6 Websites That Will Make You Look Smarter

Written by Abby Nieten on August 22, 2012

Posted in Education

This post is a part of Formstack’s Back to School Campaign. From August 17-September 21, we’ll be sharing all things relating to higher ed, from how to survive your first semester of college to what cloud computing tools you should use as an educator. When it comes to all things campus, we’ve got you covered. Check out our campaign page for more information and enter to win a free semester of text books!

As tempting as it may be to lose yourself in the virtual sea of memes and baby videos, it’s important for us college kids to stay informed about current events and interesting facts. Not only will it help you look smart when you’re around all of your friends (the important reason, right?), but it will help you stay afloat in classrooms and networking situations. Beefing up your brain doesn’t have to be a chore, however; multiple news and trivia sites have found ways to inject personality into their online presence with social media and commentary. Here are some good sites to help you stay informed, and maybe you’ll even find something fun to read:

  1. The Associated Press – This is a trusty news site that provides straightforward, objective news. Additionally, The Associated Press is great at updating its Twitter account with late breaking news. Even if they don’t have a story compiled, they will still inform their followers with as much information as can be provided.
  2. The New York Times – The New York Times is one of the largest news publications in the country, and it is the most popular American newspaper website. While The New York Times is obviously a reliable source for current events and breaking news, they also have several interesting editorial columns and blogs, with topics ranging from fashion and style to travel highlights.
  3. Buzzfeed – Buzzfeed is a perfect mix of goofy lists, links to news sites, and adorable pet videos. It compiles the hottest news stories on the web and lists them in order by popularity or time. Be careful, though. I wouldn’t recommend this site if you have an exam to cram for or a paper to write – I’ve lost hours of my life to articles found on Buzzfeed. You’ve been warned.
  4. Cracked – Cracked is probably one of the most hilarious, yet educational, websites on the net. Most of its articles are themed lists about anything from “The 4 Weirdest Lessons 80s Movies Really Wanted to Teach Us” to “6 Real People With Mind-Blowing Mutant Superpowers” – you know, all of those weird facts you aren’t going to learn in freshman English class. However, I wouldn’t forward these articles to anyone offended by, err, foul language. You’ll learn a few facts, but not without a fair share of profanity.
  5. Time – Whoever controls Time’s Twitter content deserves all of the gold stars. Seriously, the content accompanying their website links is so clever and makes me want to read everything on their website, even if the topic isn’t funny at all. If you aren’t following Time on Twitter, you’re missing out.

    Your daily dose of sarcasm, compliments of @TIME.

  6. Mental Floss – Are you a trivia junkie? If so, Mental Floss is your playground. This website is an extension of Mental Floss’ print magazine, which is devoted to quirky facts and sweet trivia. Did you know that Jimi Hendrix opened for The Monkees in 1967? Neither did I until I read Mental Floss.