With the shift to remote or hybrid learning, if you’re in college right now, you’re probably spending more time than ever in front of the computer, so this is the perfect time to make sure it gets the attention it deserves.
Hardware is, of course, important, but so is knowing which software to install to make the most of it. You probably already have Office, your favorite browser, and a few other apps for entertainment, but there are plenty of other tools you can use to boost your productivity.
Here is our list of the best Windows tools to help college students with assignments such as research papers, essays, and group projects.
Google DriveAs a college student, you’ll often find yourself on your assignments from multiple devices. You’re always on the go, and it’s much easier if you can get access to all your resources wherever you are. Google Drive makes that possible through cloud storage.
You get everything you’d have if you were using MS Word plus more. If you’re doing a group project with your colleagues, you can share your work with them and get feedback. Another plus is that Google Drive is compatible with all versions of Windows, Android, and iOS, so you can switch between PCs, laptops, and mobile devices.
GrammarlySome professors are very particular about grammar and punctuation. You don’t want to spend days or even weeks working on a writing assignment only to lose points because of a few mistakes you overlooked. However, no matter how many times you go over your assignments, you might still miss a few mistakes.
Well, with Grammarly, you don’t have to worry about that anymore. You can either use it from your browser or add it to MS Word. It will spot all your mistakes and suggest ways to rephrase parts of your text to increase readability. It can also give you synonyms and check your work for plagiarism. Grammarly is a tool any student needs.
ZoteroWhen you’re writing a research paper or a dissertation, you are expected to include references. Zotero is a Windows app that can help you organize them. It supports the most popular referencing styles, including APA, Harvard, Chicago, and MLA.
This way, your writing assignments have proper metadata, extra PDF, and links to back up your claims. While you’re still in the research phase of your assignment, you can use it together with a PDF editor that allows you to split or merge PDF files so you can organize the information you gather based on the different sections of your paper.
MyHomework Student PlannerGoing from high school to college is a huge change. The first year is particularly difficult until you figure out ways to meet increased expectations. You’ll often have so many assignments that you lose track of them. That’s what myHomework is for. It will help you organize and keep track of your assignments.
To enjoy the full benefits of this tool, you’ll have to upgrade to the premium version, but it’s very affordable.
OneNoteThis tool is included with the Microsoft Windows suite. College students, in particular, will benefit from it, given the large number of notes they must take and keep track of. You can even use it for taking non-test notes like audio and video recordings.
OneNote is very intuitive and allows you to take and organize your notes in a very straightforward way.
DropboxCollege textbooks, research papers, essays, and all the sources you need to cite– it adds up. With Dropbox, you get cloud storage for large files that you can access from multiple devices whenever you need to. Plus, you can also use it to send large documents to colleagues or professors.
WritefullWhen overwhelmed with a mountain of coursework and looming deadlines, you’ll sometimes find yourself in front of your computer working on a writing assignment and not being able to find the right words for a specific context. It’s frustrating and time-consuming.
Writefull can help you out in such situations by scanning your text and comparing it with a variety of databases to advise you on the best phrasing for the context.
Wolfram AlphaGoogle crawls the internet in order to provide you with the most relevant information. But sometimes, you’re using Google to research specific information for a college assignment, and the results are too broad to be relevant.
In that case, you can use Wolfram Alpha – a computational search engine that uses artificial intelligence to help you find specific information like scientific explanations with facts and figures, statistics, equations, and formulas. It’s perfect for assignments related to algebra, calculus, statistics, and finance.
PolarPolar is a combined reader and document manager that allows you to organize all of your reading materials in one place. It tracks your reading progress and lets you create folders, tags, and annotations to make using multiple digital sources easier.
Polar allows you to read in stages. It simplifies the articles by breaking them down into logical steps. You can even use it with flashcard tools like Anki for spaced repetition learning.
Cold TurkeyFacebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube – there are so many platforms that can get you distracted from your work. You’ve probably experienced it many times. You have to complete an assignment that you kept putting off, and now you’re on a tight deadline. Unfortunately, it’s not on a topic you’re very interested in.
You get bored, and you want to take a break. You tell yourself that it’s only going to be five minutes, ten minutes tops. And before you know it, you’re going from one YouTube video to another, or you’re scrolling through your social media feed for an hour.
Cold Turkey can help you stay focused. You choose the websites you want to restrict and for how long, and once you activate the restrictions, you can no longer change them.