5 Apps to Make You More Productive

College life can be overwhelming as you try to manage your classes, extracurricular obligations and social life. Some students get so flustered that they procrastinate or miss assignments, with their grades suffering in the process.

College life can be overwhelming as you try to manage your classes, extracurricular obligations and social life. During this busy time, technology can make your life more manageable. Here are five apps that will help you organize your time and increase your productivity:

1. Evernote

Not only is Evernote free, it is on the list of The New York Times “Top 10 Must-Have Apps.” With this app, you can write notes, capture photos, keep to-do lists and record voice reminders. You can sync Evernote with all your devices and search for specific notes. You can organize notes into specific “notebooks” or with tags and email them to others via Twitter or Facebook. College students can use this app to snap photos of PowerPoint slides and textbooks, take and organize class notes for studying later and even to upload their favorite recipes and grocery lists.

2. Dropbox

As a student, you may do work on multiple computers, even working on your smartphone when you’re out. Dropbox eliminates the need to email documents from one computer to another. It also eliminates the need for a flash drive. By installing the free app on your computer, phone or tablet, you can save any file to a Dropbox folder that you can access from anywhere. You can even create folders that you can share with other people.

Sign up with an .edu email address and get extra space!

3. iStudiez Pro

Hailed as a “sophisticated student’s planner” and a bargain at 99 cents, iStudiezPro helps you organize your life. It is a virtual planner, complete with class schedules, a calendar, grade book and homework tracker. The grade tracker helps you estimate your current GPA, and notifications will remind you of future classes, events and due dates. You can even back up your data via email or a cloud option.

4. gFlash + Flashcards & Test

Another great freebie, gFlash + Flashcards & Test lets you create and edit an unlimited number of flashcards for studying, with the option of adding images and sounds. You can also download existing cards from the gWhiz collection. Cards can have up to nine sides, and as you quiz yourself, you have the ability to track your progress. Because it’s free, there are some ads, but they don’t get in the way of your studies.

5. GradeFix

For all of the procrastinators out there, there is finally a planner with intelligence. GradeFix will organize your tasks for you: By entering details of your upcoming assignments, this app uses algorithms to plan the best schedule for you. Your work is separated into four categories (reading, homework, quiz study, test study) and prioritized. If you somehow miss an assignment, it will be placed at the top of your priorities. The only catch is that while it is free to sign up, it costs $5 per month to use.

Melissa Woodson is the community manager for @WashULaw. In her spare time, she enjoys running, cooking, and making half-baked attempts at training her dog.

Being Productive While Commuting

Generally, it is not good for the eyes to read while on the road. Well, I beg to differ – most of the time we spend at least 30 minutes walking to get to our classes.

Thirty minutes can make a big difference in your learning experience. Here’s how to be productive while commuting –

  1. Listen to audio books, podcasts and class recordings – It has been proven that listening can significantly improve your knowledge base. It helps you discover the things you might have missed before.
  2. Always keep flash cards with you all the time – Flash cards are easy to read and it doesn’t even take 30 minutes to cover everything.
  3. List your priorities for the day – You can list on a piece of paper your itineraries for the day so that it is easier for you to stay on track.
  4. Proofread your papers – You can scan your papers and check for grammatical, spelling and sentence construction errors.
  5. Scan class notes – Reading while you are on the move is a big no-no thus it is better to scan your notes or probably take a peek on highlighted texts.
  6. Return calls and text messages – If you missed some calls and messages, the great time to respond or take a call is during your commute.

Finally, learning how to relax through breathing techniques while you are commuting is a great way to become productive.

Benefits of Trade School

We have touched on alternatives to traditional colleges before, and it is definitely worth another look. If you were raised like I was, your parents only advocated for college. Trade school was never a thought in their mind, and mine because of it. However, if you have struggled with traditional academic programs, you should think about trade school.

