The Best Academic Resources and Tools for College Students

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  • We created a list of our favorite academic resources and tools for college students. 
  • You can navigate the list using the table of contents or the menu at the top of the page.
  • This page will be updated as we discover new resources and receive suggestions from our readers.

Table of Contents

(Click on any item to read our review)

Professors

Internships

Online Tutors

College Course Notes

The subscription service costs $14.95/month and provides students with step-by-step problem solutions for over 34,000 textbooks. You can also access a massive database of over 26 million homework problems that have been answered by experts and other students in the Chegg community.

The free online database has over 400 million flashcards, class notes, and study guides. You can also search by course number, professor, and university to find course-specific study documents.

Course Hero gives you access to over 30 million course-specific quizzes, assignments, study guides, and class notes. The best value is the one-year membership for $119.40, but most students purchase one month for $39.95 because they only need a specific document. You can also unlock study material for free by uploading documents and referring friends to the platform.

The website offers free step-by-step problem solutions on hundreds of college textbooks. While their library is significantly smaller than paid services like Chegg Study, it’s still a great tool for students on a budget.

The prestigious university provides free access to MIT course material, including online textbooks, video lectures, notes, assignments, and exams. You can search by topic or subtopic to find courses similar to your own.

College students taking intro-level courses should check out Khan Academy. The free website has a massive library of helpful explanation videos, study guides, and practice problems.

College Study Tools

The free study tool lets you create and share flashcard sets with classmates or search a database of over 335 million study sets made by other students. You can usually find Quizlet sets that match your textbook, homework, and class assignments.

Cram lets you create your own flashcards or browse over 195 million pre-made sets. They also have a library of over 400,000 student-written essays but be careful not to plagiarize. Most professors run all submitted essays through plagiarism databases, so copying and pasting from Cram will get you in serious academic trouble.

SparkNotes offers free study guides and practice quizzes on hundreds of books often covered in college intro-level courses. The website also provides students with a helpful guide on how to write a literary analysis.

CliffsNotes provides students with free study guides on dozens of books and course subjects. The best part is their all written by college professors and structured in a similar order to how most intro-level courses are taught.

Students taking computer science and information technology classes love using W3Schools. The website provides in-depth tutorials and examples for HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Python, XML, SQL, and JSON API. You can also take a wide variety of quizzes and practice coding on their website using the “Try It Now” option.

6. Youtube

The platform has a surprising amount of helpful explanation videos on college-level topics. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite educational channels below.

College Writing Tools

Grammarly is hands down the best writing tool for college students. The free version lets you check for spelling and grammar mistakes in your papers, emails, messages, and social media posts. Students looking for additional features can also sign up for monthly ($29.95), quarterly ($59.95), and annual ($139.95) premium plans.

The upgraded version includes over 100 additional types of grammar mistakes, enhanced vocabulary and writing style suggestions, auto-generated citations, and plagiarism detection from over 16 billion webpages. The numbers don’t lie, 99% of students reported improved writing grades with the premium version.

Purdue Online Writing Lab is a great place to find information and resources for college writing. The website provides students with in-depth writing guides on several different topics, including the writing process, rhetoric, logic, essay genres, style, language, and citing sources. We recommend students review the website before writing and submitting their first paper in college.

Harvard Writing Center is a great resource for learning what it takes to be successful at writing in college. The website provides students with a step-by-step guide for composing an essay, finding quality research, and citing sources. While some of your writing assignments may not align with everything they describe, it’s still a great tool for general writing guidelines. 

The website provides students with the official Merriam-Webster dictionary and thesaurus, which help writers enhance their vocabulary and ability to convey complex ideas. 

The free citation generator allows students to easily cite their papers in APA, MLA, and Chicago style formatting. The fastest option is to generate your citations by copying and pasting the website link, but you can also manually enter information.

Students looking for additional features can also purchase their premium plan, which costs $9.95 a month after the 3-day free trial. The upgraded version includes grammar and writing style recommendations, as well as checking for accidental plagiarism.

