Free! College Software Guide

There is one thing college students don’t need when it comes to their software: another expense. With books, tuition and the million other expenses that come with going to college, the last thing you should have to pay for is some decent software.

Thankfully, there are many great free options to load up your computer with. While these might not be everyone’s personal preferences for the best free software for College students, I think that most people will find everything on this list useful, and being that the price is “free”, there is high value in all of this software.

OpenOffice.org

For those of you that can’t afford to pay the premium price in purchasing Microsoft Office, even with a generous student discount, you’ll want to look at OpenOffice.org. It is a free piece of software that works on any operating system, and includes access to software to write documents, create spreadsheets, presentations, and more.

For those of you using NeoOffice or other productivity software on your Apple Mac computers, you’ll now be happy to know that OpenOffice.org runs natively on Mac OS X, meaning that there is no need to load that strange X11 emulation software thus increasing the usability and usefulness of OpenOffice.org.

It also reads and writes Microsoft Office formats, meaning it is perfect for opening documents from school, or sending essays to your professors.

Download at OpenOffice.org.

GIMP

Don’t want to buy or use Photoshop illegally? No problem. GIMP is freely distributed image manipulation software that runs on all major operating systems (though with Macs you’ll need to install X11 emulation). GIMP is great for creating graphics and logos, photo tweaking, creating animated GIFs, etc.

While installing and running GIMP on Windows and Mac OSX are not as straightforward and easy as you may be used to, there are plenty of online tutorials that should make the process painless.

Download at GIMP.

Adium & Pidgin

If you have friends on MSN, Yahoo, AIM, and Google, you’ll want to find one piece of software to easily manage your conversations with all of them, and Adium and Pidgin will allow you to do that.

Both pieces of software allow you to combine your collection of friends and family into one long list, making it easy to communicate. Of course, you’ll be missing certain features that native applications have, like Google Talk’s video chat, but being able to be organized, and using fast and light pieces of software are worth any trade offs.

The choice on which multi-client instant messaging software to use is yours, and it really comes down to personal needs and tastes as well as which operating system you use. Adium is only for Mac OS X, while Pidgin works on nearly all operating systems. If you have a Mac though, both are free so give them both a try and stick with your favorite.

Download Pidgin and/or Adium.

Octave

Think Matlab is way overpriced? So do we. The good news is that there is a solid free replacement called Octave. Almost everything that can be done in Matlab can be done in Octave. Plus, if you used to have to go to a special computer lab to do your Matlab work, now you can do it on your own computer.

Just like Matlab, Octave is an ultra high-level programming language that is used to solve mathematical problems and plot their solutions. The nice thing about Octave is that it is modular and can easily be expanded to perform additional functions.

Download at GNU Octave.

Eclipse

For those of you who are computer science majors or just taking a few computer programming courses (which is becoming more and more common, especially for science majors) the good news is that you don’t have to buy an uber expensive C++ IDE package like Visual Studio. Instead, Eclipse gives you an amazing, fully featured development platform with all the plugins you could possibly want. Plus, Eclipse runs on Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux.

Download at Eclipse.org.

iTunes

Listen to music? Want to be able to download movies, television shows, podcasts, and your favorite songs? Well, iTunes pretty much corners the market when it comes to legal downloadable media and the software is free.

For students on a budget, the myriad of video and audio podcasts available for free on nearly any topic or interest is a great way to pass the time, and iTunes has a radio section that allows you to listen to an unlimited amount of streaming music on hundreds of different stations.

Download iTunes from Apple.

Firefox

If you are still browsing the web on Internet Explorer, then you need to get with the program. There are many other web browsers out there that are better, faster, more secure and easier to use than Internet Explorer. One of the best is Firefox.

Not only is it faster but it allows for extensions. Extensions allow you to add features to your web browsing experience, from adding the weather and your e-mail count to always display on the browser, to being able to look at the code of a website easily, there are a million different things extensions can do to make Firefox even better than it is “out of the box.”

Download Mozilla Firefox.

