I’m just going to state the obvious. College can be stressful. All the reading, the writing, the presentations, the research, and the projects, on top of student orgs and jobs and internships… it’s a lot. Toss in a global pandemic and no wonder we’re stressed out.
With so many competing priorities, being efficient is huge. And you’re in luck, because there are a LOT of incredible new digital tools for college students to help you get organized and make your life easier. So I’m here to share some awesome shortcuts, websites and apps that have helped me as a college student. Make yourself comfy and get ready to put these in your notes because you are definitely going to want to check them out ASAP.
Shortcut: Control/Command Z. This keyboard shortcut will undo almost anything, in any program. Accidentally delete a paragraph? Or an entire email? This shortcut will fix it! Control/ Command Z will redo your undo.
HemingwayApp. This free website (no login needed) is simple. You copy and paste your paper (or cover letter or email, etc.) into the editor and it will give your paper a “reading level.” It will help you remove unnecessary wordiness and simplify your writing. Clear, concise writing. It’s what the people want!
Student Beans. A website that has student discount codes for hundreds of retail stores. It acts as a digital loyalty program that gives students exclusive discounts on brands they love. I started using it the second I could prove I was a student at Miami!
Canva. Want to go beyond using plain PowerPoint templates for presentations, or bland Microsoft Word documents for your resume? Canva is absolutely magical. Sign up with your email for a free account and you’ll have access to hundreds of design templates for anything you can imagine: presentations, resumes, logos, social media posts, graphics, flyers, brochures, and the list goes on. I think it is the most useful tool I discovered during my time in undergrad. Designing on Canva can give you a very beginner’s introduction to what it is like to use Adobe products.
Google Drive. The G Suite was the best kept secret from me in high school. Seriously, how was I not using this my whole life? Google gives you access to an entire suite of online services: email, document writing, presentations, video chat, spreadsheets, survey design, etc. The most important feature, possibly rivaling email, is the calendar. Google Calendar (Gcal) is your most valuable tool and biggest lifesaver.
Using shared Google drives for class projects is also a game changer; any new documents, slide decks, spreadsheets, etc. will be automatically shared with the other users in the drive. Pro tip: you can also check the version history of your work to double check the contributions of each collaborator – very handy when peer evaluations roll around! Go to File: See Revision History to open up the right-side panel.
GroupMe. Ever have a group project where you don’t want to have a text group chat or need to have a large number of people in one group for communication? GroupMe is your answer. It uses your phone number to distinguish you in the group, but doesn’t give the other members access to your information. Plus, it’s a great way to keep school groups separate from your personal contacts.
WeVideo. WeVideo is a video editing tool provided to us by the university. It’s a cloud-based video editing platform, which allows users to upload video from their phones or computers, edit it on the web from a desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone, and (if desired) to publish this content to the web. Extremely useful for class submissions or creative purposes!
Caravan Wellness App. Miami is partnering with Caravan Wellness to offer a free fitness app to students, faculty, and staff in light of the pandemic. It has hundreds of videos for accessible home workouts, as well as an exclusive Miami program designed to help users destress. It includes a mix of meditation, yoga, and stretching to help you focus on mental wellness just as much as physical health.
Document scanning. Bonus tech tip from the personal experience of yours truly. This one is for my pen and paper note takers, and my Notes app friends. Have you tried to take a picture or screenshot of your writing or a Note to submit for class? So frustrating and always bad quality. Here are two solutions for you:
- Document scan in your Notes app
- Download the Adobe Scan app for paper documents. Lay your note sheet on a flat, plain surface and use your phone to scan the document right into your phone for easy submission.
Putting these tech tips and extremely useful interfaces to use during your time at Miami will enable you to be all that more successful. Happy exploring, Miami students!
Kathryn Moir | Marketing & IMS