This list comprises everything from financial aid to local guides, social networking, web-based applications and much more for the student with no time to waste in getting the most out of their education.
BeRecruited.com – For student athletes to fill out a form and be connected with college recruiters while getting information on scholarships.
Cappex.com – Create a profile and let universities approach you, talk only to the schools that interest you.
USphere.com – Fill out an online application showing your grades, test scores, college preferences, and more. Then it goes out to all of USphere’s partner schools and you hear back from the interested ones.
Zinch.com – Show potential schools you are more than ACT/SAT score by writing about yourself and creating a portfolio to sell yourself.
ACollegeTrade.com – Buy or sell text books, CDs, DVDs, and more in an auction setting that charges no fees. Search locally or nationally.
BooksForSchool.ca – A Canadian-based site for buying & selling your textbooks.
CollegeMedium.com – A classified ads site targeted specifically to students. Buy or sell your items, look for apartments and jobs directed specifically towards your school.
Craigslist.org – While everyone knows Craigslist is a place for classifieds of all kinds, it’s also a great place for buying and selling textbooks.
DormItem.com – Search classifieds by school so you get results for your area.
ECampus.com – Lets you buy & sell textbooks, they pick up UPS shipping costs.
EFCollegeBreak.com – A travel site with packages directed specifically towards college students wanting to see the world.
Half.com – A popular site for buying and selling your textbooks at bargain prices.
Ichapters.com – Buy print textbooks, ebooks, or even just one chapter of a text.
Pazap.com – An exchange site for students to trade, buy and sell books on-campus with other students.
Studentbid.com – Buy and sell your items without any fees, search for rentals and sublets in your area.
Uloop.com – Buy & sell your textbooks, find a ride home, promote events and more.
Financial Information & Aid Sites
Fafsa.ed.gov – The FAFSA website is the US Federal government website that assists you in applying for financial aid by filling out their forms.
Finaid.org – Assists you in finding different forms of financial aid for attending school.
Finfo.com – Offers all sorts of financial info from comparing schools tuitions and potential jobs vs. their related cost of living.
TuitionCoach.com – Helps you calculate your college tuition and then aids you in finding ways to pay it.
Homework Reference & Work Sites
Bartelby.com – Contains full texts of public domain works, perfect for that paper on Shakespeare and other passed on authors.
BookALesson.com – Aims to streamline the communication process between student and their teachers.
BuddySchool.com – Find online tutoring in pretty much any subject you need.
Carmun.com – Ever wish you could find someone at your school to discuss a fairly unknown text for a class? Search Carmun for other students around the world who share your passions.
Digication.com – Allows you to create an eportfolio and easily share documents with students and teachers.
Ectolearning.com – Lets you set up peer-to-peer learning as close as across the hall or anywhere in the world.
Gradefix.com – A homework management system that aids you in staying organized and getting your work done more efficiently.
Literature.org – Full and unabridged texts of classic English Literature.
NoodleTools.com – Assists you in writing a bibliography and making note cards to go along with it.
Pebblelearning.co.uk – A site to to put your work in to an eportfolio to allow peer groups to work, teachers to give feedback, record progress and more.
Scriptovia.com – A collaborative site for students to receive feedback on their academic work.
TalkBean.com – A global network of tutors waiting to work with students.
TutorLinker.com – Lets you search your local area for tutors in the fields you need.
Tutorz.com – Helps you locate a tutor in virtually any subject or level.
Alumwire.com – Helps college students and young alumni with building a career network.
AnswerU.com – Ask about any question you can imagine about your school and receive answers from your fellow students.
CampusExplorer.com – Explore information on over 6,000 colleges in the USA to find the one just right for you.
CollegeWikis.com – Browse wiki sites specific to your university or learn some things about schools you may want to attend.
LocalSchools.com – Enter the program you are interested in, where you live, and a radius of how many miles to search, and this site will help you locate a school meeting your needs.
RateMyProfessors.com – For the college and grad school set, check out your professors before you sign up for their classes. Add your own thoughts.
RateMyTeachers.com – For K – 12 classes, check out what your teachers are like before the first day and add your own reviews.
Yelp.com – Moving away to school can be scary as you don’t know all the good places to go. This site attempts to help with visitor-written reviews and tips.
FreeMyCampus.com – A site for college students to write on any number of subjects, believing that every student should have a voice.
Gradspot.com – A catch-all site with tips on good job interviews, finding your first apartment, to even health tips. A great source of information for someone living out on their own for the first time.