VLC

Trying to play video formats, and having issues? Check out VLC. An amazingly lightweight piece of free software that plays nearly any video that you ask it to. It can be used to play DVD movies as well.

It also is available for nearly any operating system, making it a great choice for everyone.

Download VLC.

Skype

If you are away from your family, or don’t want to pay crazy prices for a home phone line, take a look at Skype’s offerings. One of the highest quality voice over the Internet services available Skype has many great advantages over getting a traditional phone line in your dorm or apartment, and is easy to use.

Also, if your family and friends get Skype on their computers, you can have free chat, audio or even video conversations with your family and friends.

You can even purchase phone numbers through Skype so that people that don’t have Skype can call you. And if you buy SkypeOut credits, or service you can call regular phones from your your Skype account. Many people use this as a cheap long distance service, especially for overseas calling.

Download Skype.

Last.fm

Want another great way to listen to music, especially if you don’t know exactly which songs to buy or download, check out Last.fm.

Last.fm lets you create “stations” based on your search preferences, from things as simple as “alternative” to listing your favorite bands and having it try to find others that you may enjoy as well.

It is free, and totally worth using for parties and events where you want a wide variety of music.

Download Last.fm.

Vuze

Understand BitTorrent? Then you’ll want to get Vuze, a great way of managing torrent files in an easy to understand way. This will allow you to download movie trailers, open source software, and videos from sites like Revision3.com.

Vuze rounds out my list of the top free College software.

Download Vuze today.

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Free! 100 Best iPhone Apps for Students

“College students today are swamped with social calendars, budgeting nightmares, job searching, party planning, sports, study abroad, food shopping, and of course, studying. On top of everything, students need to stay extremely organized if they want to keep up with classes and maintain a little sanity. Our list of 100 best free iPhone apps for college students can help you do it all, including reviewing for tests, storing your notes, sharing grocery lists with roommates, staying healthy, mixing drinks, getting a date and graduating on time.

Study Help

These language tutors, flash card packs, and art history resources will help you with last minute cramming and consistent vocabulary practice wherever you go.

  1. Sparky: Sparky lets you browse SparkNotes easily on your iPhone.
  2. Mathemagics Lite: Use this tool to figure out squares, complicated multiplication problems and more.
  3. Free Spanish Tutor: This tutor features native speaker audio, puzzle games, multiple choice quizzes, and more.
  4. USA Presidents: Review names, numbers, dates, political parties and other facts about the U.S. presidents when you have these virtual flash cards.
  5. History: Maps of the World: Find detailed maps of Africa, Europe, Asia, the U.S., the Middle East and more.
  6. Word of the Day Lite: Expand your vocabulary with this app.
  7. Art Lite: Study the histories, works and significance of artists like Leonardo da Vinci, van Gogh, Cezanne and more.
  8. Brain Tutor 3D: Anatomy and pre-med students can study the brain terms and more with this app.
  9. planetFacts: Find out mass, diameter, orbiting speed and other information for the planets.
  10. Free French Word of the Day: Practice your French with this app.
  11. StudySets – Psychology Lite: Psych students will appreciate this bundle of psychology learning resources.
  12. Vocabolistic: Look up words or hide the definition to quiz yourself with Vocabolistic.
  13. Answers: powered by Yahoo! Answers: This app opens your iPhone to the Yahoo! Answers portal so that you can ask questions about anything.
  14. Pocket Lawyer Lite: Law and political science students can use this real-life law reference as a study tool, too.
  15. gFlash + Flashcards and Tests: Create your own flashcards and share them with study partners.

Staying Current

Keep up with the news stories that affect your time at school and relate to your classes.

  1. NYTimes: Get your news from the New York Times online for free.
  2. BBC Reader: Keep up with the top stories in Europe and globally with this app.
  3. HuffingtonPost.com: Access the authoritative, but sometimes snarky, stories from the Huffington Post.
  4. NPR Addict: Do your homework before class or talking with professors by getting your news from NPR.
  5. Variety: Stay current on entertainment news with Variety’s app.

Classifieds

Look up apartments and more with these tools.

