No student is a stranger to stressful workloads and tight deadlines; both seem to be well-established pillars of the “college experience.” Between classes, student organizations, internships, jobs and social lives, most of us are running on borrowed time.
Fortunately the web is home to a multitude of free tools for keeping your head above water. Here are five of my favorite web and mobile-based apps to keep your life organized and your limited time available for the important stuff.
Asana makes it easy to track your projects without getting lost in multiple commitments. Through Asana’s simple and elegant interface, users create a different workspace for each of their different commitments. Once a workspace has been created, projects can be filed where users then keep track of every task tied to that organization. Due dates, notes and files can all be attached to a task, making it incredibly simple to keep all of the resources tied to a project at your fingertips at all times.
It’s a digital planner where changing due dates and monitoring progress is simple and easy. One of my favorite features is the ability to attach a file to a task. This means that since Asana is available from any machine with an Internet connection, all of your papers are as well.
Where Asana really shines though, is the app’s ability to facilitate collaboration between members of a group. Even if not all members of your group have an account through Asana, the service will send reminder emails when a project approaches its due date, as well as emails with comments for tasks that members are assigned to.
Evernote is a handy note-taking app that aggregates all the notes and images you could want and makes them searchable. Write your own notes for class or other projects, import pictures from the web or your phone, or clip your favorite websites; Evernote puts it all at your fingertips. Organize your notes using tags, Evernote’s digital notebooks, or search for the text in your notes directly and, because it’s web-based, access them from anywhere.
Cool features like the ability to search for text inside images (so that flier for a campus event that you scanned will show up when you search for CEC even though it has no editable text) make this free tool a handy one to have. Unfortunately, some features, like the ability to attach documents (Word, Excel), are reserved for the paid, premium service.
Available both online and from your smartphone or other mobile device, Springpad is another helpful note-taking app. Though it boasts fewer features than Evernote, Springpad is the perfect app for keeping shopping lists always on hand and jotting down quick notes on the go. And because the mobile app syncs with Springpad’s website, those notes are accessible from any computer as well.
Studying is hard. That’s why Facebook was invented, and now that it has evolved to serve as a launch-pad for thousands of other apps, you can find just about anything you need to take a break from your studies without ever leaving their site. One such app is Spotify, a social music-sharing app that lets you stream millions of songs for free. Unlike Pandora which follows a radio format Spotify gives you complete control over the tunes to which you treat your earholes. The free version is still ad-supported, however, which means there are occasional breaks in your playlist for sponsored messages.
While the ability to build playlists of your favorite songs that are accessible from any computer with an internet connection would be great on its own, Spotify also connects with Facebook to create an entire community around your favorite music. Facebook friends using Spotify will be able to view your playlists, see the music you’re listening to currently and suggest music to you.
Though features like using the service from your smartphone and building playlists to listen to offline are limited to users with one of the two paid options, Spotify is still a fantastic way to enjoy and share your favorite tunes.
College life is hard enough when you’re not constantly stressing about money. Mint is a free and incredibly simple way to keep track of your expenditures and set customizable budgets. Want to limit the amount of junk-food you buy? Need reminders on paying your bills or want to track your credit card debt? Link your bank accounts to your secure Mint account and navigate the clever user interface to set budgets and reminders. Totally free and available on your smartphone, this app is a life saver for students on a budget.
A super-senior working at the ITS Solution Center on campus Eric enjoys the summer breezes, long walks on the beach and late-night Halo matches conquering all those who dare step before him.