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13 Useful Websites That Every College Student Should Not Miss

13 Useful Websites That Every College Student Should Not Miss

We’ve all been there. A seemingly endless number of lessons, textbook readings, homework assignments, essays, research papers, and those dreaded final exams. Most times, you have the willpower, and possibly, the motivation to get it all done and make a decent grade. But you lack that one tool that could help you find the information you need to give your assignment that extra punch. Well, worry no more. Your school semester can get off to a great start with these helpful free resources.

1. Roger Hub

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    When it comes to final exam time, you’ll want to know what you need to get in order to have a certain grade point average. Roger Hub is your answer. Whether your professor uses points, weighting, or percentages, you can figure out what your final grade will be beforehand.

    2. Bibme

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      Professors seem to always want writing assignments in certain formats and different citations and bibliographies for certain types of papers. If you’re taking multiple classes at once, it can be difficult to keep up with which format goes where. Whatever format it is, BibMe helps to put your sources in the right format.

      3. Grammarly

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        It’s annoying when you have a great paper, but your grammar is sub par. Improve your writing — spelling, grammar, sentence structure, and tense usage — with Grammarly. With their app, you can check your paper from your browser or from Microsoft Word. Be confident when you submit your work that it is error-free.

        4. Tutor.com

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          Need a tutor? Tutor.com offers 24/7 tutoring in over 40 different subjects. Get a tutor — day or night — in math, science, computer science, social studies, and English subjects. Additionally, tutors are available to help SAT test prep and advanced courses. Tutors go through an extended interview process and are fully equipped to help students in specific subjects. (Personal note: I passed college algebra with the help of one of their amazing tutors.)

          5. InternMatch

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            Ten million students launched their careers on InternMatch. You could too. InternMatch allows you to find internships and entry-level jobs that match up with your interests, location, skill set, and availability. One thing I would suggest adding to this site however is a listing for remote or online jobs.

            6. Rate My Professor

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              This is a college professor rating and review website. All ratings and reviews are done by students so feel free to praise your good ones and critique your bad ones. Additionally, you can find out about future professors you may have before you even get to their class.

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              7. Quizlet

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                Quizlet is a flashcard/study guide website. Anyone can create flashcards for any subject, but generally, you will find flashcards for nearly every subject you’ll ever take. (Personal note: I passed a class with the help of their flashcards.) You can also take practice tests and play games to make learning more interactive and be able to retain more of what you learn.

                8. Student Rate

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                  This site literally gives you discounts and cash back deals on everything from clothes to dorm room supplies to travel to food just for being a student.

                  9. Khan Academy

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                    This is an excellent, free resource through which you can learn about many different subjects including: math, history, computer programming, economics, physics, chemistry, biology, and finance, among many others. Khan produces short lectures in the form of YouTube videos. This site helps you to understand tough subjects that you may not understand as well in a traditional classroom setting.

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                    10. Wolfram-Alpha

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                      Thought Google knew the answer to everything? Think again. Wolfram Alpha is a practical know-it-all engine. Essentially, it will answer your homework assignment questions for you or guide you to resources to get your questions answered. If you ask me, it’s a lifesaver.

                      11. Mint

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                        Want to keep up with your spending but don’t have a whole lot of time to sort things out? Well, there’s an app for that. Mint is an Intuit based program that helps you track your spending, make budgets, track your transactions, and even check your credit.

                        12. TED.com

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                          Ted.com is one of the most awesome sites around. Whether you’re looking for ideas for a paper, need some inspiration, or are simply constructive procrastinating, there are many valuable lessons to learn from world-class, intelligent, and successful people.

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                          13. Google Scholar

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                            Google Scholar is the best thing since, well, Google. It indexes scholarly, peer-reviewed, scholarly sources across a variety of formats and disciplines that you can use in your papers and research. It’s estimated to contain over 160 million documents so you’re bound to find what you need.

                            Bonus

                            #20 is a bonus, but, oh, so needed. Students come up with the darndest recipes.

                            StudentRecipes.com

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                              This site offers over 5000 recipes created by students for students. If you’re a foodie and a student, then you’ll love this site.

                              Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory/StokPic via stokpic.com

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                              Daniella Whyte

                              Psychology Researcher

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                              Last Updated on July 17, 2019

                              The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

                              The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

                              What happens in our heads when we set goals?

                              Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

                              Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

                              According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

                              Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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                              Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

                              Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

                              The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

                              Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

                              So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

                              Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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                              One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

                              Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

                              Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

                              The Neurology of Ownership

                              Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

                              In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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                              But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

                              This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

                              Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

                              The Upshot for Goal-Setters

                              So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

                              On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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                              It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

                              On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

                              But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

                              More About Goals Setting

                              Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

                              Reference

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