Beginners Guide to Going Paperless in College (or at Least Partially)

Beginner's Guide: Going Paperless in College

Ever since going (mostly) paperless in college, I never realized how much it simplified my college life! For one, I rarely have to carry around multiple heavy textbooks (unless they’re cheaper in print because, you know, #brokecollegestudent). Another plus is I always have what I need with me – wherever I go – because of my resources being digital and portable! I don’t think I’ll ever go back to lugging around tons of binders, books, and random papers ever again.

If you want to make your life as a college student just a little bit easier, keep reading.

The Basics:

Here’s the breakdown of what you’ll need to go paperless:

  • Device – You need a tablet, phone, or computer, you can also use more than one device. I’m obsessed with my iPad Pro & Apple Pencil, but some things I’d rather  use my laptop to work with.

  • Reliable Wi-Fi or a Cellular Connection – This is pretty self explanatory, but if you never have good cell service, or your wi-fi network is always bogged down, going paperless might not workout well for you.
  • Folder or App to Store Files – If you have a Mac or other Apple device, iCloud Drive and Files are great options! Other alternatives are Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive. I love that these apps allow you to sync your files across devices. It really comes in handy that I can start working on something on my iPad and switch to my phone or laptop!
  • Note-taking App – My absolute favorite note-taking app is Goodnotes. With it, you can create digital notebooks for all your classes by choosing the cover and paper, add files you want to annotate, or make handwritten or typed notes on plain paper. I mainly use it with my iPad and Apple Pencil, but they also make an app for the iPhone and Mac (although I haven’t had a great experience with the Mac app). I love how I can quickly check my notes on my phone wherever I am if I need to jog my memory about something. This is a really great app and there is so much you can do with it!
    Before I started using Goodnotes, I used Notability. I only use Goodnotes now because I prefer it’s handwriting feature over Notability’s. But don’t get me wrong, Notability is still a great app to use! It essentially does the same thing as Goodnotes, but it also has a really cool audio recording feature that “marks the place” of the recording with your note-taking. So, if you’re taking notes during a lecture and your professor is going too fast for you to write, or it is just an important piece of information and you want to go back to, you can star that place in your notes for example. Then, once you play back your recording, you can tap on the star and it will bring up the point in the audio when you made the star. This feature is super helpful if your professor doesn’t post slides/notes for their lectures!

iPad Pro with Apple Pencil on the goodnotes app for note taking

  • App for Reading Textbooks – If you decide to purchase eTextbooks, you’re going to need an app to read them on! I’ve used both Chegg and Amazon’s eReaders and like them both equally! Most eReader apps will have bookmarking and note-taking features that are really helpful for studying.
  • Scanner App – One of my professors actually introduced this app to my class when she needed us to upload our homework (on physical paper) to D2L, our course management site. This app would also be useful to you if you have a lot of in-class work, handouts, or assignments on physical paper that you’d like to convert to digital! Once scanned, you can save the document and import it to your note-taking app to annotate; its pretty cool! Scanning your documents eliminates the need to carry around a binder or folder with all your paper assignments. You could also use it to make backups of important papers/assignments you don’t want to lose.

The goodnotes app on iPhone

And thats it! Going paperless has been really helpful to me during college. If you’re interested definitely give it a try, I don’t think you’ll regret it!

Will you be going the paperless route? Any of your favorite apps/methods I left out that you can’t live without? Leave me a comment and let me know!(:

One Reply to “Beginners Guide to Going Paperless in College (or at Least Partially)”

  1. Great guide! I would have loved to know about some of these options when I was in college. I could definitely use the scanner one now!

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