Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SFU chapter.

I’m coming at you with these tools just in time to help you out in your studying for finals or writing final papers. I realize that it’s a little late in the semester to be divulging my top tech tools, but better late than never. And trust me, these tools are ESSENTIAL for every student, no matter what year or area of study. I’ve been in university for the last six years, so I feel confident in saying that I have gotten a tool or two under my belt.

This article also assumes you’ve already got the necessities like Netflix and UberEats, which are also highly critical in surviving university. But these tools will help you academically, for which you can thank me later. I hope you’re ready to see your productivity increase, papers written faster, and grades to start rising like star signs.


If, by some miracle, you have the self-discipline to put down your phone to study and not check it every other minute, snaps for you. But if you’re like me and can’t be far from your phone, Forest is the app for you! It’s super simple to use — just set the timer for however long you want to concentrate, and if you can complete the duration, it plants a little tree in your forest. I like to use the Pomodoro technique of twenty-five minutes of concentration, followed by five-minute breaks. And seeing my little tree planted is the instant gratification I need to keep me motivated.


I know that we have all seen the ads for Grammarly, a writing tool that checks the tone, structure and grammar of your papers. It’s amazing as a browser extension because it checks over your emails for professional tone and spelling; incredibly helpful when I am typing a frantic email to my prof. You can also download the app onto your computer and upload your text for it to proofread. It often explains its edits and gives you options for replacements of words. It helps my writing be concise and sound more educated.

Your School’s App

Your university or college may not offer this, but at SFU, this is super key.

When the snowstorms hit every year, where do I go to check to see if classes were cancelled? The SFU app.

When I have no idea where my class is on Burnaby campus (aka the never-ending maze) where do I look for directions? The SFU app.

It took me a long time to figure out that this tool even existed, but it has come in handy so many times since downloading it.


If you only use one of these apps, make sure it’s Zotero. First of all, it’s free. Second, it helps you with your citations and collects and organizes your research for you! I don’t know what more you could want from an app. This app will save you hours on your papers if you are in a writing-focused faculty by saving and creating your citations for you. Its best used as a combination of a browser extension and downloaded software that attaches links to directly to Microsoft Word. Again to reiterate: it makes in-text citations and a reference list for you in the citation style of your choice directly to your document!

You can now call me your university academic tools fairy godmother. I genuinely wish someone had told me about these apps in first year instead of finding them for myself over the years. Some will apply to certain folks more than others, and there are other awesome apps out there.

But these four, chefs kiss. Highly recommend.

Rie (she/her) is currently in her last year of her Communications and Economics undergrad at Simon Fraser University. She is passionate about using her education and platform to create spaces for conversation around social issues and would like her career to centre in the nonprofit and social justice sector. In her free time, she can be found overthinking, dancing, or cooking. She would also like to acknowledge that she graciously works and lives on the unceded territory of the Sylix people.
Abigail is a third-year International Studies major and Communications minor at Simon Fraser University. She is very passionate about learning more about the world around her and aspires to pursue journalism in the future. In her spare time, she is an avid Netflix lover, ice cream enthusiast, and BTS fangirl.