A back-to-school guide for college students

College students are heading back to school soon. Here are some online resources to help them--no matter the subject.

It's almost time for college students to head back to class. It's an exciting time for both the students and those who want to see their loved ones succeed. But doing it alone with no help from the Web doesn't make much sense nowadays.

That's why I've compiled a list of resources for students to use when they head back to college. Whether it's finding textbooks or getting help with tough subjects, every student should use at least some of these sites.

College tools

BuddySchool BuddySchool helps you find tutors that can assist you with some of your difficult class subjects.

When you get to the site, you'll need to find the class topic you're having trouble with. Once you find what you're looking for, BuddySchool lists several tutors on each subject. Those listings include a brief synopsis of the tutor's expertise, how they can help, and how much they charge for their time. If you like what you see, you can set up a time to be tutored. All payments are sent through the site to ensure the tutor is getting paid before they help. The site also features a review listing, so you can determine if other users' experiences were positive or not.

BuddySchool
BuddySchool lists several tutors for you to consider. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

CollegeClassifieds If you're looking to find some on-campus merchandise, CollegeClassifieds is for you.

As the name suggests, CollegeClassifieds provides classified listings from college students on your campus. Simply find your school, choose the listing topic you're looking for, and you're all set. You can even subscribe to each listing's RSS feed, so you don't miss when new products are added. It's a great idea, but unfortunately, not too many colleges are listing products. That said, larger schools tend to have more listings. Your mileage may vary.

CollegeClassifieds
CollegeClassifieds features several listings on its site. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

GradeFix If you're having trouble optimizing the amount of time you're spending on homework, GradeFix is the place to be.

After you sign up for GradeFix, you're asked to input all the classes you're currently taking. Upon doing so, the site lets you add all the assignments you have yet to complete. Based on the work you need to perform, when it's due, and how long you estimate it will take to complete it, GradeFix charts your homework schedule until it's complete. You can also tell the site when you have tests, so it can help you determine when to study for exams. It's a great time-management tool. My only complaint is that it's not easy to tweak your homework settings. And if you have more than seven tasks, you'll need to get the paid plan, which will set you back $5 per month.

GradeFix
GradeFix helps you chart your homework schedule. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Half.com eBay's Half.com is a great place for students to find textbooks. The site allows students who already completed a class to sell their books. Students entering those same classes can buy them from those students at a discounted price.

I was genuinely impressed by the sheer number of textbooks Half.com lists on its site. From accounting to literature, the site has just about anything students might be looking for. Its search function works well. The site's design makes finding textbooks quick and easy. And since all the textbooks listed on the site are categorized based on their condition, students can choose just how much they're willing to pay for that psychology textbook. It's a great service.

Half.com
Half.com features some nicely discounted textbooks. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

NoteMesh NoteMesh is a great way to collaborate with other classmates on notes.

To sign up for NoteMesh, you'll need to have a college e-mail address. After you sign up, you can immediately start adding your classes to the site. In some cases, classes are already available for particular schools. If your class isn't yet included in the database, you can quickly add it to NoteMesh. From there, it walks you through five steps to take notes in your class. Classmates can then look at your notes, modify them as they see fit, or add items to the notes you might have missed. Of course, NoteMesh requires you to have a laptop in class. If you do, it's a fine collaborative tool to try out.

NoteMesh
NoteMesh will help you collaborate with friends on notes. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

TuitionCoach TuitionCoach is a resource for any college student who might be concerned about paying for college.

When you get to the site, you can immediately input your personal, non-identifiable financial information. It asks how many people live in your home, what your household income is, and more. It then calculates an estimate of what you'll likely be asked to pay out of your own pocket for college. Once you figure it out, you can use TuitionCoach to help you find special grants or loans you might qualify for to reduce your attendance cost. I wasn't able to dig too deep into its savings methods (it asked for school information that I obviously don't have), but it looks like it might be a handy tool worth checking out.

TuitionCoach
TuitionCoach asks you to input your personal financial information. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Tutorz Tutorz is a site that's designed to help you with difficult subjects.

Unlike BuddySchool, Tutorz has an extremely simple, nice design to help you find local tutors. Simply input the class you're looking for help with followed by your ZIP code. The site will then list tutors living in your area. They also tell you how much their service costs. The site has several tutors. You'll find someone to help you in just about any location, regardless of how close you are to a major metro area. If you like what you see, you can contact the tutor from the page. Tutorz is simple and convenient.

Tutorz
Tutorz will help you find tutors on a variety of subjects. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

My top 3

1. NoteMesh: Collaborating on notes is quite appealing with NoteMesh.

2. Tutorz: Finding a tutor to help you with any class is best done with the help of Tutorz.

3. GradeFix: If you need help managing your time, GradeFix is the site for you.

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About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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