10 Free & Useful Websites for Uni Students
Being a uni student can make you become a lot of things – a full-time student, a part-time procrastinator, an intern, a casual worker, and most importantly, a “scavenger” with a keen eye for free things. And of course you would be! When you pay tens of thousands of dollars each year to attend university, you just can’t afford to pay $23 for a plate of avo on toast or spend hundreds and sometimes even thousands to buy every single suggested textbook.
You become experts in finding free things that can help you save money or time, and especially online. Luckily, there are so many free resources out there that you don’t need to keep pirating or participating in other shady activities online. And we have collected 10 of the most amazing free software you can use to make your student life more productive without spending a dime. Click the title of each list item to visit the websites!
Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a citation tool that can help you save up to a few hours on building a reference list at the end of your essay. Not only does it help you build a bibliography, it also lets you collect, organise, make notes on, and even share your reference sources.
There is a comprehensive guide on installing, setting up and using Zotero right on their website. It also supports different languages, so for those who are more comfortable in a non-English language or writing reports in a different language, here is your solution!
If you don’t like Zotero, a simple Google search will help you find several other free online citation tools like EasyBib, Cite This For Me, Citation Machine, and Citefast.
Do you ever get marked down on your essays because of simple grammar mistakes? Or is English your second language and some grammar rules confuse you? Grammarly helps to minimise these easy grammatical mistakes by correcting over 250 types of errors in your document that Microsoft Word can’t always recognise.
You can install the browser extension and use Grammarly on web platforms such as WordPress, emails, and even social media posts. You can also install the application on your desktop and use it whenever you like!
The only thing that could be annoying for Australian students, though, is the fact that Grammarly doesn’t seem to support UK or AU spelling yet. This means that any time you use a ‘s’ instead of a ‘z’ you’ll see a red squiggly line underneath the word. It can be just a little bit to extremely annoying depending on your tolerance levels.
LaTex is a high-quality document preparation and typesetting system that makes it easy to format your scientific (and other) documents in the required style and layout. The idea of LaTex is to let writers do what they do best, which is to write, instead of wasting time and energy trying to format and design their writing.
Find the most suitable LaTex distribution for your computer here. And if you struggle to find out how to get the right one, then check out ShareLaTex.
Math students – here is your life saver! Symbolab is a step-by-step math problem solver that is offered for free. It can offer you a sigh of relief to know that you’ve solved a problem correctly following the right steps, or help you out when you’re stuck on a problem. And for uni students that have a part-time job as a math tutor, Symbolab shows you all steps involved in solving a complicated math problem that you can use as a guide to explain to your students.
You can use the website or also download the Android app or the iOS app.
Anki is a program that helps you memorise large quantities of information using intelligent flashcard programs. Whether or not you’re trying to revise for an exam, learning a new language, or even memorising people’s names and faces, Anki has got your back. Its intelligent and efficient system lets you increase or decrease the time spent studying or the amount of information you learn.
You can download Anki on Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, Android and several other devices.
Also, check out Quizlet to create your own study guide, memorise information with flashcards and search other study sets already created. Freerice is another vocabulary learning website that donates 10 grains of rice through the World Food Programme for every answer you get right. Make sure to pause or disable any ad-blocking extensions when using this website, as they go towards funding the rice.
LibreOffice is a free office suite that you can download to your device. It is an ever-evolving software with frequent updates. LibreOffice is perfect for students who are in need of the Microsoft Office Suite or other similar products that they can’t afford. Download LibreOffice for your device here.
Another way to go around the Microsoft Office Suite is to utilise Google’s free web-based office suite. However, it is always worth asking your university administrators about student discounts you can get for various programs and software, as well as ones that are offered for free to your university’s students.
“Blender is the free and open source 3D creation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation.” It is a public project with contributors and creators all over the world.
If you’re studying to become an artist, any kind of designer, animator and even a scientist, Blender will provide a ton of value to your studies – all for free!
Did you know that universities like Stanford, Harvard and MIT offer free online classes? Discover your passion in knowledge by searching for free online classes on Class Central!
Or check out these top universities’ open courseware:
Inkscape is a free vector graphic editor, providing a useful tool for illustrators, designers and web designers alike. It is available to use on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
You can create your own illustrations, diagrams, logos and other artworks on Inkscape.
And if you’re after another option other than Inkscape, check out GIMP, the GNU Image Manipulation Program, another free software.
Are you a procrastinator and do you struggle to just get down to work and focus? It can be really difficult to be using your laptop to study when you know that distractions are just a click away. Luckily, other like-minded individuals have created a way to block online distractions easily.
You can block websites (on which you’ll see a motivational message if you visit), block applications, and customise your settings to suit your needs like whitelisting certain websites that you need for studying. You can also schedule blocks so that when keeping to a timetable, you are allowed to visit the blocked websites during your study breaks. It can even work offline and lock you out of your own computer to let you walk away and take a proper break.
There are countless other free or really cheap resources online for students and professionals. All you need to do is a simple Google search for what you’re after. Even if you think that there would never be a free alternative for a software you’re looking for, or that free things are generally worse in quality, just give it a go anyway. You’ll be surprised.
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Another useful website is Wolfram-Alpha for those who don’t like using calculators.
ShareLaTex probably will become your best friend if you belong in STEM!