You’ve managed to make it to senior year, so chances are you have a good system down for studying and keeping organized. Bravo! But, as you’ve heard time and time again, “College is not like high school.” Writing papers, completing projects, and studying for exams in college is “a whole new ballgame.” On top of that, it’s easier to get distracted, because it’s so much fun!
Here are a few study tools every senior in high school can start using to prepare for the future.
A Tool to Keep You on Track
Right now, there’s a lot coming at you each day: student activities, classes, sports, college apps, prom, graduation. You need an effective way to manage it all and make sure that nothing slips through the cracks. Lucky for you, such tools exist!
There are many free to-do list and project management tracking apps available online. Our favorite? Todoist. It lets you manage tasks and projects from your computer or smartphone. You can sync with your calendar, set-up alerts, and even add people to collaborate as a team–hello, group projects!
A Tool to Block Out Distractions
Distractions are disruptive and destructive. We don’t have to remind you about the notifications we’re all inundated with on a daily basis. Using one of these tools can help you study for tests and complete your assignments on time. For Mac users, there’s Hey Focus, while FocusMe works on Macs, PCs, and phones.
What do they do exactly? Well, they allow you to set up your list of distracting websites you don’t need for school. (Twitter, Netflix, reddit – you know which ones can cause your downfall.) Once you have your list, you can go into focus mode for a set amount of time and the apps will block you from accessing distracting sites. They are pretty powerful, too.
Note: both recommendations have a free trial, but they are not free programs. Check the websites for a student discount!
You can also try using the Pomodoro Method, named for the famous tomato-shaped kitchen timers. With the Pomodoro Method, you commit to focusing on a task for 25 minutes, no distractions. Then you get a five-minute break. After going through 4 rounds, you’re allowed a longer, fifteen-minute break. Productivity soars when you break up big projects into 25-minute blocks. You’ll run through multiple rounds, aka Pomodoros, in what feels like no time. There are multiple free apps for this (explore options here), or you can decide to purchase an old-fashioned tomato timer from Amazon.
A Tool for Organizing Notes & Files
Information overload: you think you know, but you have no idea. If you feel overwhelmed by information, notes, docs, and files now, it’s time to change your organizational system. These types of tools have been around for awhile now, and they are constantly improving.
And now, with “the cloud”, it’s even easier to stay organized across devices and keep your work safe. We took some notes on two great options for you:
- Great for taking notes in class via computer, phone, or tablet. Your notes sync across all devices.
- Enhance your notes with links, checklists, tables, attachments, and audio recordings.
- Divide subjects into Notebooks.
- Easily share information with classmates, either in read-only or collaborative formats.
- It’s like Microsoft, only it’s not Microsoft! Create docs in multiple formats: documents, sheets, slides, forms, etc.
- Automatically save your work as you go with the ability to access the entire revision history.
- Use templates to create presentations and projects.
- Organize your work in folders.
- Easily share work with anyone.
- Instantly add email attachments to your Google Drive.
A Tool To Help You Get in the Zone
Music certainly helps many students get in the zone while studying or working on assignments. But, today’s Top 40 is not always the best tool to have with you when you hit the books. Enter: Brain.fm, an app that produces music designed to help listeners focus, relax, meditate, even sleep. According to studies, the channel successfully boosts attention and reduces mind wandering. Start with a free trial of Brain.fm to make sure that music is a good fit for you.
A Tool That Helps You Get to College
Bonus: we’ve got two tools that will help you along the way on your journey to college. As a senior, you’re going to need both of these.
First up, the Essential Checklist for Completing the FAFSA. It’s a no-hassle, jargon-free checklist that will walk you through all the buzzwords, what you’ll need for yourself and your parents, and how to answer the most common tricky questions. Get this here.
And finally, the Complete College Cost Calculator (say that one four times fast!) This easy-to-use fillable PDF form shows you how to zero in on the “net cost” of each school you are considering. From here you can make a true side-by-side comparison of your top choices. Download this today.