Free Toolkit for College Students

Alex Gutierrez
5 min readNov 2, 2021

One of my biggest challenges in college was the amount of work — it was a big change from high school, and standards were much higher. Finding the right work-school-life balance was tough and I wish I knew about these free student tools when I started my academic career; they helped me save a lot of time, money, and headaches.

There are many great free student apps and student resources available online. Some of my favorite picks for school work include: Notion, a “block” based workspace with inline word processing, spreadsheets, and more. Google Drive, a free cloud storage that comes with other apps you can access from any device such as a) Docs — word processor, b) Sheets — spreadsheets, and c) Presentations. Through Evernote, you can search public notes for your classes to fix any blindspots in your own notes.

Student Apps

There are many great databases and journals to do research for student projects. College and university libraries often provide premium databases and journals to their students through a .edu email. These are typically available through your university library portal.

For a short list of free databases, try Google Scholar, Proquest, JSTOR, etc. to help you get started researching peer reviewed sources to cite in your papers, homework, and class discussions.

Databases and Journals for Research

Books can be expensive. As an undergraduate, I took classes at Cornell University, Colorado University, and George Washington University. Each of these schools had outrageous book prices each semester.

By putting in a little more time to find student books for free, I saved between $1000–2000 per semester. I loved Project Gutenberg, and Library Genesis which helped me save thousands of dollars with thousands of free ebooks.

Looking for used textbooks is another alternative to save money as a student, and more than once, the savings from using free books and used textbooks gave me flexibility: I could afford a night out with friends and I even had an emergency fund so I could even afford to fix a flat tire.

Find free books or used

Good student finances are one of the best criteria to predict graduation. Mint is an amazing tool that will automatically give you a breakdown of your budget. Mint does this by tagging your spending into gas, food, utility, and other categories. This can help you adjust your spending to match your goals and you can even set notifications as you are approaching your desired spending limits.

According to the 2020 Census, 1/3 university and college students who qualified for federal student aid, didn’t apply for it. Federal student aid programs, scholarships, and student loans can all help fix any gaps in your student budget.

Student Budgets, Student Aid, and Student Scholarships

Graphing calculators are expensive and out of date. These days, laptops and cellphones are way more powerful. You can use online graphing calculators and math solvers to save money and even check your work.

If you don’t understand a math problem, math solvers can even help you find the right answers. Plug in a formula into its search bar, and the math solver will act like your own personal math tutor with step by step instructions.

Graphing Calculators and Math Solvers

Never stop learning. There are hundreds of free university level classes. Check in with the registrar at your institution to understand how you can get credit towards your degree with some of these free online courses.

If they qualify for credits, you can use these classes as free credit hours towards your major or minor. This can help university students save a lot of money!

Staying organized in school was tough. All my professors used different tools for their classes. Some professors used the student portal, others used, canvass, and lastly some used their emails to give us updates.

Project managers can help you stay on top of the moving parts to succeed in a semester when you use them as a student planner. Pair a good project manager with more student tools to go above and beyond.

Read How this little-known browser extension saved me in college:

KnowledgeOS Dashboard

KnowledgeOS is a bookmark manager and a tab manager rolled into one. This lets you create awesome dashboards for projects, classes, and more. These social dashboards can be used to find and share bookmarks, links, and resources. With KnowledgeOS share, export, and bookmark the links and resources you needed regardless of which app your professors and classmates use.

KnowledgeOS bookmarks

The full list of free tools for students is available on the KnowledgeOS app and includes hundreds of useful resources for college students. To request more resources, contact alexdgutierreza@gmail.com

KnowledgeOS clean tabs

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Alex Gutierrez

Never stop learning and growing. Music Lover, Yoga Do-er, and Dog Dad!