Digital Tools for College
by Luke Nearhood | published Sep. 10th, 2020
When you start your first semester of college, you may discover the way you used to organize yourself isn’t as effective as it once was. Here are some apps and websites you may find useful for navigating your first year of college.
When you have tons of new assignments flying at you on a daily basis, you’re not going to want to keep them all in your head and will need somewhere to dump them quickly. For this reason, Todoist is the go-to task manager for many, as it can take care of things like due dates automatically. The free version is a robust to-do list, while some of the more advanced features, such as labels, comments and reminders, are only available in the paid version.
TickTick is an alternative to Todoist which has many of the features the former has available only in the paid version, such as labels, which TickTick calls tags, for free. It also includes features which Todoist doesn't have at all, like timers, and a calendar in the paid version.
During your freshman year, you’re going to want to know where all your time is running off to. Toggl is the time manager recommended by many productivity gurus. It has comprehensive API support, allowing integration with many other apps and websites.
You’re going to need a calendar — that’s a given. They're great for classes, appointments, club meetings and everything in between. Google Calendar is pretty much the standard at this point, and if you use Gmail (which RIT does) it offers a ton of integration with other apps.
If you need a place to store miscellaneous notes and documents, Evernote is the most powerful option available at the moment. The free version includes most of what students will need, but limits the number of devices which can be synced and amount of data which can be used.
Trello is a project management app. It's similar to a task manager, but a bit more zoomed out. Trello is often used for group and long-term projects, which are ubiquitous in college. The free version of Trello includes all the core features, but limits how much you can automate things.
RIT Academic Success Center (ASC)
For those who prefer analog organizational methods, the ASC has a ton of useful templates for organizing your semester, and some of them now have Google Sheets versions.
A note on alternatives: many of the apps listed above have great and viable competitors we had to leave out, but what’s more important than finding the perfect app or system, is having a system.