Most people see YouTube as a big distraction. Easy to get chased down the autoplay hole, you finally emerge at 2 a.m. wondering how you got from Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande’s Stuck with U music video to a compilation of Timothée Chalamet speaking French. While that includes one side of the billions of videos shared on YouTube, it can also act as a platform for ordinary people to share their passions — from fitness videos and DIY tutorials to original music or movie reviews.
Check out these 15 channels that college students must know about.
1. Thomas Frank
Let’s face it — we all deal with moments of exhaustion and lack of motivation from time to time. Luckily, Thomas Frank posts videos focused on productivity and organization to help us overcome those moments. From “How to Actually Go to Bed on Time” to “5 Habits That Will Make Your Average Day Happier,” Thomas has solutions for all the problems that seem to be slowing any college student’s life down. “I like Thomas Frank because he has so many videos that are helpful for studying more efficiently and being more productive. I struggle a lot with time management, so I find his videos really helpful,” University of Maryland first-year Jackson Dacy said. To boost up his validity as a college advice guru, he also has a website called College Info Geek, which offers even more resources to help students such as a productivity masterclass and his book, 10 Steps to Earning Awesome Grades (While Studying Less). One of his most popular videos talks about how to learn faster using the Feynman Technique, which posits that we learn concepts best when given the task to explain it. Check out his channel to learn how to live life smarter, not harder.
In a moment of looking for more effective and organized ways to study, Kaitlyn Films, aka Kaitlyn Ringe, has got you covered. Kaitlyn’s “College Vlog” and “Study w/ Me” series provide a great look into a day in the life of a college student with actually effective and beautiful notes. She shows viewers the products she uses to take notes and offers tips on how to study smarter and more productively. As a first-generation college student at Michigan State University, Kaitlyn hopes her channel acts as guidance coming from a friend or older sister. So, whip out your bullet journal and colorful pens while you watch Kaitlyn’s videos because productivity naturally awakens when watching her. No doubt, she’ll turn your college life into a craft that you masterfully tackle each day.
If the 10-minute walk to the rec center feels like you’ve just completed a mountain hike, try a workout in your home. Maddie Lymburner, a health and exercise guru, posts at-home workouts regularly that cater to a limited home gym. She organizes her videos into playlists for the different types of workouts she offers for abs, upper body, lower body, full body, cardio or stretching. Maddie also includes playlists for apartment-friendly workouts and no equipment workouts. She also has a second channel where she posts vegan recipes and travel vlogs, so what more can you ask for from a YouTuber who has the full health package? Recently, her song workouts have grown in popularity because of their short duration and the popular music she features. Her most popular song workouts include a full-body cardio workout to Boss Bitch by Doja Cat, a booty/leg workout to Savage by Megan Thee Stallion and an ab workout to Señorita by Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello. No matter your fitness level, her videos will have you sweating and striving to become your best self.
Looking to go vegan but don’t want to get stuck eating salad and tofu every day for the rest of your life? YouTuber Bonny Rebecca makes veganism look way more colorful and tastier than that. Her “What I Ate Today” series provides easy, healthy recipes for viewers to follow on a daily basis. So, you don’t have to worry about this whole vegan commitment lasting a whopping 12 hours before you run for the hills in search of the nearest Korean BBQ joint. She also posts meal prep videos, perfect for students that might be new to the kitchen or to cooking for themselves full-time. Check out her videos if you want to switch up your diet and invest in a healthier future.
5. Elliot Choy
Vanderbilt student Elliot Choy distinguishes himself amongst college students for his day in the life videos, but his vlogs don’t just limit themselves to one college. Elliot has videos at colleges across the country including Vanderbilt University, University of Southern California, University of California Los Angeles and Harvard University. Anytime he visits a friend at their college, he vlogs about their experiences, providing a first-hand account of their typical day. “I like the videos he makes where it is the day in the life at other colleges. It’s interesting to see how other students at other colleges go about their days,” Grinnell College fourth-year Raghu Inturi said. He even has videos of him abroad in Barcelona and Korea, making his life the “David Dobrik” of college travel videos that will make you want an extravagant life like his.
Interested in ballet? What about the bug that poops candy? TED-Ed has it all, no topic too weird for its straightforward and informative channel. The short, animated videos span a wide range of topics mirroring mini podcasts, but with visuals, it takes your learning to the next level. From “This sea creature breathes through its butt” to “Why isn’t the Netherlands underwater,” TED-Ed features interesting topics for everyone. The videos generally run from five to six minutes long, so they won’t bore you like the eight-page paper you’re avoiding probably does. The channel also organizes its videos into playlists, so you can find the ones you feel most drawn to. Topics of some of the playlists include “The World’s People and Places,” “How Things Work,” and “Awesome Nature,” among many others. You could easily get lost in these videos for hours and counteract moments of intense procrastination by actually building your knowledge.
