College students surf the web constantly. The Internet helps them to obtain the useful information needed for papers, or it provides them with a nice diversion so they can avoid doing papers. Knowing how many college students seem to be on the Internet 24-7, I started wondering what are the web sites that college students just can’t live without. I interviewed a whole slew of students, went off of past experiences, and used a bit of common sense to come up with the list. It’s not a ranking, it’s just a list. Although if it were, the obvious winner would be the first web site I’ll mention. Without further intro, here’s a list of some very important web sites for college students.
Mark Zuckerberg may have not known how great his idea was when he came up with it (or he may have known, and stolen it, but that’s up to the courts to decide). Almost every college student I’ve ever met cannot live without facebook. Some check it twice every hour; some check it even more than that. Facebook is a great way for college students to stay in touch with high school friends, meet new people, and post embarrassing photos of their friends at parties. Keep a college student away from his or her profile, and you might as well remove a limb from them. That’s how serious students are, seriously.
When it comes time to schedule classes, you may notice loads of web browsers flocking to RateMyProfessors.com. This site was yet another ingenious idea that I didn’t come up with. College students are always interested in what professors are the best, and what classes are the easiest. In fact, when I scheduled for this quarter (we’re on quarters, not semesters here, and I hate it), I scheduled two classes based on professor ratings alone. That shows you the importance of this web site. From this site, you can see how difficult the subject is, how hard they grade, and if people liked them or not. My favorite part is the “hot” ratings. Unfortunately, one man’s trash can be another man’s treasure, because I once had a professor who was supposed to be hot, and believe me, she looked worse than Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones’ Diary.
Yes, we’ve all heard that Wikipedia is very shady because anyone can edit it. That doesn’t change the fact that if one needs to turn in a paper about a topic that they don’t know anything about, they will turn to the Wikipedia Gods to help them. Some professors actually accept Wikipedia citations. So, I guess it works out for everyone. You may think I’m crazy, but if you take Wikipedia from a college student, they may just lose the cornerstone of their academic research. Now that you realize how much Wikipedia is used, don’t go vandalizing and changing facts. After all, it could affect me; I have a paper due soon.
You may think I’m crazy, and true, fewer women do check ESPN every day than men. However, it doesn’t take away from the fact that many college students love their sports, and ESPN is a great way to check everything out. During March Madness, Bowl season, and so on, ESPN gets loads of visits from college students, checking rankings, scores, schedules, and even the occasional ESPN article (which generally always contain some utter nonsense). I know when the internet at my fraternity goes out, the first place people go when it gets back on is ESPN. When Michigan was upset by the little engine that could (Appalachian State or “The Other ASU”), and where do you think college students headed to see exactly how “The Victors” got rocked in their own back yard?
College students don’t have a lot of money, but that doesn’t stop them from using the worldwide garage sale to buy games, books, and whatever else they can successfully bid on. Living in the dorms for two years showed me how many people are constantly eBaying. Packages of all shapes and sizes come in daily to students buying random stuff. The weirdest purchase I ever say was a student who bought pink slippers with huge eyes on the front. I didn’t bother asking, I was too confused.
If eBay is the garage sale, then Amazon must be the retail store. When it comes time to get books, some students will opt for eBay, but many others will go the Amazon route. Again, talking to college students and my own observations has shown me how crucial Amazon is. Last year I had a class that needed two books that were only available on Amazon. It annoyed me because I had to spend extra cash and couldn’t find a used copy. But it illustrates how important those sites are to college students.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a big hit amongst college students (although many won’t qualify for anything but a few low interest loans, but I’m not bitter). Every year around March, millions will go to the web site, enter their FAFSA PIN and start the process of applying for aid in the upcoming academic year. It’s not as enjoyable as going to facebook or ESPN.com, but it is useful (especially if you get some aid).
Yes, the university web sites are also very important to students. If the university web site goes down, then students can’t get access their webmail, check their grades, or schedule classes (of course, what students can actually do on their university’s web site varies from school to school). When you apply for college, one of the first things you do is check the university web site, and click “prospective students.” Once you’re in college, you get quite acquainted with the “current students” section.
Many parents may not find the subjects, videos, or pictures to be very amusing, but college students just can’t get enough of CollegeHumor. There’s always very amusing stories, and pictures to be viewed. I know many college students who are members (albeit many more males than females, although some females may have pictures on the site, I don’t know). It’s a very rare day indeed when I don’t get some link to a funny video. If College Humor shut down, I think campuses would be sadder places.
Much of college students’ desire to avoid boredom (or the perpetual need to procrastinate) can be accomplished via a nice little button and web site. Loads upon loads of college students stumble thumbs up the things they enjoy, and give a thumbs down to things they hate. Without StumbleUpon, papers might be completed weeks before their due date. I don’t want to see the type of world that could be created in the absence of Stumbling!
Compared to facebook, MySpace doesn’t hold a candle in the eyes of college students. However, there are still many college students who have MySpace accounts (most left over from when they were in high school). Those who do still tend to check them fairly regularly. Also, it’s a great place for college students to find out new bands and support their favorites. College students still love their music.
Logically, since eBay is popular amongst college students, then PayPal would be as well. But you don’t need logic to realize that college students are sending money everywhere on a daily basis through PayPal to purchase their various books and whatever else they might need.
That includes isohunt, torrentspy, and many others. College students are naturally poor, so they like things that are free. Getting games, videos, and CDs for free doesn’t get much easier. Again, males more commonly visit these sites than females. Also, with the RIAA cracking down (my University just had about 20 students have lawsuits brought against them), the numbers may dwindle slightly. As long as there is a fast University Internet connection, there will be plenty of pirating.
Yes, the most popular search engine is essential to the college student. Statistics show that most college students use Google. Of course, what they are searching for always varies. However, if Google were to all of a sudden fall off the map, there’d be many disappointed college students, who may have difficulty finding some last minute sources for their term paper.
Whatever your college’s news publication is, its web site will undoubtedly be popular amongst students. Ohio State’s paper is The Lantern, and thousands of students visit the online version daily to read the latest news around the University. It’s also a great way for students to comment on various stories, and sometimes deride the University administration.
Those are fifteen web sites college students can’t live without, but I’m sure there’s many more (considering I left out individual forums and sites focused on one popular topic). Who knows, College and Finance could even be on someone’s list (not likely, but there’s always hope!). So if you don’t visit any of these sites, get with the program and start browsing!