MonsterTRAK.com – A division of Monster.com geared specifically to part-time jobs, entry-level positions, internships and more.
Scholar.com – A social bookmarking site specifically geared towards academia.
CollegeMailer.com – Helps school clubs and organizations manage themselves and set up schedules, communicate, pay for event tickets and more.
CollegeRuled.com – Class message boards, easy to create class schedules, to-do lists for each class, and more.
MynoteIT.com – Track to-do lists, upload your documents, put your notes online and access them even from your mobile phone.
Notely.net – Helps you organize your lessons, to-do lists, notes and more.
NoteMesh.com – Allows students in the same class to create a wiki and share their notes so they can work together.
Stu.dicio.us – Organize your documents, take notes, share them, automatically link keywords in notes to Wikipedia.
Tuggle.it – An online tool for running your student organizations.
B4Class.com – Social networking with video chats, notes on trends and fashion and much more.
Campusbug.com – Combines social networking with online questions & answers and more.
CampusCentral.com – Connecting students from anywhere to buy and sell their textbooks, as well as building a community that lets you communicate.
CrushTV.com – Just for college students to create a profile, upload & share videos and pictures, and send mail.
Facebook.com – Although no longer just for school students, this site is still a very big part of university life.
SocialMD.com – A social network for medical students, residents, fellows, and physicians.
StudentFace.com – A student social networking site for Australia.
StudentSN.com – A student-only social network that offers all of the usual trappings.
Zeeya.net – An international social network for students.
Via: College Toolbox
Filed under: personal productivity, Students, Web 2.0, Web Apps | 1 Comment
Tags: Education, Learning, Web2.0 apps
Fortunately, learning and learning to learn well, will always be one of the most valuable skills in your personal and professional life. My point is to start building these skills as soon as possible, preferably when you are still a student.
Fast and effective learning is a skill for life and we could talk about it for days. However, to get you started here are 5 powerful tips on how to learn more, how to learn well and how to learn effectively.
1. The foundation: a productivity system
Let’s face it, without a solid foundation there is no way you can expect to build new skills and form new habits. My first tip therefore is to adopt a productivity system (like GTD). You need to develop the habit of consistent and effective note-taking, you need to have a clean, uncluttered desk to study at, you need a system for storing reference material and tracking your (learning) projects. I strongly suggest following this important tip, because it will make everything else (including learning) more efficient and effective. Speaking from my own experience: GTD by David Allen has provided this much needed foundation in my life.
You probably need or want to read a lot of offline and online material as well. But you only have so much time to do it. This is where my second tip comes in. Practice speedreading to read smarter and faster, while improving your comprehension! I have written about speedreading extensively but it boils down to: get to “know” the material you’re about to read, decide which parts of it you are going to read, and when you are actually reading: keep your eyes moving at a steady, perhaps increasing, pace without stopping at every word and definitely without ever rereading a single phrase. These tricks alone should double your reading speed very soon.
3. Think and work on paper
There is no question that pen and paper are the most underrated productivity and learning tools around. It will get things off your mind and make room for more creative thinking. Use your own shorthand and notational system to highlight important facts and actions in the material you’re learning. Condense, memorize and review the material you’ve learned by creating mindmaps. Forget about trusting your mind or your computer, think and work on paper to learn better and effectively.
4. Use multisensory techniques
This tip is all about discovering your preferred learning style and leveraging it to make learning more fun and more effective. You have to figure out for yourself if you are more of a visual learner, an auditory learner or a kinesthetic/tactile learner. Information will be absorbed by your brain much quicker and much more effective if you use your preferred learning style. To enhance your learning experience even further, combine your preferred learning style with the other ones. For instance, writing things down combines the visual and tactile learning styles. Reading things aloud to yourself combines the visual and auditory learning styles.
5. Allow your brain to absorb new stuff
Everybody has a certain learning rhythm. Some learn best in the early hours of the morning, others learn best late at night. Figure out which rhythm and time frame suits you best and use this to maximize your learning ability. However, you must frequently give your brain time to absorb the new stuff that you are learning. The best way is to “sleep on it” and the second best way is to take frequent breaks and do something completely different.
Filed under: personal productivity, Students, Web | 3 Comments
Tags: effective learning
Earlier today, Richard took a look at the state of e-learning 2.0, which got me to thinking about how school might be different if I were in college today because of the influx of new Web 2.0 apps aimed and students. Note taking meant writing on paper, study groups meant face-to-face meetings, and if you were struggling through Shakespeare, your best bet was to turn to the library, not the Internet.