7. David Dobrik
Looking for quality 4 minute and 20-second videos that give you FOMO as you reminisce upon Teslas gifted for birthdays, roommate pranks and crazy mishaps? David Dobrik’s channel satisfies all these criteria. David is widely known in the mainstream media as a hilarious Vine star turned YouTube vlogger. “I like watching his vlogs because they are never too long and are normally pretty funny,” John Carroll University first-year Jen Massucci said. His channel has over 17 million subscribers and keeps you laughing throughout his videos. His vlog titled, “WORLD RECORD FOAM EXPERIMENT!! (INSANE),” features the well-known elephant toothpaste experiment but on a world record-breaking level. He also took a convertible through a car wash, surprised people with Justin Bieber and rode a jet pack in a pool — so yeah, I think that speaks for itself. David’s channel will have you instantly cracking up at all his outrageous adventures and the life that he lives with no regrets.
If listening to the same songs shuffle through your Spotify playlist has become old news, listen to them in a new light with J.Fla as your main singer. J.Fla, a South Korean singer/songwriter, covers popular music and has released numerous EPs and albums featuring covers and original songs. Her most popular covers range from Dance Monkey by Tones and I, FRIENDS by Marshmello and Anna-Marie and Billie Jean by Michael Jackson. Check out her channel to hear her beautiful voice and try a new alternative to the same old.
9. Alex Meyers
Alex Meyers’ videos consist of a “weird little angry baby dude” cartoon who voices his commentary on popular movies and TV shows — entertainment at its finest. “It’s fun to watch someone make fun of terrible TV shows,” Grinnell College first-year Paul Hansen said. He even takes the time to animate parts of the movie in his cartoon style, making his videos all the more hilarious. From Disney movies like Lemonade Mouth to Netflix-made rom-coms like To All the Boys 2, Alex has reviewed them all. Whether you like the movies and shows he reviews or not, you’re bound to be interested in something he reviews — his cartoons and commentary will have you cracking up, nodding along and gaining a newfound love for his animated character.
Life got you down? Need a pep talk from someone who just gets it? Aileen Xu feels like the virtual friend we all need. Her channel focuses mainly on self-love and personal growth. She offers advice about how to overcome self-doubt, heal emotional trauma, stop self-sabotaging yourself and more — topics every college student wrestles with. Her pastel theme, calming music and relatable topics assure viewers that everything will be alright. Lavendaire goes beyond YouTube too; Aileen created a blog that expands on the ideas she talks about in her videos. When you feel like you need to destress and declutter your life, Lavendaire offers a great escape with valuable take-aways.
11. Lilly Singh
Lilly Singh, aka Superwoman, identifies as a veteran YouTube creator. Her channel features funny skits like “If Life Were a Game Show” and “If Bollywood Songs Were Rap” that will keep you entertained and coming back for more. Lilly’s satirical takes on different aspects of the real world will make your forget your problems in an instant. She offers the perfect break from your problems. “I like the content she creates and how it gives me a chance to relax and not think about the stuff I have going on in my everyday life,” University of Central Florida fourth-year Shay Wilson said. In her video “My Family Sucks at Game Night,” Lilly dresses up and takes on stereotypical personalities of her Indian family members for a game night. Her channel guarantees some laughs, a new perspective into her life and a humorous voice we all need on those uneventful Friday nights.
For all things beauty and fashion, bestdressed creates just the content you didn’t know you needed. Ashley, owner of bestdressed and a fashion vlogger from Los Angeles, posts clothing hauls, thrifting tips and outfit ideas as well as advice on beauty, insecurity and body image. She spends time talking about her own experiences with imposter syndrome, body insecurity and beauty standards, which creates a more personal connection between the screen and viewer. “Ashley’s content is relatable, and she is incredibly talented while also incredibly humble. She went to college and just moved to NYC alone, and it’s just very inspiring to watch her. I enjoy fashion, but I watch her content for her,” University of California, Berkley second-year Samhita Sen said. Her videos make you want to clean out your closet and buy a whole new wardrobe…which could either be fun, dangerous or both.
The School of Life applies philosophy and psychology to real-world problems, helping its viewers work through a number of relatable issues. It examines positive topics like love and happiness as well as the not so pleasant like loneliness, anxiety and even selfishness. Their most popular videos include “5 Ways to Spot Emotional Immaturity,” “Don’t Worry, No One Cares” and “The High Price We Pay for Our Fear of Loneliness.” If you want advice on, well anything, and basically want to be schooled on content our college books can’t teach us, check out The School of Life.
Looking to release some creative energy? Dying to try that TikTok trend you saw last week? Lauren Riihimaki’s channel will teach you how. Take on unconventional habits and hobbies like learning how to tie-dye, thrift like a pro and redo your room on a budget. “Not only does she create amazing DIY’s but she also vlogs. I love her personality, creativity and vibes,” Delaware State University fourth-year Samantha Carter said. She also has a blog that organizes all her crafts and links to her stationary, craft kits and jewelry retailers — so you can directly follow and and rock her DIYs all on your own. No matter what project you start with LaurDIY, her channel will surely keep you busy and reawaken that creative bone every college student feels they’ve lost.