Our favorite tool for organizing class notes and assignments is EverNote. The free version lets students create formatted tables, to-do-lists, record audio notes, and annotate images. You can also send web clippings and screenshots directly to a designated folder, which is great for gathering research and sources for papers. The premium plan costs $7.99 a month and students get 50% off their first year.

Academic Databases

The academic version of Google Search helps students find millions of journal articles and scholarly papers. You can also use your Gmail account to save and organize papers in your library for later viewing.

Another awesome feature is citations are done for you, just click the quotation marks on any article to get the recommended citation in MLA, APA, or Chicago style formatting. It’s also easy to view how many references a particular paper has, which is a great strategy for finding additional sources related to your research paper.

The only downside is Google Scholar pulls search results from a variety of databases, so you should be prepared to run into some articles and papers that require a paid subscription. If you’re struggling to find relevant sources, you can always check out some of our other recommend scholarly search engines and databases below.

The free search engine lets students browse over 210 million research articles by topic, author, journal, institution, and conference. The search engine also provides full abstracts, which help students quickly scan papers for relevant information.

Science.gov is an open-access search engine that combines data from 13 U.S. government agencies, including 60 databases, 2,200 websites, and 200 million pages of research. 

The academic database has over 12 million journal articles, books, and primary sources. Unlike free search engines such as Google Scholar or Microsoft Academic, JSTOR gives you access to nearly every top recognized International Journal. 

Most students should be able to access JSTOR through their college account, but you can always read up to 6 articles per month for free or pay $199 a year for full access.

Presentation Software

Most professors and students use PowerPoint for creating basic slideshow presentations. Universities normally provide students with an Office 365 access code, but you can also use the free online version or buy a 4-year student discount subscription for $80.

Students love using Google Slides for group projects and presentations since you can add unlimited members, edit in real-time, and chat while working. Your free Gmail account also gives you access to Google Docs and Google Sheets.

Prezi has been gaining popularity as an engaging and visually appealing way to give presentations. Instead of creating individual slides, Prezi uses a single canvas that zooms in on different areas as the presentation unfolds. 

The free plan should be enough for most students, but you can always take advantage of the $7 per month student discount or try out the premium version using the 14-day free trial.

The powerful software helps bring boring slideshow presentations to life. Students can create interactive presentations, infographics, printables, charts and reports, and web/social graphics. The free version includes 100mb of storage (up to 3 projects) and a limited selection of templates, charts, graphics, and widgets. 

Premium account owners receive access to 250mb of storage and up to 15 projects, as well as millions of design features and hundreds of customized templates. VisMe also offers an amazing student discount that only costs $30 per semester.

Best Online Calculators

Wolfram Alpha is a computational search engine that returns search results in the form of answers, rather than a list of articles and websites. If you’re looking for a fact or statistic on something, you can rest assured they will find it. The website also has an extensive list of mathematical and scientific calculators.

The free version offers complete access to search capabilities but upgrading to Pro ($5/month student discount) will get you step-by-step solutions and thousands of practice problems. You can also download dozens of course-assistant and reference apps on a wide range of topics.

Students who don’t have access to a graphing calculator can use the free online GeoGebra TI-84, which performs the same functions as Texas Instruments TI-84 graphing calculator. While you won’t be able to use the GeoGebra for in-class work and tests, the tool is still great for homework or extra practice.

The website offers free access to hundreds of financial and statistical calculators, including concept descriptions and formula guides. We also recommend you check out the Interaction Windows software program, which lets you create interaction graphs (using dichotomous, categorical, or continuous variables) and perform complete statistical analyses. 

Desmos provides students with an online scientific and TI-84 graphing calculator. The website also has a helpful resource section with explanation videos, example graphs, and practice problems.

Find Professor Reviews

How to pick the best professors?

Some college professors are better than others at lecturing and running their classes. Even the same course taught by multiple professors may have differences in grading and course structure. The last thing you want is to get stuck taking courses with extremely difficult professors.

You can avoid this problem by using professor rating websites when making your class schedule. Reviews from past students help you understand what to expect from your professors and how to balance your course load.

