25 Legitimately Useful Sites for College Students

Oct 20, 2008

As you navigate around the Web, it's so easy to get pulled into rabbit holes of irrelevance. The Internet is filled with sites that offer nothing of value for college students. But if you know where to look, there are quite a few sites that are legitimately useful. Here are 25 valuable sites that you'll want to bookmark today.

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By Sarah Wright

Websites

Sites for Every Student

  • Rate My Professors - This site is great for college students who're planning their class schedule. It features ratings for more than one million professors around the world. Those professors are ranked by more than 6.8 million students.
  • Text Swap - Text Swap is a free textbook exchange service for students who want to be able to trade their used textbooks online.
  • Backpack - Backpack is the ultimate organizational Web app for college students. It allows users to take notes online, create to-do lists, keep schedules and much more.
  • Student Loan Calculator - This student loan calculator from the College Board makes it easy for college students to stay on top of their student loan payments.
  • Study Hacks - Study Hacks is dedicated to 'demystifying student success.' This college blog has become one of the best places on the Web to get study advice and academic strategies that actually work.

Sites for Student Researchers

  • RefDesk - This award-winning site is a great place to find and check facts. RefDesk has an enormous collection of reference materials, searchable databases and other great resources that can't be found anywhere else.
  • Internet Public Library - The Internet Public Library is an online reference service that offers everything from free dictionaries and encyclopedias to books, magazines and newspapers.
  • Encylcopedia.com - If you need an online encyclopedia that allows you to cite reputable sources, this is a great place to look. Encyclopedia.com pulls search results from more than 100 reputable encyclopedias and dictionaries, including sources like the Oxford University Press.
  • ChaCha - ChaCha isn't exactly a citable source, but it's a fantastic starting point for research. This human-powered search engine has more than 15,000 guides who are dedicated to answering any question you might have.
  • American Fact Finder - The American Fact Finder, from the U.S. Census Bureau, is a great place for student researchers to find economic, geographic, population and housing data.

Sites for Student Writers

  • Essay Punch - Essay Punch is an interactive online essay-writing tutorial. It helps students organize thoughts and improve their essay skills.
  • The Owl - Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL) is a great resource for student writers who want to learn more about writing mechanics, formatting, outline development and avoiding plagiarism.
  • Wridea - Wridea is a free online idea management service that is designed to help writers brainstorm, organize and improve their ideas.
  • Grubba - Big writing projects sometimes require the creation of a database to keep ideas organized. Grubba is perfect for student writers who want to quickly create a database that can be shared with other people.
  • Bib Me - Student writers will love Bib Me. This bibliography generator automatically fills in a works cited page in MLA, APA, Chicago or Turbian formats.

Sites for Students Who Read

  • The Online Books Page - This University of Pennsylvania website has more than 30,000 books that anyone can read for free online. Users can search by title or author.
  • Project Gutenberg - There are more than 25,000 free books in Project Gutenberg's online catalog, as well as an additional 100,000 books available from the site's partners and affiliates.
  • Open Book Project - The Open Book Project is designed specifically for the academic community. Students can find free textbooks and other open-source education materials.
  • Questia - Students can read more than 5,000 free books online when they visit Questia's online library. The site offers rare and classic books.
  • SparkNotes - When you need to catch up on reading that you missed or want to gain a better understanding of specific books, SparkNotes is the place to be. The site offers literary summaries, essay help, timelines and much more.

Sites for Students Who Socialize

  • Facebook - More than half of all college students have a Facebook account. You can stay connected by signing up for one of your own.
  • Campusbug - This site is similar to Facebook, but it has an academic aspect: Campusbug is dedicated to providing social networking tools and education to students around the world.
  • SpeakLike - This instant messaging service is great for students who want to network with people from other countries. SpeakLike translates communications across different languages with just a few easy clicks.
  • NoteMesh - People who use this site can collaborate and share notes with students around the world. NoteMesh uses wiki code, so it's easy to work with.
  • Student Life Network - If Facebook is a little too impersonal for you, consider setting up a Student Life Network on your campus. Using Student Life Network, you can build a community-based network that targets your fellow students.

Like the idea of having books online? Read about the Open Library and how you can help contribute!

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