College advice: Keep your feet on the ground and your documents in the cloud



Guest writer Sarah Casimong is a contributor to Her Campus, a popular site which offers a guide to life for college women.

While Microsoft Office 365 is a relevant tool for everyone from business professionals to families, the new Office 365 University is a dedicated offering for college and university students. I found that many of the new features made my college life so much easier and I continue to use Office 365 in my post-collegiate life.

Feel safer with cloud

I can’t tell you how many times I lost or forgot my USB flash drive where I stored my most important files. There’s no way to describe the feeling that takes over your body once you realize your whole life’s work (or what feels like it in that moment) fell out of your backpack on your way out of the library… on the day you’ve got a special presentation or essay due. What I find most convenient about Microsoft Office 365 University is how it works with SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage service. Office 365 University saves all of your documents to SkyDrive by default, allowing you to access all your files on your laptop (PC or Mac), tablet, or phone. This feature had me breathing a sigh of relief knowing that once my document was saved it could be accessed on a variety of other devices, should a computer not be available to me in the moment.

Make no more excuses on group projects

The biggest thing getting in the way of class group projects is scheduling. Everyone seems to have a different conflict, making it hard to get all group members to physically meet up and collaborate. With SkyDrive, there’s no excuse for a lack of communication or misplaced files, because you can share, access and edit each other’s documents on your own terms. Through SkyDrive, you can send classmates a link (through Facebook or email) to your Excel, Word, PowerPoint or OneNote document. They can then access and make edits to the document from the browser with Office Web Apps (they don’t even need to have Office installed on their PC!), making instant changes that everyone can see.

Take notes the way you like–and read them too

I always prefer to take notes the old fashioned way, because to be honest, the sound of a tapping keyboard distracts me. The only problem with writing by hand is that my writing got messier as the paragraphs went on. One feature that I found helpful, yet still convenient for us handwriting-lovers, is OneNote’s “Ink to Text” tool. With this tool, you can handwrite your notes onto your tablet and convert them into text (text you can read!), which you can then search and sort through easily. And unless your writing is actually chicken scratch, it’s pretty good at converting what you’ve written.

Access new templates

If you’re like me, you’ll appreciate the new Office templates, particularly in Word. Office templates always saved me time in college, whether it was for reports, resumes or presentations. The new designs add an updated look and give you a unique edge. As a recent grad, I had to update my resume and cover letters. I found it easy to search for a template that fit my layout needs in addition to satisfying my aesthetic preferences. Not only was I able to update my resume to look better, but it also gave me the flexibility to customize it the way I like.

These are just some of the ways that the new Office 365 University can serve as a college student’s newest friend! And for all you “collegiate” who just graduated, check out Office 365 Home Premium–it has all the same features and functions that I mentioned above to help you jump start your career.

–Sarah Casimong, Her Campus