Well, okay, it was a just a few years ago, but just in this decade, and especially in the last few years, a handful of tools to make school life easier have appeared. What follows is the set of web tools I would put in my backpack were I headed back to school tomorrow.
There’s no software package I used more in college (or today, for that matter) than Microsoft Office. 5 years ago the alternative was Sun’s OpenOffice.org suite, Corel’s Wordperfect (still not free), or a handful of even less developed offline tools. But now there are a large number of impressive web apps that can handle your academic needs. The cream of the crop are below.
- Google Docs & Spreadsheets – One of the more developed online office tools, Google offers a word processor, spreadsheet and presentation.
- Zoho Office Suite – Zoho is one of the most complete online office suites, offering more tools than you’ll even find in Microsoft Office’s student and teacher version.
- gOFFICE – No frills gOFFICE has a very familiar look and feel.
- ThinkFree – ThinkFree can replace Word, Excel, and Powerpoint with its suite of online apps, and they offer downloadable versions of their software as well.
- EditGrid – EditGrid only does spreadsheets, but does them very well.
More and more students are bringing laptops to class. Owning a laptop is a requirement for all first-year undergraduates at the University of Denver, for example. The proliferation of portable computers means that note taking doesn’t have to happen with a pad and pen. The following web apps will help you take and organize your notes.
Now you have your notes, you need to put them together. The following mind mapping/flow charting tools will help you get your thoughts in order so you can go from raw notes to polished dissertation.
So you’ve got your notes, and you have them all mapped out and organized, but you still need to fill in some blanks. There are a number of online study aids that exist to help you find the answers you need.
- Wikipedia – Wikipedia should probably never be used for serious academic research, but it is a great “jumping off point.” I often use Wikipedia to get quick background info on unfamiliar subjects and point me in the right direction for more in depth study.
- Yahoo! Answers – When searching the web fails, someone on Yahoo! Answers may be able to show you were to find the information you’re after.
- AnswerU – AnswerU is like Yahoo! Answers for college, sadly not the most academic of sites, but you could certainly try your luck.
- SparkNotes – SparkNotes are (mostly) free, online CliffsNotes for a large number of books. They also do test prep, mathematics, science and a number of other subjects. Of course they can’t really substitute for actually reading a book, but they can help you if you’re having trouble figuring out Emily Bronte. (And it turns out that many CliffsNotes are now online for free as well!)
- Google News – Google News, especially with their new archive search, can be an invaluable research tool if you’re researching a recent historical or current event.
- College-Cram.com – Free online study guides for science, math, language, and business topics.
- Tutorlinker.com – When all else fails, hire a tutor.
With all that online studying you need a way to keep track of what you’ve read. Online bookmarking tools are a great way to do just that.
- del.icio.us – There are a large number of social bookmarking apps, but del.icio.us is king among them. If you don’t like it, try Furl, Ma.gnolia, or Blinklist.
- Clipmarks – Save just a selection of a site. Don’t like Clipmarks? Try Web-Chops.
- Wizlite – Highlight text in online documents the way you would in a text book. Don’t like Wizlite? Try i-Lighter.
Why study alone when you can get help from a friend? There is power in numbers.
- Facebook – The quintessential college network can be used for more than just planning parties and dating. Facebook can be used to keep in touch with classmates, share and discuss notes, and create study groups.
- Stikipad – A collaborative wiki service that you can use to keep track of group notes on a project.
- Backpack – All your notes, lists, and ideas in one shared space.
Juggling your class schedule, extra cirricular activities, study time, and social life can be a challenge. The calendar apps below might help.
What college arsenal would be complete with out a calculator?
- EasyBib – A tool to take the pain out creating a bibliography.
- OttoBib – Enter the ISBN of a book, and automatically have your bibliography entry created in MLA, APA, Chicago, BibTeX, or Wikipedia style.
- Zotero – A Firefox extension that lets you “collect, manage, and cite your research sources” from within your web browser.
- Google – Google really is the killer research app. You can do simple math, currency conversion, get answers to questions (like “what’s the population of albania?” — it’s 3.6 million), search the text of books, look at satellite maps of the place your studying, and of course, search the web. Just check out all the stuff it does. (And all the stuff it might do in the future.)
While I don’t think there’s really a substitute for face-to-face learning, the online classroom continues to evolve in amazing ways. Students today have a host of web apps at their finger tips that can truly facilitate a better learning environment.
