Microsoft Office can help with many things that are vital for students. Things such as partying, sleeping, relaxing, having fun, meeting people, watching movies, more partying... okay, perhaps Office can't exactly do all that for you. It can't buy the next round, make you the life of the party, or stop anything from waking you up before eleven. If your student experience requires a little bit of the high life however, then Office can save you the time you need to do what you really want to. Or, possibly, even go to lectures once in a while.

Office can look after the things you need to do, so you don't have to worry about them quite as much. Even if you are dedicating yourself to your work, particularly if you have a very important term or year coming up, Office can make the burden much less and the work more efficient and effective; with its wide range of applications, the suite can be put to many different uses.

Let's start with lectures. What do you do with the notes that you take? How do you make sure that they're easy to get hold of when you really need them and available in such a way that you can actually make use of them? It's easy to take notes that seem sensible and informative on the day; but which, come the end of term, have either mutated into a jungle of crumpled papers or been arranged into huge stacks in rows of folders. Whichever way it goes, it's not easy to find exactly what you need from a whole term or year's notes. There may be hidden gems in there, but without a way of searching through your notes, hidden they shall remain. Except that, with OneNote, you can search through all of your notes.

Any notes that you make on paper can be scanned in or, for the more gadget-minded, can be written directly onto a palmtop computer; OneNote's character recognition software will convert what you write into clear, searchable and controllable text. Your OneNote notebook can also be arranged in anyway you'd like it to be, ensuring that you have easy access to the key information as and when you need it. Notes can even be shared amongst friends and classmates who may have been unable to make the lecture, whether for fair reasons or foul.

Office can help you when you have assignments and theses to do too. Word is, of course, the pre-eminent word processor and can ensure that any essay or dissertation you have to write has both a professional appearance and an informative and accessible style. With a vast range of formatting options, fonts and styles, plus templates and 'building blocks' to give your work a consistent feel, you can be sure of producing work that gives the best opportunities to the content you create. With the usual spellchecking, grammar checking, auto-formatting and -correcting and access to dictionaries and encyclopaedia, you can be sure that your ideas find the best words and form with which to get the message across. Meanwhile, if your assignment requires a presentation at the end of it, Powerpoint can help you to put your information or arguments across in a clear and engaging manner.

Office can also be put to use beyond the purely academic side. For instance, Excel can have many uses - looking after your hamstrung student budget, perhaps (and making sure there's enough leftover for a good night out). It can also, for the more conscientious student perhaps create a rota for cleaning the flat; similarly, an inventory of the what the flat contains when you arrive could prove very handy when it comes to handing the keys back. Outlook can be helpful as well, giving you a detailed calendar to ensure that you know just when all your work needs handing in, when exams are due and when bills need to be paid. Alternatively, an Outlook calendar can help you keep tabs on when the best nights out are likely to come along. Finally, when all is done and dusted, the last piece of work presented, the final exam finished, the end of year celebrations enjoyed to the full, Word can help ensure your CV is as appealing as possible - for there is a world of work out there that encroaches on life pretty quickly.

Student life should be a time that gives you a big step-up in life, but also a time for fun and for enjoying the world on your own. Microsoft Office can play a small, but very useful role in this - and short training courses are available to help you get the most out of it - allowing you to make more of your time, both academically and socially.