How to Go Digital in College

When I was first starting college, I had no idea how to organize my life. I was used to old fashioned folders, notebooks, and printout assignments. Coming to college, I learned that this is not a feasible way to live your life if you value getting anything done. Textbooks alone weigh ten pounds, and having to lug around extra paper is bound to make a mess. It's time to get a hold of your life by going fully digital. Here are some ways to get started!


  1. 1. Find a 2-in-1 Laptop

    There’s nothing long with a good ‘ol laptop. However, studies show that taking handwritten notes helps with word recall, test scores, and overall recall. By having a laptop that can transform into a tablet, you can write on you get the best of both worlds. 

    These laptops don’t have to be as expensive as you think. You don’t need to get an iPad Pro for $1,000 if that doesn’t fit into your budget. You can buy renewed products on Amazon, including the Surface Go (a more portable and cheaper option than the Surface Pro), or  2-in-1 Chromebooks.

  2. 2. Find the Perfect Note Taking App

    There are a few things to look for in the perfect app. First, it should have a cloud service and be accessible on all devices. There isn’t a point for taking digital notes if you can’t study anytime, anywhere. Second, you should be able to take handwritten and typed notes. You also need to be able to insert and annotate PDFs, especially if you’re in online classes. Try out the formats of different apps and see what works best for you.

    The biggest note taking apps in the market right now are:

    OneNote (my personal favorite)

    Notability (great, but only available on iOS)




  3. 3. Improve Productivity on Your Devices

    We all know it’s incredibly difficult to stay focused when studying and doing homework. What you may not know is that your phone likely has “Do Not Disturb” settings beyond just turning your phone on silent. You can control which notifications you get, set a limit for how long you can be on social media before the app shuts down, and even get productivity apps to motivate you to work harder.  My favorite productivity apps include “Chipper,” which gives you virtual money when you study to give you a sense of accomplishment, and “Forest App,” which lets you plant and grow trees depending on your study time.

  4. 4. Get Digital Textbooks

    Electronic Textbooks often cost less than regular textbooks, and are certainly more portable. Websites like Chegg sell textbooks that you can electronically annotate and access over their app. Save room in your backpack and save your back from pain by going totally digital.

  5. 5. Invest in a Portable Charger

    To live in our modern world you need to have constant access to the internet, location services, and streaming. This can be a real drain on our batteries. By getting a portable charger, you will feel a weight lifted off your shoulders. No need to worry about getting stranded without having google maps. No more worried texts from Mom you can’t reply to when your phone dies. Some backpacks even come with chargers built into them!

Going fully digital can be a very daunting task. From the offset it may seem expensive, but if you search the internet you'll find that investing in your college career isn't as bad as you think. The benefits of organization, storage, and electronic resources by far outweigh the costs.  If you care about having your notes for years to come, digital is the way to go. Find the technology that works for you and your learning style and stick with it. You'll be surprised how simple your life will get.