Filed under: Students, Web 2.0, Web Apps | Leave a Comment
It covers the art of customer service, a subject that is near and dear to my heart.
1. Start at the top. The CEO’s attitude towards customer service is the primary determinant of the quality of service that a company delivers. If the CEO thinks that customers are a pain in the ass who always want something for nothing, that attitude will permeate the company, and service will be lousy. So if you are the CEO, get your act together. If you’re not the CEO, either convince him to change his mind, quit, or learn to live with mediocrity–in that order.
2. Put the customer in control. The best kind of customer service happens when management enables employees to put the customer in control. This require two leaps of faith: first, that management trusts customers not take advantage of the situation; second, that management trust employees with this empowerment. If you can make these leaps, then the quality of your customer service will zoom; if not, there is nothing more frustrating than companies copping the attitude that something is “against company policy.”
3. Take responsibility for your shortcomings. A company that takes responsibility for its shortcomings is likely to provide great customer service for two reasons: first, it’s acknowledged that it’s the company’s fault and the company’s responsibility to fix. Second, customers won’t go through the aggravating process of getting you to accept blame–if you got to the airport on time and checked your baggage, it’s hard to see how it’s your fault that it got sent to the wrong continent.
4. Don’t point the finger. This is the flip side of taking responsibility. As computer owners we all know that when a program doesn’t work, vendors often resort to finger pointing: “It’s Apple’s system software.” “It’s Microsoft’s ‘special’ way of doing things.” “It’s the way Adobe created PDF.” A great customer service company doesn’t point the finger–it figures out what the solution is regardless of whose fault the problem is and makes the customer happy. As my mother used to say, “You’re either part of the problem or part of the solution.” (By the way, as a rule of thumb, the company with the largest market capitalization is the one at fault.)
5. Don’t finger the pointer. Great customer service companies don’t shoot the messenger. When it comes to customer service, it could be a customer, an employee, a vendor, or a consultant who’s doing the pointing. The goal is not to silence the messenger, but to fix the problem that the messenger brought so that other customers don’t have a bad experience.
6. Don’t be paranoid. One of the most common justifications for anti-service is “What if everyone did this?” For example, what if everyone bought a new wardrobe when we lost their luggage? Or, to cite the often-told, perhaps apocryphal, story of a customer returning a tire to Nordstrom even though everyone knows Nordstrom doesn’t sell tires, what if everyone started returning tires to Nordstrom? The point is: Don’t assume that the worst case is going to be the common case. There will be outlier abusers, yes, but generally people are reasonable. If you put in a policy to take care of the worst case, bad people, it will antagonize and insult the bulk of your customers.
7. Hire the right kind of people. To put it mildly, customer service is not a job for everyone. The ideal customer service person derives great satisfaction by helping people and solving problems. This cannot be said of every job candidate. It’s the company’s responsibility to hire the right kind of people for this job because it can be a bad experience for the employee and the customer when you hire folks without a service orientation.
8. Under promise and over deliver. The goal is to delight a customer. For example, the signs in the lines at Disneyland that tell you how long you’ll have to wait from each point are purposely over-stated. When you get to the ride in less time, you’re delighted. Imagine if the signs were understated–you’d be angry because Disneyland lied to you.
9. Integrate customer service into the mainstream. Let’s see: sales makes the big bucks. Marketing does the fun stuff. Engineers, well, you leave them alone in their dark caves. Accounting cuts the paychecks. And support? Do to the dirty work of talking to pissed off customers when nothing else works. Herein lies the problem: customer service has as much to do with a company’s reputation as sales, marketing, engineering, and finance. So integrate customer service into the mainstream of the company and do not consider it profit-sucking necessary evil. A customer service hero deserves all the accolades that a sales, marketing, or engineering one does.
10. Put it all together. To put several recommendations in action, suppose a part breaks in the gizmo that a customer bought from you. First, take responsibility: “I’m sorry that it broke.” Second, don’t point the finger–that is, don’t say, “We buy that part from a supplier.” Third, put the customer in control: “When would like the replacement by?” Fourth, under promise and over deliver: Send it at no additional charge via a faster shipping method than necessary. That’s the way to create legendary customer service.
Via – How to change the World
Filed under: Customer Service | Leave a Comment
These days, many web workers are upgrading to more powerful handheld mobile devices — PDA, smartphone, Internet tablet, ultra-mobile PC — and they never seem to stop fiddling with them. From checking email to reading RSS feeds to doing IM or Twitter, the mobile worker is always connected.
