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8 Software Programs Every College Student Needs

Being a student today requires a lot more than a sharp mind and a pencil. Students need to use the latest technology to keep up with the demands of their education. Here are the top eight can’t-miss software programs for students this year.


Microsoft Office is the longtime favorite of college students and business professionals everywhere, but it’s expensive. For college students that need to write papers, track stats and give presentations, LibreOffice 5 offers a free and comparable alternative to Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.


Image via Flickr by Nic’s events

If you aren’t familiar with the dreaded collection of articles for a research paper, then you may never have to know its full pain. Zotero helps you collect articles, manages your library, and automatically creates correct citations for your papers. The program does a lot of the heavy lifting for you by doing the painful work of following major citation styles and suggesting relevant articles in your library.

Read Cube

When you are skimming through dozens of articles and need to keep track of your thoughts on each one, Read Cube is the right tool to use. This software program is a PDF manager that helps you find, read and collect your articles. Even better, Read Cube turns the articles into a searchable database, allows you to write notes right onto the articles, and makes it possible for you to highlight important sections. Plus, you can use Read Cube to look for every other article that mentions the one you are looking at, or you can use it to search for articles you might be interested in based on your topic.


Audible requires a subscription that provides you with a free monthly book (and they can stack up), but every student has a lot of reading to do. Now, you can download a book to listen to while you are working out or cleaning your dorm room. Audible offers a different way to get your homework done in a more efficient way. With hundreds of thousands of titles in every genre, you will find many of the books you need are on Audible.


This is an ideal team app for students that doesn’t take you away from your favourite email service – Gmail! It’s a chrome extension that literally supercharges your email experience by embedding amazing collaboration features like shared labels, creating and assigning tasks, using email templates, setup email reminders and send it later (scheduling feature) for your emails.

Hiver team app is free for 3 users, and you can implement within a second for your college project or some assignment your group is working on. Sharing notes and tasks becomes very handy when you are working as a team, and you can browse through previous activities, simply on your gmail.

Here is a link to Hiver chrome extension, and you can digg through features in more details.


This is a calendar specifically designed for college students to help them manage their class schedules and workloads. A class message board, task organizer and integration with your Facebook page are a few of the features that make this program worth downloading. You will need an .edu email in order to use CollegeRuled.

Google Docs or Zoho

Both Google Docs and Zoho allow you to work remotely on the documents you create and to share access with others. If you have a group project, or simply want to access your work from another computer, you can create a document, spreadsheet, presentation, form, or other work on Google or Zoho. Additionally, Zoho provides a platform that is able to work hand-in-hand with the Microsoft Office tools.


college-student-software-2Image via Flickr by Justin Marty

Are you missing your family, significant other, or need to get a group project done? Skype offers free voice and video calls right from your computer to any other Skype user. For those of you who don’t have smartphones, lost your phone, or have strict data plans: you’re welcome.

In order to take advantage of the efficiency and productivity that programs can offer, you have to start with finding the perfect laptop, such as Lenovo’s Thinkpad. The high-resolution screens and fast processors allow you to video chat clearly and without interruption. The keyboard and touchpad are all ergonomically designed for easy use. Plus, it’s all at a cost you can afford—even on that student budget. Speaking of which . . .


college-student-software-3Image via Flickr by Unhindered by Talent

Most college students are hard-pressed for funds, so managing what you do have is important in avoiding unnecessary debt. Mint offers a free money manager to help track spending, create a budget based on past spending, and check on your current balances. It syncs with all your accounts and can be accessed right from your smartphone with the Mint app.

College is a great place to learn and meet new friends. Many college students will look back fondly on all the memories they made in college. Make sure you are using the right tools to help you get the most out of your experience.