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software for studentsBeing a student is often just as challenging for your wallet as it is for your mind. Different colleges require different, advanced toolsets.

Just think about Expression, Visual Studio, Maya and AutoCAD. Every single one of those software suites will cost you a small fortune. If not supplied in volume licensing by your school or college grant, you will be making some serious debts.

Luckily, most of the software giants behind those software suites like to give them to you without charge.  It’s a simple matter of  investing in the future. If you’re a student, read on to find out just what you need to do to get your hands on some very extraordinary software for students.

MSDN Academic Alliance

The MSDNAA is a Microsoft program in which most major high schools and universities around the world are enrolled. The institutions pay an annual fee, in exchange for which the appropriate (probably not if you’re studying dance) departments can download Microsoft freebies.

software for students

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Depending on the license your college or university chose for, these may include

  • Windows Server
  • Windows 7
  • Visio
  • Visual Studio
  • .NET Enterprise servers
  • MSDN Library
  • Microsoft Project
  • Visual Studio
  • Expression (Web, Blend, Design, Media)
  • SQL Server
  • Exchange Server

With the default program (High School AA) in bold text.

For more information, look for the above certificate on the website of your teaching institution, or perform a Google search for “institution name MSDNAA” (without quotes).

Microsoft DreamSpark

Couldn’t find any link between MSDNAA and your teaching institution? Not to worry, there’s another way to apply for free Microsoft software for students. This program is called Microsoft DreamSpark and invests in high school and college students around the world under the motto “Dream today, create tomorrow“.

free software

These include :

  • Visual Studio 2010 Professional / Express
  • Windows Server 2008 / 2008R2 Standard
  • Windows Phone
  • Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition / 2005
  • Expression Studio 4 Ultimate
  • SQL Server 2008 Developer / Express
  • XNA Game Studio 3.1
  • Robotics Developer Studio 2008 R3
  • Windows Internet Explorer 9
  • Microsoft Virtual PC
  • Windows MultiPoint Mouse SDK
  • Windows Embedded CE 6.0
  • Visual Basic 2008 Express Edition
  • Visual C# 2008 Express Edition
  • Visual C++ 2008 Express Edition
  • Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition
  • Windows Server 2003

You can sign up in the left sidebar of the Microsoft DreamSpark website. There are three ways of getting verified. The first way is to get an access code from a local representative (i.e. applied for by your teacher) and enter it online. Second is if you have an ISIC international students card. The third way is to manually select your school from an incredibly long list of verified colleges.

If you still weren’t able to get verified, take a look at this page. It details a number of alternative ways to apply for DreamSpark, depending on the country.

Autodesk Education Community

Autodesk is highly famed and recognized as technical software for engineers and designers worldwide. It’s the number one choice for civil engineers and one of the most extensive 3D animation software suites. The only real downside is the (hefty) price tag. The Maya animation software retails for over $1,300 apiece. If you’re a student, you qualify for over 25 of these software packets with an extended 3-year academic license.

free software

These include :

  • AutoCAD
  • AutoCAD Architecture
  • AutoCAD Civil 3D
  • AutoCAD Electrical
  • AutoCADAutoCAD Freestyle
  • AutoCAD Mechanical
  • AutoCAD Map 3D
  • AutoCAD MEP
  • AutoCAD P and ID
  • AutoCAD Raster Design
  • AutoCAD Structural Detailing
  • Autodesk 3ds Max Design
  • Autodesk Algor Simulation Professional
  • Autodesk Alias Automotive
  • Autodesk Alias Design for Inventor
  • Autodesk Alias Sketch
  • Autodesk Ecotect Analysis
  • Autodesk Green Building Studio
  • Autodesk Impression
  • Autodesk Inventor Professional
  • Autodesk Inventor Publisher
  • Autodesk Maya
  • Autodesk MotionBuilder
  • Autodesk Mudbox
  • Autodesk Navisworks Manage
  • Autodesk Revit Architecture
  • Autodesk Revit MEP
  • Autodesk Revit Structure
  • Autodesk Robot Structural Analysis Professional
  • Autodesk Showcase
  • Autodesk SketchBook Pro
  • Autodesk Smoke for Mac OS X
  • Autodesk Softimage

To sign up, you just need to enter the email address you got at your university. You will receive a verification reply in a matter of a few hours, if not minutes.

Adobe Education

Lastly, Adobe offers a similar academic program, although it’s not nearly as extensive as the preceding three. So far, no free designer suites, although you can apply for heavy price cuts as a student.

software for students

The software featured are :

  • ColdFusion 9
  • ColdFusion Builder
  • Flash Builder 4

To sign up, you will need valid proof of eligibility. These include student cards, faculty cards, non-faculty employee ID, or a formal letter proving any of them.

Do you know any other pricey software that’s free for your fellow students? Let us know in the comments below!

Image Credit: ShutterStock

  1. Fdddfyh
    November 11, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    opps my mistake

  2. RawalBaig
    November 8, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Hi!
    I want an invitation for Autodesk please somebody invites me at rawalbaig@gmail.com
    I shall be very thankful to you.

  3. RawalBaig
    November 8, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Hi!
    I want an invitation for Autodesk please somebody invites me at rawalbaig@gmail.com
    I shall be very thankful to you.

  4. Jessica Cam W.
    October 18, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    I love this post so much! I was able to get MS Expression Studio for free through DreamSpark! Thanks!

  5. Anand
    October 14, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    i got adobe cd.

  6. Jasjeev Singh Anand
    October 11, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Lucky chaps!

  7. mauleyman
    October 11, 2010 at 9:17 am

    I got Windows 7 Professional free from my University.

  8. Gouthaman Karunakaran
    October 11, 2010 at 5:41 am

    True! My college signed up for the MSDN academic alliance and they gave me Windows 7 Enterprise.

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