But not always productive.
Despite the popular thinking that being always connected and always doing email makes you more productive, the truth is that productivity drops if you allow yourself to be at the mercy of every little ping, ding or beep from your mobile device. Interruptions cost productivity, and constantly answering the requests of others means that the important tasks you want to accomplish today don’t get done.
Not only that, but you start to lose your life if you’re a slave to your mobile device. There are times when it’s best to actually be present, to talk to those you’re with, to experience the real world, and to stop stressing about email or other demands on your attention.
That said, there are ways you can use your mobile device to be more productive — and still have a life. Here are just 10:
1. Disconnect! The first rule to becoming productive with your mobile device is to turn off its connectivity, most of the time. If you’re connected all the time, the temptation to do email or chat or check out various websites (you know which ones they are) is just too strong. Download what you need, and disconnect. When you’re on the road, it’s best to focus on what you’re doing. When you have some free time, it’s best to use the mobile device for one of the following functions. Instead of being interrupted all the time and being at the mercy of email, set 2-3 periods a day where you do email — and that’s best done with a full-fledged keyboard, where you can quickly crank out the replies. So use your mobile device for its handy on-the-go tools as well as being more productive by focusing on more important tasks than email or IM — like those projects that are overdue.
2. Ubiquitous capture. If you’re a fan of GTD, you know about ubiquitous capture — the concept that you should write down any ideas or tasks that come to your mind, right away, instead of relying on your brain to remember them and wasting precious brain CPU cycles on trying to remember everything while also trying to focus on the task at hand. So write stuff down, wherever you are — either in a notebook, or voila! Your mobile device. Use it to capture every thought, every task, every goal or dream or kid’s recital. Get into this habit of noting it immediately, and you’ll never forget anything again.
3. On-the-go to-dos. If you keep your to-do list(s) on the computer, it can be a hassle to print them out before you leave home or the office. Instead, keep your to-dos on your mobile device, so you can have your errands and shopping list on the go. And even more importantly, keep a 3-item to-do list of the most important tasks you want to accomplish today, in case you need to do them on the go — then focus on those tasks, not email or other interruptions, if you do decide to work on the road.
4. Offline reading. I don’t recommend that you keep your RSS reader connected all the time, notifying you of when new posts come in. However, if you download all your RSS feeds and then disconnect, you can do some off-line reading when you have some spare time, like while waiting in line at the DMV. Even better, download an e-book and do some quality reading. Now you won’t feel like exploding by the time you get to the front of the line.
5. Keep calendar, contacts, lists up to date. This is related to ubiquitous capture, but it’s a hassle to go back to your office and have to enter in all kinds of phone numbers, email addresses, appointments — and let’s face it, most of the time we’ll never get to entering that stuff at all. Use your mobile device to keep your information up to date, when you get the info, and the data entry periods will be kept to a minimum. Now you have no excuse not to make that dentist’s appointment.
6. Project management. Now we come to the real productive stuff — the important tasks you should be doing instead of checking email. Plan your projects with your mobile device, outlining what needs to be done, by whom, and by when. If you’ve got spare time on the road, this can be an extremely productive use of your time.
7. Project research. This is perhaps one of the only times when connecting to the Internet while on the go is productive. If you’re working on a project and need to do some research, or perhaps just pull off a link or a fact to insert into your project, connect quickly with your device, get what you need, and get off. Don’t go to Digg or your favorite forum or social site, and don’t check email! Stay focused.
8. Brainstorm, outline, prep. More project work. On the road is one of the best times to come up with ideas, brainstorm, outline, or otherwise prep for a project. Being on the move gets your blood circulating and the creative juices flowing — take advantage of that and come up with ideas and other ways to move your project forward. Write them down and organize them on your mobile device.
9. Edit and write. Many mobile devices aren’t the best ways to write. But if you want to do some editing, they’ll do just fine. And if you’re seized by sudden inspiration, it’s best to write it down, while you remember. Some of your best snippets of writing can be done on the mobile device.
10. Set boundaries. All of this productive work is well and good, but it’s not healthy to be working all the time, wherever you go. Set times to work, and times to relax, and don’t cross the boundaries. For example, if you have a family at home, when you go home, be with them. Don’t use your mobile device at the table, on the couch, at a restaurant. Use it when you have down time where you can’t do anything but wait, or do it if you aren’t with anyone and it’s work time, but when it’s personal time, disconnect, put the device away, and relax.
Filed under: Gadgets, personal productivity, Smartphone | 1 Comment