Home Students 9 Best Chrome Extensions for College Students in 2021

9 Best Chrome Extensions for College Students in 2021

A Macbook Pro near a white notebook.
For illustrative purposes only. Photo: Nick Morrison/Unsplash

It’s hard to imagine what schoolwork was like before we had the internet to help out. We have tons of websites, applications, and software just a few clicks away to help us with researching, cross-referencing, writing essays, and more.

To help you study even further, Chrome extensions are a great way to automate your schoolwork. The possibilities are endless: you can generate automatic citations, scan your essays through a proofreader, save relevant infographics and memes for an upcoming project, and more!

Since extensions are easy to use and built right into your browser, they’re also great at keeping you focused on your work — and in some cases, away from distraction entirely.  

So before you find yourself finished with an entire afternoon of “studying” with nothing to show for it, here are some awesome Chrome extensions that you can install in less than a minute to help you make the most out of your learning!

1. Grammarly

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Your college essays and reports can be error-free with the Grammarly Chrome Extension. Image: Grammarly

It can be difficult to communicate your thoughts properly, especially when you are so full of ideas on an essay or a topic that you are passionate about. Thankfully, you can use Grammarly to help make your essays and assignments more understandable. This is an advanced writing tool that detects mistakes in your writing and tells you how to fix them. 

Grammarly can be used to scan through all your essays for spelling, grammar, clarity, style, variety, and tone. It even explains its suggestions to you so that you can continue to improve your writing!

✅  What we loved: 

  • Fixes grammatical errors and mistakes in real-time
  • Highly useful for non-native English speakers
  • Excellent online grammar knowledgebase 

What could be improved:

  • Can be pricey for college students
  • Sometimes picks up errors that don’t exist

2. Dualless

Have you ever felt envious of other students that can afford a dual monitor setup? With Dualless, you can easily split your browser windows into two with just two clicks! It’s a great way to make the most out of your computer screen without having to manually move between different tabs. Use this extension to tackle your assigned readings and take notes, or attend a meeting while jotting down the details simultaneously.

The extension is straightforward and easy to use; once you install it, a drop-down menu shows all the different ratios you can split your screen into. You can also choose between splitting the two screens side by side or stacking one on top of the other. 

✅  What we loved: 

  • Lets you multitask between different windows
  • Can be adjusted in different ratios
  • Easy to use

What could be improved:

  • Resets pinned tabs to normal tabs
  • No choice in which windows are resized when multiple windows are open

3. Kami Extension

Do you miss doodling on your handouts or adding notes in the margins? Kami Extension is a fun way to fully absorb all of your reading material. This free tool lets you edit and annotate PDF documents in your browser. You can also add text and drawings to documents.

Even better, Kami can be used offline so you can continue reading uninterrupted through a spotty internet connection.

✅  What we loved: 

  • Easily upload and share files
  • Has inclusive learning tools for Special Education needs
  • Can be used as a digital whiteboard overlay for documents

What could be improved:

  • Interface is not very intuitive
  • Difficult to use on mobile

4. Cite This For Me

If creating your bibliography is the bane of your existence, you’ll love Cite This For Me. A click of a button on the webpage you’re using will instantly generate a perfectly formatted citation. You can copy and paste it into your document, or save all your citations to an online account. From your online account, you can even easily generate a full list of all your sources.

Cite This For Me supports Chicago, APA, MLA, Harvard styles, and more.

✅  What we loved: 

  • Has all the most popular reference citation formats
  • Super-fast and simple to use
  • Citations can be saved to an online account

What could be improved:

  • Too many in-app ads
  • Auto-cite feature sometimes misses important details

5. Noisli

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Noisli is a Chrome extension that blocks out noise to help you study. Photo: Ivan Samkov/Pexels

One of the biggest barriers to studying is background noise, or the lack thereof. Noisli is the answer to your problems! This Chrome extension has plenty of soothing background sounds that you can choose from to help you focus on your work. 

The extension also offers a timer so that you can time the music to start and stop according to your study sessions, as well as a minimalist text editor for distraction-free essay writing.

✅  What we loved: 

  • Mix and match multiple background sounds to create the perfect ambience
  • Comes with a built-in timer for your study sessions
  • Can share your sound combinations with friends and classmates

What could be improved:

  • Does not work offline
  • Some features are locked behind a Premium Plan

6. StayFocusd

Do you find yourself scrolling through social media or watching cat videos when you should be studying? Not anymore. StayFocusd temporarily blocks websites on your Chrome browser so that you can keep your studying on schedule.

The Nuclear Option takes this to the extreme by cutting off access to everything — except the websites that you have allowed. Once you select this option there is no way to disengage the blocking software until the countdown is over!

✅  What we loved: 

  • Completely restricts access to blocked sites
  • Timespan for blocking can be adjusted
  • Can be configured to restrict subdomains, paths, pages, and even images, forms, and games
  • Developers have a great sense of humor — especially when you’re trying to cheat the extension!

What could be improved:

  • No way to cancel the Nuclear Option if you need to access sites for an emergency
  • Complicated user interface
  • Nuclear Option is limited to a one-time slot

7. Power Thesaurus

We all know how tough it can get to finish an essay when you can’t think of the right words to express yourself. That’s why the Power Thesaurus exists — it’s a great way to expand your vocabulary and find other terms that you can use to enhance your work! The extension’s website offers even more features, and you can search for a synonym or antonym depending on whether it is being used as an adjective, noun, or verb.

To use Power Thesaurus, all you need to do is type in a word and it will show you a list of synonyms and antonyms. You can configure the thesaurus to show five or ten words, and it even doubles as a dictionary if you want to double-check the meaning of the word.

✅  What we loved: 

  • Clean and minimalist interface
  • Compatible with Google Dictionary

What could be improved:

  • Pop-up on word selection sometimes does not work

8. Evernote Web Clipper

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Evernote Chrome extension is ideal for college students gathering research. Image: Evernote

Evernote is the world’s most popular digital note-taking tool and it makes sense that its extension is just as prolific. There may be times when you come across a social media post on politics from pundits that you feel is particularly insightful for your classes, or infographics that are a shoo-in for your presentation. All you need to do is click “Clip” to capture notes from web pages, emails, or any other document to a central location!

Evernote also has tons of annotating tools so that you can make notes directly on your saved clips, using text and highlights to draw attention to the most important parts of your images.

✅  What we loved: 

  • Plenty of annotating tools
  • Automatic sync with Evernote
  • All the content you clip is searchable

What could be improved:

  • Premium version pricing is quite high 
  • Some sites cannot be clipped 

9. Todoist

In college, it’s important to have a system that can remind you of everything that you need to work on — from essays and assignments to lab reports and group project meetings. Todoist can centralize all the activities, assignments, references, and projects that you need to work on in one app so that you can easily access your lists and look back on your progress.

To get a better idea of the timeframe you are working on, you can also sync the app with Google Calendar. Todoist also has a feature called Karma, which gives you points based on the amount of daily and weekly goals you have completed. 

✅  What we loved: 

  • “Karma Trend” score keeps your to-do lists fun
  • Saves backups of your notes for use across multiple devices or in case of emergencies

What could be improved:

  • Location-based notifications are only available in the paid version.

    Ready to get productive with these Chrome add-ons for college students? Not quite? Then maybe you’ll like these top study tools every student needs instead!