You're a college student, what kind of website do you need?
August 27, 2009 9:46 PM   Subscribe

What kind of website would you, a college student, find useful?

It could range from something academic, to solving something that slightly annoys you or causes you great distress.
posted by 913 to Computers & Internet (26 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This is probably outside your actual parameters, but it is within the scope of your question, so here goes: when I was in school, I would have killed for real-time availability information for shared campus resources -- laundry machines, library computers, library study spaces, cafeteria tables, gym equipment, etc.

Related: length of lines at dining halls, parking spot availability.

posted by grobstein at 9:55 PM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

OH unrelated idea, for big schools: centralized listings for all free-food events on campus. (Grumble, yeah, a centralized listing for events open to the public generally would be okay too, grumble grumble.)
posted by grobstein at 9:56 PM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

A website that serves as a 'cork/chalk/message board'. Basically, I want to be able to throw anything on it, easily, and access it anywhere I go. I want to be able to make a list of links, calendar items, notes, to do reminders and lists, pictures, attachments, whatever. I want to be like a big bucket that I can peer into with all of my school/life shit in it. And I want it to be free.

It should also have an auto-login feature so that I can set it as my homepage on my laptop and home computer.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:24 PM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: floam, something that'd just be nice for college students.

thanks for the ideas so far!
posted by 913 at 10:26 PM on August 27, 2009

Oh, you know what else needs to exist? Well, two things...

A way to send money to someone else electronically. We need banks to be able to talk to each other without some sort of high-rent bonehead gatekeeper called PayPal. Maybe a school could do this using their barcoded student ID cards. You can add money to another student's account, or your own, through this magic website. It does not have to be school-related of course, but I could see the school-ID card route being one way it could get initiated (like Facebook, originally).

Secondly, there needs to be a way to set up something like a Google Group that does not require a proprietary email address. I can't tell you how many times I've tried to discuss starting a topic-focused internet message board group, only to have it dissolve into Yahoo! versus Google versus .mac or whatever. A site that could create a social group and accept any form of email address would be awesome. Bonus points if there is built in options that are useful to students, i.e. event calendars, to-do lists, profile pages, class schedules, polls, etc.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:33 PM on August 27, 2009

Also, a site where a group of students can have a class calendar and block off their classes/availability, as well as home location. Cross-reference that with local cafe info and forming study groups would be dreamy.

I'm sorry, I'll stop commenting in this thread. I could go on forever. If I come up with some more that I absolutely must share, I'll try to condense it into one post.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:36 PM on August 27, 2009

Here's something college students don't use -- sites that act as "all-purpose" social calendars, or event listings, or facebook replacement attempts. If you want to make something for college students, have it address one very specific want, and just that, and make it really simple and bulletproof. No logins, no user profiles, none of that shit.

How about -- I put in my address, and the site looks up anywhere around where I live that is still open and still delivering food at that time of night. It shows the top five results, tells me their phone numbers, sample menu items, and how long they'll still be available for delivery.

Even better, the site would automatically trace your IP and do all of that for you. Call it "" or something and make it all one page. Simple graphics, clean, tumblr-like presentation.
posted by Damn That Television at 10:54 PM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

A way to send money to someone else electronically. We need banks to be able to talk to each other.

In my experience, this is a US-only problem. In Europe, Japan, Canada, and Central America (at least), everyone just transfers money to others' bank accounts to "pay" them.
posted by rokusan at 10:55 PM on August 27, 2009

Oh snap - a compendium of free food on campus. If this doesn't already exist, I can't believe it. I used to go to every single club's website looking for events with free food. I was like a member of campus democrats, the korean student christian organization, the republicans, the drama league and the marching band...for free pizza.

WHen I was in school we also had a website called (erg). It was a site that let people rant about how bored they were in the library and talk about things happening in the library while they were studying.

It was very counter-productive.

A casual encounters specifically for the campus would probably simplify some things as well...
posted by Lutoslawski at 10:59 PM on August 27, 2009

I would love a site (actually, something for my iPhone would be best) that lists what near me is open 24/7.
posted by reductiondesign at 2:55 AM on August 28, 2009

A website that serves as a 'cork/chalk/message board'. Basically, I want to be able to throw anything on it, easily, and access it anywhere I go.

When I was at university someone set up a wiki for all things university-related; some users decided to post their answers for assignments - before the due dates. As the users were anonymous, the guy who ran the wiki took most of the heat, and ended up closing the site down. As he was a student at the university at that time, I guess they threatened him with expulsion for cheating.

