5 Social Media Tools for College Students

From note sharing to book rentals, these online tools help students share information.

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Notehall.com

This website allows students to buy and sell their notes to other students. Students can sign up for the site for free but have to purchase or earn credits to download other students' personal lecture notes, study guides, and outlines from 56 colleges. Students can earn credits by referring friends to the site, rating documents they have bought, and by selling their own notes. Students can earn cash on the site by selling their notes. They get to keep 50 percent of the standard prices: Students pay $4 for study guides, $2 for reading notes and $1 for lecture notes, says founder and CEO Sean Conway. Students can receive their earnings by check or PayPal. Students have earned more than $120,000 since August 2009 from selling their notes, Conway says.

David Spinks, community manager for Scribnia.com, a reader review site of bloggers and columnists, calls the site a "marketplace for study guides" where students can share the work they have already done with others and earn money at the same time.

Dropbox.com

Students can store their electronic files on this digital storage website, which enables students to access them remotely from smart phones or computers. With more than 4 million users, Dropbox is popular with both students and faculty, according to Adam Gross, vice president of sales and marketing for Dropbox. The site offers a 2 GB account for free. If students invite a friend to join the site, they can each receive an additional 250 MB for free. Users have the option to pay $9.99 per month for 50 GB and $19.99 per month for 100 GB. Files in the Dropbox, such as student presentations, documents, or photos, can be shared through Twitter and Facebook.

Dana Lewis, a senior at the University of Alabama, swears by Dropbox. "I use it back up all the school files so I have another remote location. In case something happens, I can get it from another computer." She allows people she's working with on group projects to view her folders by sharing the link with them. "It's really great for project management and collaboration."

Chegg.com

This textbook rental site was the first of its kind to rent books online when it launched in 2007. On the site, students can search for the author, title, or ISBN number of the textbook. Then, they select the length of time they want to rent the book for, such as for a quarter or semester, and pay the rental fee. Students are allowed to highlight, but not write, in the book. Then, when the student wants to return the books, they can print off a free shipping label to mail them back. On average the site saves students $500 a year, says Tina Couch, the vice president of public relations for Chegg.com. The site claims to have saved students more than $194 million to date. Chegg.com also plants a tree with American Forests for every student that rents from the site. Couch says the company has planted almost 3 million trees all over the world.

[Read 4 Ways to Get College Textbooks For Free]

Johnson, from the University of Florida, is a big fan of Chegg.com. He says he spent $80 to $100 on his textbooks this semester, which would've costs him $200 each if he paid full price. He encourages students to rent at Chegg.com as early as possible prior to the semester, when they are sold for "a ridiculously low amount." He also says the rental site has all of the newest editions of the textbooks with supplemental materials, which some campus bookstores may not have. "For kids who don't want to own books or are on tight on a budget, Chegg.com makes a lot of sense," Patrick says.

Couch says the name of the site is a combination of “chicken” and “egg,” playing off the adage, “Which comes first, the chicken or the egg.” The saying applies to the site, she says, because students need education to get a job, and in order to get a job, you need education.

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Corrected on : Corrected on 05/12/10: An earlier version of this article misstated the name of Patrick Johnson's college. He attends the University of South Florida. The article also misstated how David Spinks has used Notehall.com.