Benefits of Trade School

They teach you a trade. Instead of focusing on a broad range of academics, with a focus in one area, trade schools teach you one specific trade. Examples include accounting, cooking, dental assistance, medical billing, paralegal, HVAC, etc. Once you graduate from a radiology program, for example, you will be able to enter the workforce as a radiologist. If your trade needs a certification, the schools will arrange and prepare you for the test.

Trade school programs often have smaller classrooms, which gives you more one-on-one time with the professor. Your peers are also taking the same classes so you can easily form study groups. This can also help you build meaningful contacts to help your career.

Studies have also shown that employers show a preference for students with tech school diplomas because they already have the know-how and hands-on learning.

The best benefit of all, it’s quicker and cheaper. Graduating from college takes 4 years, on average, while trade school is much quicker. Some programs are only 6-10 weeks and some take 2-3 years. Either way, your overall expenses, including tuition and fees is much less than they would be if you went to a four year university.

Trade or vocational school

If you are not sure you want to go to college, but you do not want to start out working for McDonald’s after high school, an alternative to a traditional university is trade or vocational school. There are a lot of different trades you can learn, but cosmetology is one of the most promising.

Beauty Schools of America is a fully licensed and accredited school for the top cosmetology students. They are located in Florida and are approved as an accredited school by many industry organizations so you can get the best education. Like a traditional college, Beauty Schools of America offers day, afternoon and evening classes so you can work full or part time while attending school.

For over twenty years, Beauty School Florida has been providing students with the skills needed to succeed in the cosmetology industry. They use the Milady system of training, which is designed to nurture your speed and creativity so you can earn a high income in the beauty industry. They offer a comprehensive beauty and spa career training in a large number of areas. They also offer speciality courses, seminars and professional development classes so you can continue your training and stay abreast of the latest industry dynamics.

Trade and vocational schools are a great way to bypass traditional universities, but still have a good career.

Keeping your eyes healthy with eyeglasses

As one of the biggest eye conditions facing today’s working and studying generation, Computer Vision Syndrome is something that everyone who works in front of a computer should know about. The World Health Organization reported that at least 153 million people have problems with their vision, whether near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and/or astigmatism – these problems are all easily treated with a pair of prescription eyeglasses.

For those who wear contact lenses in addition to their glasses, hours in front of the computer can be a particularly painful experience, resulting in red, itchy and irritated eyes, in addition to nasty headaches.

According to certain national studies, the percentage of Americans needing eyeglasses rose to almost 42% between 1999 and 2004. One can only imagine how that has risen since smart phones and netbooks have entered the market and people are straining their eyes even further.

To accommodate this growing market of eyeglass wearers, eyeglass stores and manufacturers have stepped up to provide what is needed to fit lifestyle needs, fashion desires and individual tastes. What’s better is that with the growth of the world of online eyeglasses, these fantastic frames are available at up to 70% less than their equal quality counterparts in the offline eyeglasses world.

So take care of your health and buy a new pair of eyeglasses with GlassesUSA.com and save a further 10% off any order of glasses when using the code: Blog10 or $25 off any order of transitions lenses when using the code: Trans25.

This post was paid for and sponsored by GlassesUSA.com – the SMARTEST place to buy eyeglasses!

Find the right online school

For those interested in pursuing online education instead of traditional degrees, it’s hard to know where to start. Online schools can be a scam and a waste of time. How are you to figure out which ones are the best? Of course, there is a website to help you out. An Online Degree By Distance Learning will help you find the perfect online school. By inputting your choices, this website will help you find the best school to pursue your online degree.

The best way to find a good school that will actually teach you the things you need instead of giving you a piece of paper for money is to ensure your school is an accredited university. Meeting with (either by phone or in person) an admissions counselor will also help build your confidence in the school. You can also try talking to other students through message boards to see if they enjoyed getting their degree and would recommend the university.

