How to Go Paperless in College

Going into college I was already a pretty paperless student. It was the norm at my highschool to take notes via laptop, and almost everything (with the exception of math) used virtual methods. As my graduation gift, I asked for an iPad in order to convert completely to being a paperless student, and it was honestly one of the best decisions I have made. Not only does going paperless have a positive environmental impact, the convenience has allowed me to stay organized and take my work anywhere.

In terms of note-taking I often switched between my iPad and Macbook. Luckily, I only had to take one level of math in college, so for that calculus class I used my iPad to take notes using Notability. While Notability costs $9.99 to download, it was the BEST spent money. Not only does it keep my work organized in tabs and folders, it offers TONS of options for different backgrounds to write on, colors, brush sizes, and more. Additionally, for my criminal justice class my professor uploaded redacted slides for each unit, so I seamlessly could upload those slides to Notability, and then to Google Drive without any trouble. It is great because it can connect to your Google account (among others) for easy transfers between programs. There is so much you can do with this app, so if you’re planning to go paperless, this app is DEFINITELY worth the investment. 

weekly planner on a tablet

In classes where handwriting wasn’t easiest, I would break out my laptop and use Google Docs to take my notes. I am a massive fan of bullet points and making lists, so this was an effective tool to jot down notes. Since my high school and university both used Google, I have grown super familiar to the software and love how easy it is to use.

I also recommend using iBooks or the Kindle app to download any textbooks your classes may require. Buying or renting textbooks carry a LOT of weight and can be a pain to haul across campus. Instead, downloading them through either of these two apps (or an online version through your school’s bookstore) will allow them to move with you 24/7, so you’ll never have to worry about forgetting them again.

Anna Schultz-Girl Using Ipad In Bed Anna Schultz / Her Campus

Just one more thing to note (no pun intended): If you’re planning to get an iPad, don’t forget to get an Apple Pencil. It is (in my opinion) the best stylus to use with the device. Do be wary that it can get lost, and those things are not cheap to replace (believe me- I would know after having to replace one and then finding it again months later).

Here are a few videos I recommend watching if you want to go paperless, from college students Lottie Smalley, Julia K Crist and Mae Frey. Happy note taking!!

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