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10 Best Apps for Grad Students

UL Grad School -- 01/09/2017

Grad school is hard, so you need the best tools at your side to keep thriving. Thankfully most of us are carrying around mini-computers in our pockets. Here’s a rundown of 10 best apps for grad school, from productivity-boosters to apps to help you unwind. 

First, a few apps to help you keep that GPA up and your research on track.

Companies worldwide use Asana to track work and stay on task. Because group projects can be the norm in grad school, Asana provides a way to task out projects and stay organized. It’s easy to organize your efforts by projects, tasks, and subtasks, plus dashboards show your team’s progress. All this will help you avoid that moment when someone says, “Wait, I thought you built the presentation!” It’s free for up to 15 people per team, and they offer iOS, iPad, and Android apps.

Grad school = a massive amount of notes, and Evernote is one of the best apps for grad students to keep all of those pearls of wisdom in one place. It’s easily searchable, notes sync across devices, and the notebook organization helps keep your proverbial ducks in a row. The best part for grad students though? The audio recorder--for that one professor who speaks at a million WPM. It’s available for iOS and Android.

Sometimes that paper or group presentation is too big to stuff in a Slack message. For those times, there’s Dropbox. The more friends you refer, the more storage space you earn, but keep an eye on that storage space limit. Desktop and mobile apps are available for a broad range of platforms, which is a huge help when you need that paper on the go.

Slack’s mission is to eliminate email in the workplace, and we can probably all agree an email-free grad school would be beautiful. The Slack app is user-friendly and you can add multiple Slack teams. Slack uses a social-network style “channel” approach to team collaboration, messaging is quick and painless, and you may find yourself in late night GIF battles with the Giphy integration. Apps are available for the gamut of devices, even Windows Phone or Linux if you’re into that kind of thing. 

Staying organized is the first step to success, and iStudiez is one of the best apps for grad students to stay on track. iStudiez can help you put together your class schedules, review your research and assignments, and even track your GPA with a built-in GPA calculator. The “light” version is free, Pro costs $4.99, and it’s available for iOS, MacOS, Windows, and Android.

Often the toughest part of writing a grad school paper, chapter, or planning a major research project is nailing the outline, and Outliner is here to save the day. Outliner helps you get your thoughts from your brain into a cohesive plan. It syncs with Dropbox and has sharing capabilities for group projects. Outliner costs $4.99 and runs on iPhone and iPad.

The last productivity app for grad students may prompt flashbacks to the ‘90s (in a good way). Habitica calls itself “your life—the role-playing game” and gamifies getting stuff done. As you accomplish school-related and everyday tasks, you earn gold. (How about a coin for getting out of bed? Count us in.) Hitting your goals keeps your health up, and teaming up with friends on quests keeps you accountable and motivated. Free for iOS and Android. Level up!

You’re sitting at your desk, papers organized in front of you, textbook open, and you’re ready to start writing the next chapter of your dissertation on your laptop. Five minutes later, you find yourself scrolling through your endless news feed on Facebook. Keep the distractions at bay with Forest, an app and browser extension for Chrome and Firefox that lets you grow a tiny, adorable virtual tree for every half hour you stay focused on the task at hand.

And now, since all work and no get the idea, here’s a few apps for “downtime.”

For the musically inclined (and wannabes), Triller turns anyone into a lip-sync legend. Pick any song in your library, plan out your shots, and go to town with multiple takes. When you’re done, Triller will splice your takes together for the best possible video, and you can swap out takes if that one look isn’t just right. It’s a great way to get out of the library, jam to your favorite tunes and die laughing with your friends.

Shutterbugs will love this free 3-D photo app that captures the world around you in all its glorious 3 dimensions. Just hold a button and walk around whatever you’re capturing, and watch the magic. That beautiful clock tower or campus building out your window? It’s begging to be “Fyused.” 

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