While professor rating websites provide helpful insight for students, you should not base your entire decision on them. The ratings are not always 100% reliable, especially when a professor only has a handful of reviews. If you find out better professors are teaching your course, most colleges allow students to add or drop classes during the first week of school.

The website has over 19 million student reviews on 1.7 million professors in the United States. You can find most professors by searching their first/last name or through your university’s dedicated page. Selecting a professor will reveal their overall quality and difficulty rating, as well as feedback and commentary from students. You can also learn about the textbook, attendance, and assignment requirements.

Keep in mind some professors teach multiple levels of courses, so you’ll want to use the filter option to select the relevant class.

Koofers was created by students at Virginia Tech and has ratings on over 640,000 college professors. The in-depth review provides you with an overall professor rating, average GPA, difficulty level, lecture style, grading structure, and past student commentary. You can also find past quizzes, tests, class notes, study guides, and flashcard sets for your specific class, professor, and university.

The online marketplace for students has reviews for over 970,000 college professors in the United States. The search function is easy to use, and each professor is graded on helpfulness, clarity, and easiness. Every professor page also includes a student commentary section (pros and cons format), which covers course policies and assignment requirements. 

The only downside we noticed is the lack of student reviews, especially at smaller colleges. We recommend using all three sites to verify the accuracy of professor ratings and reviews.

Find Student Internships

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking site and a great place for college students to find internships. Most recruiters use the website to find potential interns and employees, so every student should sign-up for a free account. The process only takes a few minutes and you can create a profile page that is similar to an online resume.

If you need help deciding what to include in your profile, here’s a helpful guide that teaches you how to create a professional-looking LinkedIn profile.

Chegg Internships is a free service that helps connect college students and employers looking for interns. There are thousands of internship listings in the United States and you have the option of applying with your profile page or directly through the employer. The website also provides students with a helpful guide on the internship process.

Indeed has the largest job board in the world and thousands of internship listings for college students. The website’s search function helps you find internships tailored to your interests and every listing provides you with details and requirements laid out by the employer. You also have the option to upload your resume or create one from dozens of templates with Indeed’s resume builder tool.

Find College Tutors

How to find the best Tutors?

College coursework can be difficult and sometimes you may need extra help understanding a concept or topic. The first step you should take is visiting your professor during office hours. A lot of students are too shy to ask for help, but most professors appreciate and value students who visit them.

You can also visit your college’s resource center to see what kind of tutoring services they offer. If your schedule conflicts with your professor’s office hours or your college doesn’t offer tutors, then the next best alternative is using an online tutoring service.

Students looking for an online tutoring service should check out Chegg Tutors, which has a 96% student satisfaction rate and tutors available 24/7. Payment plans range from $24 to $45 an hour depending on the number of minutes you purchase, and you can switch or cancel plans at any time.

Frequent use of the video chat service can get expensive, but it’s a great resource for when you’re stuck on a specific topic or need homework help. The great part is your first 30-minute session is free, so you’ll be able to see if the overall service or a specific tutor is a good fit for you.

There are tons of great online tutoring services available to college students, but few can compete with TutorMe. The platform covers nearly every college-level subject and only accepts 4% of all tutor applications, which means you can choose from thousands of tutors with degrees from the best U.S. colleges.

Another great feature is the advanced lesson space, which lets students and tutors screen share between devices. You can draw on a virtual whiteboard, use a graphing calculator, type on a text editor, practice coding, and share documents.

TutorMe is an excellent choice for students, but you may end up paying more than other services. Monthly payment plans range from $30 to $39 per hour or you can pay $1 per minute. If you’re interested in trying out the service, new accounts get a free 30-minute tutoring session.

Skooli is an online tutoring service without subscriptions or monthly payment plans, you just pay $0.82 per minute (minimum 15 min). Their search feature makes it easy to find a compatible tutor, all you have to do is type in a question and Skooli will match you with a tutor who can answer it. Aside from standard video chat, you can also use a digital whiteboard, share files, replay sessions, and chat over text.

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