.

Other Interesting Productivity tools


If you believe in keeping things simple then there could not be a better to-do list other than Nowdothis. And I think that this could be an excellent tool for college students who are prone to slacking and procrastinating on important tasks. The concept is simple - do one task at a time. Add tasks and start doing it. When it's done, click on done and proceed to the next task. Hence it prevents you from getting overwhelmed with the idea of having a lot of work to do.


Instacalc is an awesome online calculator and converter which can calculate and convert things from one unit to another in a snap. Need to convert 11 inches to cm ? Just type that in and you instantly get the result on the right hand side. You could even enter complex equations in the boxes and get instant results. A great tool without a doubt.


Sharing and collaborating on small files isn't difficult and can be done through email. However when it comes to large files, like the ones greater than 15 MB, there aren't many solutions offered by the internet to ensure free and effortless sharing. And that is where Drop.io comes into the picture. It offers free, private, real-time file sharing and collaboration options with upload limit for one file as much as 100 MB. You can upload huge files, share them with friends and also have multiple download options.


College students are probably the most active bargain hunters on the planet, hunting for discounts on almost everything they plan to buy, especially books. Bookfinder is a very useful website for students because it offers what they need - books in all forms (new, rare, used, out-of print). It is a comprehensive book search engine with more than 150 million books for sale. Hence you don't need to spend time searching for great deals on books online when you have this site.


Ever lost the notes you were documenting in your laptop during a lecture when you accidentally closed a window ? That's frustrating, isn't it ? Writer aims to help you avoid such situations in future. What it does is simple - it saves your work automatically as you type. Plus it offers a distraction free background to help you focus only on your writing.

21.Google Chrome (or Firefox)

Last but not the least, is the browser. Yeah, the one that shows you the world of internet. If that itself is slow and buggy then there is no way the other tools mentioned above would work well. Hence you should opt for Google Chrome, which is the fastest browser available, or Firefox, which is feature-rich but could get on your nerves sometimes. But ditch other browsers for good. They aren't worth your time.


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