We’re already halfway through the summer, which means the first day of college classes are only a month away! If you’re a college freshman, I bet you’ve already begun purchasing your color coordinated dorm room furniture, searching for a new laptop to take to class, and stocking up on Ramen noodles.
As you prepare for the first day of your college career, I wanted to give you the tools to be just as prepared and productive as any upperclassman. The tool that helps me save a lot of time and boosts my productivity is Dashlane’s top-rated password manager! So, the Dashlane team and I are offering you and your new college buddies a FREE, one-year subscription of Dashlane Premium (a $40 value), to help secure and manage the passwords to your social media profiles, your Netflix account, online school portals, and more! Stay tuned for more details at the end of this post.
I also created a list of 15 essential apps that are easy to use, free or affordable on a college budget, accessible on both mobile and desktop devices, and, most importantly, will help make your freshman year a breeze.
Free; App available on iPhone, Android, iPad, Apple Watch, PC, and online at www.Dictionary.com.
Whether you’re writing a blog post for your Freshman English class or a 10-page research paper for your Introduction to Biology course, eliminate basic spelling and grammar mistakes with the Dictionary.com app! This app not only defines words but will also pronounce them for you. This app even comes with a Thesaurus, allows you to save words, search for definitions offline, and can help build your vocabulary with a Word of the Day.
15 GB of Storage Free, App available on iPhone, Android, iPad, Mac, PC, and Chromebook. You can also access it online via your Gmail email address.
Google Drive was one of my favorite apps when I was a college student! Instead of saving my documents on a USB drive, I used Google Drive to upload, save, and sync my essays, pictures, videos, email attachments, PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, and other files on all my devices and computers. This also comes in handy for group projects; with Google Drive you can invite classmates to view, edit, or leave comments on any of your saved files and folders.
Free; App available on iPhone, iPad, Android, and Online at EasyBib.com.
When it came to writing research papers for midterms and finals, I absolutely hated writing bibliographies by hand until I found EasyBib! It’s the fastest, hassle-free way to create citations in MLA, APA, Chicago, and several other formats for your bibliography! You can cite 59 types of sources, like books, videos, court cases, magazines, music, blogs, etc. EasyBib also has the option of automatically searching for a source by URL or name, and creating a citation for 22 designated sources. Trust me! This app will become your saving grace (you can thank me later).
Free; App available on iPhone, iPad, Android, PC, Windows Phone and Tablets, and online at Duolingo.com.
Want to learn how to say, “Hi! It’s very nice to meet you,” in Spanish, French, or more than 20 other languages? Then Duolingo is the app for you! Unlike your high school foreign language classes, Duolingo makes learning a new language super fun and engaging. Each language lesson includes a mix of speaking, listening, translation, and multiple choice challenges. The best part is that the lessons are gamified, meaning you can earn points for each correct answer, race against the clock, and level up! Duolingo also keeps track of your progress, and since it’s available on mobile, you can spend time in between classes brushing up on a new language.
$6.99/month.; App available on Mac, PCs, iPhone, and iPad.
While studying for midterms and finals, it’s easy to get distracted by Facebook, Twitter, and different apps or websites. Freedom is an app that helps block distracting websites and apps on several devices, or block the entire Internet if you really need to focus on reading a PDF or textbook. It also has a cool scheduling feature so that you can avoid specified websites and apps during your designated study time during the week. You can start with a free 7-use trial during midterms, and if you like it, upgrade to a monthly subscription of only $6.99 (cheaper than your Netflix subscription), or ask your parents to buy you an annual subscription for only $29.
Free; App available on iPhone, iPad, Android, and online at mint.com.
As a college freshman, your parents won’t be around to give you money every time you need it. Therefore, freshman year is the best time to learn how to start managing your money and how to create a budget. Mint is an all-in-one app that makes managing your financial life easy. Mint allows you to create budgets that are easy to stick to, receive alerts for unusual account charges, get personalized financial tips on how to save money and reduce fees, and it’ll also show you your credit score, and will teach you how to improve it over time. While you’re at it, try out Mint Bills –an accompanying bill pay app that helps you stay on top of your monthly credit card and phone bills, keeps tabs on your bank accounts, and allows you to pay upcoming bills online!
Free, App available on iPhone, iPad, Android, and online at www.Chegg.com
Word of advice: don’t pay the full price of a brand-new textbook at your school’s bookstore. Instead, rent, buy, and sell new or used textbooks from Chegg.com! Chegg has textbooks in virtually every category, from Computers, to Business and Economics, to Photography. If the class already started and your textbook won’t be shipped in time for your first lesson, Chegg offers 7-day instant access to an online version of your textbook while your physical copy ships. If you decide to drop or swap classes, you can send back your textbook and receive a full refund within the first 21 days of your rental period. They also have helpful tools to help you connect with a tutor online, find jobs and internships, and offer resources for finding scholarships or choosing your major.