  1. Apartments by ForRent.com: Look up apartments to rent in your college town here.
  2. CraigSearch v1.0: Search Craigslist from your iPhone. Includes standard search options.
  3. Apartments: Apartment guide’s app will help you locate properties in your area.

Shopping Deals

Save money when you find coupons and deals on books.

  1. Yowza: This app uses GPS to find coupons for stores in your area.
  2. Dial Zero: Get connected to customer service lines for credit cards, health insurance companies and more.
  3. Book Bargain: Find deals on books from Amazon and other online stores.
  4. Flashlight: Turn your iPhone into a flashlight that shines white, red, green or blue light.
  5. Relax Alarm Clock Lite: Wake up on time to soothing guitar music, the sound of birds, bamboo flute music, and other options. This app also lulls you to sleep for a quick nap.
  6. iHourglass Free: Time practices tests, study breaks and more with this tool.
  7. TouchCloset: Keep your closet organized on your phone by cataloging photos and shopping lists and picking out your party clothes ahead of time even when you’re away from home.

Local Guides

Learn more about your college city or the town you’re visiting with these tools.

  1. Pizza!: Find the closest, cheapest pizza near you.
  2. Free Wi-Fi finder: Use this tool to find places you can bring your laptop to study.
  3. FastFood – Top Restaurant Finder: This fast food directory will connect you to cheap, satisfying food quickly.
  4. Have2P: Find nearby restrooms and flag businesses that do not have open restrooms.
  5. Fandango: Find local movies and tickets here.
  6. iRecycle: Find local recycling stations here.
  7. WhosAround: Use WhosAround to find friends who are in the same area as you. Supports messaging, profile photos and more.
  8. Local Concerts: Find out when and where your favorite bands are going to play with this free app.
  9. Local Picks by TripAdvisor: USe this app when traveling or if you live in a popular vacation destination. You can look up restaurants, bars, and other spots that are favorites for the locals.
  10. Slifter Local Shopping: Use this app to look up stores that carry whatever it is that you’re searching for.

Partying and Social

This list of free apps has everything you need to be the life of the party at college.

  1. Drunk-Dial: Spin the dial on your app to get free drink recipes.
  2. Who Called?: If a phone number doesn’t pop up when someone calls you, do a reverse lookup and find out what the caller wanted with you.
  3. Love Poem Generator: Prove to your date that college guys can be romantic when you use this tool.
  4. Birthday Notification: Rely on this tool to keep track of all of your college friends’ birthdays.
  5. Drinking Games Free: Look up drinking games to play at your next party.
  6. Spin the Coke: This version of Spin the Bottle involves a Coca-Cola bottle.
  7. a.k.a. Your Favorite Name Generator: Come up with fake names for theme parties and more.
  8. 5800+ Drink and Cocktail Recipes Free: Never get bored with mixing drinks when you have this directory of cocktail recipes.
  9. Beer Brands: Catalog your favorite beer brands and keep up with microbreweries and emerging brands.
  10. Hello Vino – Wine Pairing Guide: Impress your guests by making appropriate wine and food pairings.
  11. Perfect Date: This guide to the perfect date helps you with conversation and more.

Reference

Keep these reference tools close so that you’re prepared to discuss constellations, the periodic table, or world facts.

  1. USA Factbook Free: This reference packet is great for anyone in a civics, history or political science course that covers the U.S. Access key documents, lists of the flags, state capitals and other stats.
  2. Stars: Anatomy students can use this tool as a resource when studying constellations.
  3. The Chemical Tough: Lite Edition: View the periodic table when you download this free app.
  4. Formulas Free: This app brings you free calculus formulas.
  5. iQuotations: Look up quotes to use in papers or just as general inspiration.
  6. Math Ref Free: Get free reference packs for geometry, algebra, trig, derivatives and more.
  7. AllTheCountries: Get facts about literacy rate, economy, population, area and more for every country.
  8. Your Rights: Use this app for political science courses or just as backup when you get into trouble at school.
  9. iTranslator: Study abroad students and panicked foreign language students can use this tool to connect to Google Translator, Babel Fish or Free Translation.
  10. Quickpedia Lite: This app makes it easier and faster to use Wikipedia.

