45 Essential Resources for Student Writers

Writing is one of the many things that students are expected to do well. To make sure you live up to expectations, we have combined a list of 45 resources that you can use to write essays, complete research, organize ideas and improve your writing.


Research Resources

  • Brainy Quote - If you need a good quote to compliment your writing, Brainy Quote is definitely the place to find it. The site lists quotes by topic, author and type.
  • Carmun - Carmun connects students who need advice and also helps students organize their research. Other site features include help with sources and a killer bib tool.
  • ChaCha - ChaCha is like having a personal assistant who looks up information for you. The site allows users to call or text in questions that will be answered by real people.
  • - Writers can use the free High Beam Encyclopedia to access articles and information in the Columbia Encyclopedia, Britannica and other reference books.
  • IPL - No matter what you're looking for, the Internet Public Library is a fantastic source of information.
  • Ref Desk - The Ref Desk bills itself as a fact checker for the Internet, and it definitely measures up to the description. The site offers numerous search engines, as well as virtual newspapers, encyclopedias, periodicals and other reference materials.
  • Scholarpedia - Scholarpedia looks a lot like Wikipedia, but it is much more reliable. Content is written and reviewed by scholars all over the world.
  • The New York Times - You can search news stories that go all the way back to 1851 with this leading news site.
  • The Open Directory Project - The Open Directory Project provides a directory of links. The site employs live editors, which increases your chance of finding reputable sites in each category.
  • Wayback Machine - The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine is perfect for student researchers that need to find information on old web pages (as far back as 1996.)

General Writing Instruction

  • Academhack - Academhack teaches students how to write more effectively using tech tools available on the web.
  • Dartmouth Writing Program - The Dartmouth Writing Program offers a fantastic (and free) introduction to academic writing. A must read for every student writer.
  • Essay Forum - The essay forum is a great place to get help with essays and other types of academic papers.
  • Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips - The crux of Grammar Girl's site involves memory tricks that can be used to remember grammar rules. Site visitors can read tips or listen to them in podcast form.
  • Grammar Handbook - The Grammar Handbook from Writer's Workshop covers all of the basic rules of grammar. It's well organized and makes a handy reference.
  • MIT Writing Courses - The Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers over 50 free writing courses through their revolutionary OpenCourseWare program.
  • SparkNotes Ultimate Style - SparkNotes online style guide is for students who want quick and easy answers to grammar and usage questions.
  • The OWL - Purdue University's Online Writing Lab gives students free access to all sorts of valuable writing instruction.
  • University of Wisconsin Writing Center - UW's Writing Center is a wonderful resource for students wanting to improve their style and learn more about academic writing.
  • - This friendly online writing community offers writing tools, a place to store your writing and writing instruction for people of all skill levels.

Essay Writing

  • Advanced Essay Writing Workshop - Students can improve their essay writing skills with the free essay workshop offered online through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
  • - Designed specifically for college students, provides a comprehensive guide to the essay writing process through short tips and articles.
  • College Board - The essay skills section of focuses on application essays, but the information can be applied to almost any type of essay writing.
  • Editors for Students - This essay editing service provides 21 can't miss essay writing tips for student writers and a directory of writing resources.
  • Essay Edge - Essay Edge is primarily an essay editing service, but you can find valuable resources and essay writing tips throughout the site.
  • Essay Punch - This interactive online essay writing tutorial is guaranteed to improve your essay writing skills.
  • - is a good source for any student who wants to improve writing skills. The site offers information about essay types, writing and essay scholarships.
  • How to Write an Essay - This website presents itself as a guide for beginners--perfect if you've never written an essay before.
  • Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary - Every essay writer needs a good dictionary and this online version of Merriam-Webster definitely fits the bill.
  • Paradigm Online Writing Assistant - This interactive writing community offers award-winning content that will help any student write a better essay.

Free Web Apps

  • Auto Crit - Student writers can use this web app to fix their writing. AutoCrit is designed for manuscripts, but it works just as well on essays, research papers and other academic writing.
  • Bib Me - This automatic bibliography maker allows you to build a works cited page quickly and easily. It supports APA, MLA, Chicago and Turabian formats.
  • College Ruled - This web app is great for student writers who want to keep their work and their writing schedule organized.
  • Delicious - Delicious lets users keep bookmarks--perfect for student writers who work on multiple computers.
  • Google Docs - This beta tool from Google lets users upload, store and edit work on the Internet.
  • Jott - If your ideas are coming faster than you can write them, Jott can record your voice and turn your words into text.
  • The Awesome Highlighter - Student writers will love The Awesome Highlighter, because it lets you highlight web page text and convert it into a handy, compact link.
  • ThinkFold - This web app is a great outlining tool for students who are writing research papers and essays. It is especially nice for group projects.
  • Zoho - Zoho's suite of online web applications can increase your writing productivity and make it easier to collaborate with other people online. Specific applications to try include Zoho Writer, Zoho Planner and Zoho Sheet.
  • Zotero - You can collect, manage and cite sources using this free Firefox extension.

Free Books

  • 50 Places to Find Free Books - This article, located right here on, offers a list of 50 places that you can find free textbooks, free audio books and free fiction and nonfiction books.
  • Bartleby Reference - You can find several free writing reference books here that describe English usage, style and composition in detail.
  • ManyBooks - You can get free books on nearly every topic imaginable from ManyBooks. The majority of the books are formatted for iPods, PDAs and ebook readers.
  • Questia - There are nearly 20 free writing books available from Questia. Book topics include writing across the curriculum, academic writing and technical writing.
  • Roget's Thesaurus - Visit Bibliomania for a free online copy of Roget's Thesaurus.
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