Free; App available on iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac, PC, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Nokia S60, and online at whatsapp.com.
If your friends and family are outside of the country, if you plan on going abroad for a semester, or if you’re simply looking for a new messaging app, try WhatsApp! It’s a free messaging application that allows you to send and receive messages, calls, photos, videos, documents, and Voice Messages, without having to pay for every message or call. You can also create group chats, send and receive WhatsApp messages right from your computer’s browser, easily syncs with your contacts saved in your phone, and best of all, there’s no international charges!
Need to pay your friend back for buying you lunch, but you don’t have any cash on you? Not a problem! Venmo is a mobile app that allows you to make and share payments with family and friends. You can also pay someone with just their phone number or email–no account necessary! You can sign up using your Facebook account, and link your bank account or debit card to your Venmo account. If someone pays you via Venmo, you can easily transfer that money into your bank account within one business day.
Free; App available on iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Mac, PC, Windows Phone, and online at evernote.com.
If you prefer taking notes on your laptop or tablet, Evernote is the tools for you! Evernote allows you to clip web pages and images, search for text inside images, share and discuss notes with classmates, and keep your notes, to-do lists, group notes and other documents effortlessly organized. You could also ask your parents to pay for Evernote Plus ($34.99/year) or Evernote Premium ($69.99) for more features, including accessing notebooks offline, searching for text in PDFs and Office docs, scan and digitize business cards from career fairs, and annotating PDFs on the go!
Free; App available on iPhone, Android Phone or Tablet, and online at google.com/calendar.
I bet many of you already use Google Calendar to keep track of upcoming deadlines, exams, events, and more, but it also has some pretty cool features I bet you didn’t know about. For example, it can automatically save your upcoming flight, hotel, concert, and restaurant reservations directly from your Gmail inbox! It also allows you to add personal goals, like “study 3 times a week” or “hit the gym 4 times a week” and Google Calendar will schedule them for you automatically. You can also create different calendars for your different classes, or sync your calendars from iCloud and Exchange and view them all in one place.
Free; App available on iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac, PC, Chromebook and online at slack.com.
Collaborate and chat with classmates or teammates with Slack! You can create different channels to chat about different topics, create private channels to invite a smaller group of friends or teammates, and also send direct messages to anyone. Instead of going back and forth from your email to a group chat, Slack makes it easy to quickly drag, drop, and share files, images, PDFs, documents, spreadsheets, and GIFs! You could also connect it to your Google Drive, Dropbox, or Box account to make files searchable.
You don’t need to be an expert in Photoshop to design beautiful presentations, social media graphics, resumes, posters, and more. Canva is a free, easy-to-use app that allows you to drag and drop millions of stock images, vectors, and illustrations, or upload your own one of thousands of awesome layouts. Jazz up your creation with preset filters, icons, shapes, and hundreds of different fonts and colors. While Canva has several free stock images that anyone can use, they also have stock images that can also be found on Getty Images or Shutterstock for only $1 (yes, you read that right!).
Free; App available on iPhone, iPad, Android, and online at linkedin.com.
Looking for a job, internship or fellowship to help build up your resume? Make sure you create a LinkedIn account and maintain your profile throughout your college career. You can set your job preferences based on location, the amount of career experience you have, which industries you’re interested in, and the size of the company you’d like to work for. That way, LinkedIn will recommend internships and job opportunities based on your customized job preferences. You can also manually search for jobs by job title, keywords, or company in the search bar. Most importantly, LinkedIn is a great platform to help build your professional connections and allows you to gather valuable information and news about a company or individual. It’s important to note that LinkedIn was recently the victim of a massive data breach, so make sure you protect your account with a long, strong password.
Free; App available on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, PC, Windows, and online at dashlane.com.
Okay, I may be slightly biased here, but Dashlane is definitely an app you should have in your arsenal. Dashlane password manager allows you to store, manage and encrypts your passwords to various apps and websites. With your stored passwords, Dashlane can automatically log you into several websites automatically with its browser extensions, log you into supported apps on your iPhone and Android device, and also automatically fills out forms that require information like your name, email address, or billing address. Dashlane also as a digital wallet, which allows you to save and encrypt your bank account information and credit/debit cards, and autofills them into checkout forms on ticketing or retail websites with no effort. It’s a great tool to help you practice safe password habits throughout college, and protects your sensitive, personal information in the event that one of your devices is lost or stolen.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m giving away 500 FREE, one-year subscriptions of Dashlane Premium! Dashlane Premium allows you to sync all of your passwords on your desktop and mobile devices, and also backup your encrypted passwords to the cloud for safe keeping. Premium also allows you to securely share an unlimited number of passwords (yes, even Netflix) with your roommates, close friends, and family.