Games and Quizzes

Prepare for the GMAT or your next Xbox championship tournament here.

  1. GMAT Practice Quiz: Use your iPhone to study for the GMAT when you use this tool.
  2. Xbox Achievement Guide: Become the ultimate Xbox champion on your hall when you have this tool.

GPS

Find your way around town with these valuable GPS apps.

  1. GasBag: Find the cheapest gas nearest your location.
  2. Take Me Home, I’m Lost!: If you’re too new in town or just too confused, use this app to find your way back home.

Health and Fitness

In college, it’s easy to forget about your health. These free apps will help you eat right and find the time to exercise.

  1. Restaurant Nutrition: Make healthier decisions even when your friends want to eat out.
  2. Stress Reducer: Listen to the ocean through a virtual shell to relieve stress.
  3. Am I Pregnant Quiz: This pregnancy quiz is currently free and could save your sanity.
  4. Natural Cures: Try these natural cures if you’re too broke to go to the doctor.
  5. iMapMyRun: Track your runs, including pace, location, speed and overall progress.
  6. Sleep Diary: This app helps you get back on a normal, healthy sleep schedule.

Organization

Stay organize with these tools, which help you manage task lists, homework, shopping, errands and more.

  1. myHomework: View your homework lists, project task sheet, test schedule and more with this organizer.
  2. Blackboard Learn<: Access your school’s Blackboard system from your iPhone with this app.
  3. Evernote: Take picture, text and audio notes that are searchable with Evernote.
  4. AppGmail: Quickly access your Gmail account and view it as a wider display with this app.
  5. ShopShop: Keep a running shopping list that tracks your purchases and marks them off.
  6. Smart ToDo: Manage a to-do list with notes and due dates with this app.
  7. To Do’s: This app lets you customize your to-do list according to priority level, ordering and more.
  8. A Personal Assistant: This free organizes your accounts, including online shopping, banking, Netflix and more. It also tracks cell phone minutes, frequent flyer miles, travel itineraries and more.
  9. Organizer Lite: View several organizers in a single, streamlined display with this app. You can manage a calendar, birthdays, appointments, contacts and more.
  10. mySticky Lite: This iPhone version of Mac’s sticky notes let you tack reminders and lists over a virtual bulletin board.

Search

Let your iPhone guide you in general searches, job hunts and more.

  1. Inquisitor: This super fast search tool also makes suggestions for your searches.
  2. Last.fm: Search music, artists and more with Last.fm for the iPhone.
  3. Repairpal: This app will help you find auto repair shop and support.
  4. Job Search: Indeed.com’s search application lets you find jobs by location and job description.

Miscellaneous

This list of free iPhone apps includes laundry guides, an ebook library, recipe guides and plenty more tools to make your life at college more exciting and organized.

  1. MyGPA Calculator: Calculate your GPA per semester and cumulatively.
  2. BookShelfLT: Check out ebooks for your iPhone.
  3. Salsa: Practice for your ballroom dance class or for a night out.
  4. Laundry Pro Free: Look up North American and European laundry symbols and figure out how to care for your different garments.
  5. wikiHow: How to and DIY Survival Kit: Survive anything, including a hotel fire, long fall and nuclear attack, when you download this pack.
  6. Guitar Tuner: Use Guitar Tuner to tweak your guitar and get ready for gigs on campus.
  7. Intelliremote: Control your home theater that runs Windows with your iPhone.
  8. Free Driver’s Ed: Students practicing for the driving test can review topics and questions here.
  9. F-MyLife: This popular tool lets you commiserate with others who’ve had a bad day on F-MyLife.
  10. Allrecipes.com Dinner Spinner: Get ideas for cheap, healthy and/or comfort food meals.
  11. Hairstyle Lite: Instead of paying for an expensive visit to the salon, try out a new hairstyle by using this free app.
  12. iWrecked – Auto Accident Assistant: Log details from your car accident, call for help, take photos of the accident, and more.
  13. College Football Live!: Keep up with all the stats, scores and more for college football.”

-courtesy Best Universities