Software College Students Should Have

September 19, 2008


photo credit: kaichanvong
Around this time of year the majority of high school students are already back at school.  Most college graduates on the other hand are either receiving introductions into the real world, taking it easy, or on their Europe excursions they’ve been saving up for.

Now for those coming into college, the question of what type of computer and what computer programs one needs always comes up.  While your campus bookstore does offer a lot of great software at discounted student prices, that’s not to say… what you need you can probably get for free (and legally) online already.

Here are 5 great applications that are legally free that any college student should have on his or her laptop.

1. PDF Reader Alternative to Adobe Acrobat: Foxit Reader

Foxit Reader – http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf/rd_intro.php
Foxit Reader is a great free open-source alternative to Adobe Acrobat.  While you may be asking yourself, wait Acrobat is free, you’re right.  But Foxit reader runs a lot faster!  So if you have an older computer or just have a lot of things running on your computer at once, Foxit Reader might just be a great alternative for you.

2. The Microsoft Office Alternative: Open Office

Open Office – http://www.openoffice.org/
Open Office is essentially a free version of Microsoft Office.  You can open and modify almost anything Office can.  Enough said?

3. The Microsoft Outlook Alternative: Thunderbird

Thunderbird – http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/thunderbird/
If you’re one of those people who receives dozens of emails a day, then Thunderbird is for you.  Keeping your email organized will save you a lot of time and be beneficial in the long run.  Check out Thunderbird before dropping some cash on Microsoft Outlook.

4. The Symantec Antivirus Alternative: Avast!

Avast! Anti-Virus – http://www.avast.com/
If you purchased a new computer recently, odds are that a trial version of Norton Antivirus or McAffee are already installed on your computer.  Thing is, that trials will run out.  So when they do, instead of spending money on renewing the subscriptions, check out Avast!  Avast! Home Edition is free and runs great.  It’s quick and does not slow down your computer.
Note: If you plan to install Avast! or any other software, you should make sure to uninstall your existing anti-virus software.  You really don’t want 2 anti-virus programs running on your computer at the same time.

5. AOL Instant Messnger (AIM)

AIM Homepage – http://www.aim.com
True this application has always been free, but we felt a need to include it in the list.  Why is AIM so great?  In college almost everyone has their computer on some point in the day and odds are when it’s on, it’s connected to the internet and AIM is running.  Do your phone and text messaging bill a favor and use AIM when you can!

Hope you found this helpful!  If you know of any other free non-adware software we should add to this list, let us know!

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