Four useful sites for college students

Universities are back in full swing and we have some sites students might want to check out while sitting in their dorm.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor 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.
Don Reisinger
4 min read

Now that the winter break is over, college students are inundated with work and need to worry again about classes, studying, and tests. So, of course, they'll spend time on Facebook instead. But there are other useful and entertaining sites worth the student's visit.

This is a brief list of four outstanding resources that can help students in college. No student should miss the opportunity to use these sites.

If Facebook isn't good enough for college students, they can try out DormNoise, which is another social network designed specifically for them.

DormNoise is centered on a calendar system, which provides students with a visual look at upcoming campus events, student group meetings, and personal engagements. That calendar is the central hub for the site and others can see what students are up to at any time. It's a unique way to connect with others and it actually works quite well to simplify that process and keep abreast of campus events.

That said, the site isn't open for anyone to join--users must be between the ages of 18 and 24 and sign up with a ".edu" e-mail address. If the school is not recognized by the system, you can't sign up for the service. In fact, my alma mater isn't supported by DormNoise. DormNoise should eventually support every school. We hope.

Once I finally signed up for DormNoise with a different address, I found it to be a unique service that will help college students manage their lives. But there's one catch that can't be overlooked: the community is small, which means few people find reason to use it instead of a site like Facebook.

RateMyProfessors is not only one of the best resources for college students, it's also one of the best sites to browse when you want to get away from work for a while.

As you might expect from its name, RateMyProfessors is a site that allows college students to rate their professors, who are measured based on their instruction clarity, class difficulty, and how "hot" they are. The professors are generally evaluated on 0 to 5 scale with 5 being ideal.

When I went to the site, I immediately started looking up all my old professors from college and I was astounded by how many professors were included and how spot on the evaluations were. One of my professors whose class was easily the most difficult I ever took had an "ease" rating of 1.3 and most of the students commented that others should stay away from him at all costs. I couldn't agree more.

Picking classes for the next semester is one of the most stressful times of the year for college students and finding good professors is paramount. What better way to do that than with the help of RateMyProfessors? It's ideal.

College students are usually low on cash and they do everything they can to cut a few corners and save money wherever possible. And one of the best ways to do that is with the help of TextbookRevolt.

TextbookRevolt couldn't be much easier: college students create an account and input all the textbooks they have that they want to give away. Once they do that, they can then see what other users are offering and swap textbooks with them for free by mailing the textbooks to each other.

When I logged in to the site, there were hundreds of textbooks floating back and forth and according to its own counter, the site has saved students over $31,000 as of this writing. And although I didn't order any textbooks myself or swap them with anyone else, it seems easy enough and quite a nice way to save some cash.

OK, so maybe CollegeHumor isn't what the average college student's parent would want them to frequent, but I think it's an ideal site for students who just need to get away from the stress of work.

If you've never visited CollegeHumor, you owe it to yourself to take some time out of your day and check it out. Although the site features comedy videos that are specifically targeted at college-aged students, they're funny and enjoyable for anyone.

When I started browsing CollegeHumor's huge library, I was amazed by the sheer number of entertaining clips the site offers. One of its main attractions is its "Jake and Amir" series, which has been running for well over a year. The show follows Jake and Amir as they get themselves (or each other) into trouble. It's not "Seinfeld" or "30 Rock," but it's funny nonetheless and worth trying out.

Overall, CollegeHumor's video quality is outstanding and thanks to entertaining video, it's an ideal destination for college students who need time to get away from studying.