In other words: If you make it a general 'throw anything on it' website, decide if you're going to let people use it to cheat on assignments, and if you are, make sure the university can't do anything bad to you.
posted by Mike1024 at 4:41 AM on August 28, 2009

I would have loved something like foursquare that was customizable for individual campuses, so that when your friends can't hear their phones ring at the party/concert/riot they went to, you can still see where they are. Plus, earning points for partyhopping would be neat.
posted by oinopaponton at 5:28 AM on August 28, 2009

A reliable, no-hype source for finding relevant scholarships, searchable by state, field of study, etc. One that weeds-out the dead-ends and marketing tricks. Hunting for money can often be an exercise in "accidentally found it."
posted by Thorzdad at 5:31 AM on August 28, 2009

I'm a college student.

What I would REALLY like to see, in terms of college-oriented websites, is a site that lists research opportunities under professors. Professors can advertise openings in their labs or whether they're willing to take on a student, much like an employer advertises employment, and students can write their research interests so professors can find them. It's like LinkedIn for college students.

It'd help those of us in fields where research is key to getting into grad school.
posted by kldickson at 6:08 AM on August 28, 2009

Call it MindLink or something.
posted by kldickson at 6:08 AM on August 28, 2009

For that matter, extend it to grad students too.
posted by kldickson at 6:09 AM on August 28, 2009

How about -- I put in my address, and the site looks up anywhere around where I live that is still open and still delivering food at that time of night. It shows the top five results, tells me their phone numbers, sample menu items, and how long they'll still be available for delivery.

If you go this route, make sure the area isn't already served by GrubHub or some similar site like
posted by runningwithscissors at 6:50 AM on August 28, 2009

I often wish Delicious had been around when I was in college (well, along with the massive quantities of academic content that are on the net now). Something similar, with a specifically academic focus and an ability to organize and create citations strikes me as ridiculously useful.

Alternatively, a site (or maybe a browser extension, now that I think of it) that gives a thumbs-up or thumbs-down indicating whether a site I'm viewing has specious or authoritative info on it would be awesome.
posted by willpie at 7:09 AM on August 28, 2009

Just to clarify, for my chalkboard idea...I would prefer it to be private. Just my stuff. A place to put my stuff. A blank, white page to start...and then my stuff. To drag and drop and have it stick would be GENIUS.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:25 AM on August 28, 2009

A textbook-selling/renting/sharing site would have been very useful for me. I'm sure that some campuses have this kind of thing, but it would have been helpful at my tiny little school.
posted by runningwithscissors at 8:10 AM on August 28, 2009 was used quite a bit.

We had bus lines carrying students between the four campuses of my huge state school. Eventually a need arose for a (university) website to track where the buses were in real-time. Students loved that, they could finish brushing their teeth and pulling on their clothes just in time to fly out the door and catch the bus to class.

Student activists started using Facebook a lot to organize.

Our polisci department started a textbook-trade website, although I'm not sure how successful it is.

A lot of the area restaurants participated in aggregate online menu sites that let you order takeout online.
posted by twins named Lugubrious and Salubrious at 11:33 AM on August 28, 2009

A site that compiles the best student pricing on expensive software suites (PHOTOSHOP).
posted by WeekendJen at 12:23 PM on August 28, 2009


Microsoft OneNote does all of your "chalkboard" utilities and more.
posted by BearPaws at 12:26 PM on August 28, 2009

Some sort of way to sniff out grants and research opportunities, as someone else said.
Our campus has a independent student-run website which serves as a centralized resource as event calendar, links to all academic departents, hours for on-campus buildings/dining halls etc, announcements, student org info, dining hall / delivery menus... you name it. I don't know how many other schools have resources like this but it made my college experience much easier. Lots of freshmen set it as their home page. It's certainly not perfect - they waste some precious front page resources on unnecessary content in my opinion (news headlines?) while missing some key features, like a lot of stuff people have suggested in this thread. But if you're asking this question with entreprenurial aspirations in mind, this could be a great source of inspiration.
posted by Muffpub at 1:56 PM on August 28, 2009

kldickson's idea is a winner.

As an involved student in a town with lots of colleges, I've longed for a website that would consolidate a listing of student organizations and facilitate the creation of joint events. If my campus has a Darfur group, and your campus has a Darfur group, there's no reason we shouldn't be able to share resources, go to each other's events, etc.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 6:45 PM on August 28, 2009

Honestly, I would love a website that would let you search for available coupons and discounts for local restaurants and other services, say... laundromats, car rentals, office supplies- by zip code.

Anything that could save me money, really.
posted by rachaelfaith at 12:17 AM on August 29, 2009

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