The 5 Best Pens for Taking Notes in Your College Classes

in College Tips
Taking clear, detailed notes is critical to your success in any class. Using a good pen can help!

Taking clear, detailed notes is critical to your success in any class. Using a good pen can help.

College students, a good pen could boost your grades. Hear us out.

If you were to walk into any lecture hall today, you'd see a smattering of students typing notes on sleek laptops and tablets. Many students, though, still see the value in taking notes by hand. (In fact, recently we asked our readers how they prefer to take their notes and most responded that the benefits of jotting them down – such as improved retention and easier recall – outweigh those of typing them up.)

What these note-takers know is that with a clean ream of lined paper, a 3-ringed binder, and a fresh highlighter, it's possible to pen notes that are every bit as neat, organized, and re-readable as those typed into a Word doc.

But the most important ingredient for taking effective notes by hand? The perfect pen.

Think about it. The best pens facilitate creativity, organization, and productivity. Smooth ink encourages neat writing and attention to detail, both of which yield terrific study material. You can pen notes in used textbooks, too — nothing beats the relief you feel when you flip to a tricky chapter and find some former owner's notes clarifying the hardest concepts. The physical act of taking notes by hand helps you more effectively absorb info and make connections, and you'll take better notes if you have the best pens in hand. Better notes = better grades.

We did our homework and identified the 5 best pens for taking notes in your college lectures. These ballpoint, rollerball, and gel pens are easy to find in stores and priced to fit a college student's budget.

uni-ball Jetstream Stick Roller Ball Pen 1. uni-ball Jetstream Stick Roller Ball Pen
The uni-ball Jetstream is not one of those pens that you'll want to lend out to acquaintances – or even to friends. The rollerball tip produces a highly pigmented ribbon of ink that dries so fast even lefties can end the day with smear-free fingers. They're ideal for long lectures because they require minimal pressure from your hand to dispense ink in a precise, steady stream.
Pilot G2 Retractable Premium Gel Ink Roller Ball Pen 2. Pilot G2 Retractable Premium Gel Ink Roller Ball Pen
Though we admit to being a fan of a thicker, richer ink line, we also love the delicate point on these Pilot gel rollers. In our opinion, they're the best pens for writing in a tight space, like when you need to label a detailed diagram or squeeze notes into tiny margins. The padded barrel is comfortable to hold and, like all good retractable pens, they make a satisfying click when opened and closed.
Zebra F-301 Retractable Ballpoint Pen 3. Zebra F-301 Retractable Ballpoint Pen
At just 0.7mm, this Zebra ballpoint is another excellent fine point option on our list of best pens for note-taking. The non-smudging, quick-drying ink is critical in situations when you're cranking out notes from a fast-talking professor. Also, this pen is unique in that it has a smooth plastic (instead of rubber) grip, so it can slip in and out of pockets and pen sleeves without getting snagged.
Pentel EnerGel Deluxe RTX Gel Ink Pen 4. Pentel EnerGel Deluxe RTX Gel Ink Pen
If you're the type who utilizes colored ink to differentiate within your notes, these are the best pens for you. The vibrant colors dry quickly, and the tapered metal tip regulates ink flow regardless of whether you tend to press hard or apply pen to paper with a lighter touch. The saturated green and purple hues are will help some notes stand out without distracting too much from the whole.
BIC Round Stic Ball Pen 5. BIC Round Stic Ball Pen
These made it to our list of best pens because they're a staple in the office. We've been out of college for a while, it's true, but we're big on creative meetings that require lots of manual note-taking. Besides writing smoothly and drying quickly, another perk to these pens is that they're ridiculously cheap considering the quality – so no friendships will end over any pen thievery.

Admittedly, we're nuts about pens. But from what we've seen, it seems like treating yourself to a set of smooth-writing, smudge-free pens will improve your note-taking, studying and, ultimately, your grades. When you choose to take notes by hand, you're already helping yourself retain concepts and make connections.

Next time you're out shopping for school supplies, keep this list of best pens in mind.

Image source: Flickr