This website doesn’t just show you online schools like University of Phoenix. It also includes traditional campuses that offer distance learning programs. There is also other information for those interested in going back to school after working. There are helpful articles and links to other resources. As a bonus, there are articles about telecommuting jobs, which is something that I have. Working from home doing customer service is a great, flexible job for any student.

Quizlet

I discovered another new website with great study features – Quizlet. With a free membership you can create sets of vocabulary words and study them. It allows you to set the privacy of the set, whether it’s for you only, your friends or public. After, you can familiarize yourself with them and also go through online flashcards. Quizlet also will let you create a test, with multiple choice, matching and fill in the blank questions. You can also alphabetize and export your vocabulary sets.

I’ve been using Quizlet for about two weeks now and it’s my favorite online study tool. I’ve created twelve different vocab sets for four different classes and it’s worked wonders. My favorite option is the exportation…I can pull the words into a Word document to print out or print flashcards. The website is very fast and works great. I haven’t had any problems. You can import words (copy and paste only right now, which makes it easier if you already have your words typed up. One trick I’ve learned is when typing words, you can tab to the next word if there aren’t enough boxes and it creates a new box for you instead of having to push the button…makes it much easier and quicker to add words.

Renting your textbooks?

Chegg I recently came across a website that lets you rent your textbooks for a semester (or quarter or summer). It’s called Chegg and you actually rent the book and send it back after you’re done. They boast that you can save up to 80% and help the environment. For every textbook that you rent from Chegg, they will plant a tree.

I tried it out and got an art book for the fall semester for only $50. Used ones even from Amazon were quoted at over $90. Chegg sometimes orders the books from resellers (such as Amazon) and has them sent directly to you (in the case that they didn’t have any on hand). You can do some light highlighting, but no writing in the books. It’s a pretty good service and I’m happy with it so far. The book arrived about four business days after I placed the order.

Online printing services

I work part time for a small business and in this economy, every penny counts. Things that seem small can add up and cut into much needed profits, like printing. I don’t mean just regular printing, but specialized printing such as brochures, business cards and other advertisements. Student organizations also utilize printing services and using an online shop instead of a brick and mortar store can be a wonderful alternative. Expensive print shops will offer wide variety of top-quality printed products, but so will online printers. The best way to circumvent high costs in advertising is to find a cheap printer.

There are multiple online printing websites that offer everything a specialty print shop would, but at internet prices. If only some of the student organizations were as cost-conscious as a small business owner, then my tuition and fees would go down (seriously, my university pays for everything the student orgs do!). This is just another way for smart students to cut back their spending.

Another benefit of ordering from online printing websites is that you can often design your product right on their website. Some of them have a lot of templates for you to go through to build the perfect flier or business card, with stock images and clipart for you to choose from. This all just makes professional printing much easier for the student or small business owner.

How to get your emails as text messages

TeleFlip There is a new service called TeleFlip that sends your emails to your cell phone via text messages. It’s a free service that enables you to be connected without having to shell out extra money on internet browsing on your cell phone.

What I did to have my personal email sent to my phone was have that forwarded to a gmail account I set up (so I don’t give my personal email password away and so I can retain a copy in my regular email program for when I’m online). You set up gmail’s pop access and allow for emails from certain people to be forwarded to your cell phone. It will even work with a pay as you go phone. The only charges you incur are regular text messaging charges, which varies by provider (or free like me if you have an unlimited plan because you can’t keep your fingers to yourself). The only charges you incur are regular text messaging charges, which varies by provider (or free like me if you have an unlimited plan because you can’t keep your fingers to yourself).

So far I’ve been using this service for a few days and have emails sent from my closest friends forwarded as well as anything important for work. Everything has been smooth and no spam has gotten through. I’m very impressed with the quickness of the forwarding (almost immediately). I do, wish, however, that there was an option to forward all emails, not just from certain people because for certain accounts, I want everything, not just from certain addresses. It is still in beta, however, so maybe this will be an upcoming feature.

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