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Getting through graduate school is certainly no walk in the park. Most grad students are eager to get all the help they can when it comes to staying.


Read on to learn about just a few of the challenges that grad students encounter, the ways that digital apps can boost your productivity, and 15 of the best productivity apps for grad students to consider. Whether you want to get organized, manage your time efficiently, or generally enhance your academic performance, there is an app for you!


Why Do I Need to Stay Organized in Grad School?


Want to know how to increase productivity as a grad student? First, you need to know how to organize schoolwork for academic success. Students who remain organized throughout the term tend to work more efficiently, manage their time better, and enjoy lower levels of stress. From planning each stage of graduate dissertations to ensuring that tuition fees and other grad school financial obligations are in order, the power of organization simply cannot be overstated.


Managing Productivity With a Job in Graduate School


When it comes to staying productive in grad school, things get a lot trickier when you are working at the same time. Unfortunately, this problem is all too common because many grad students return to school after spending any number of years as professionals in their chosen fields.


Grad students who are working, whether full or part time, must take greater care to develop detailed schedules and stick to them, engage in time blocking to keep various responsibilities separate, and set realistic goals with a clear set of priorities.


A good productivity planner, digital or otherwise, can aid in all these endeavors.


How Can Apps Help Keep Me Organized?


Digital apps can boost productivity and help you stay organized in several ways. Countless grad students have found that they offer significant advantages over traditional organizational tools such as handwritten notebooks that are bulky and unwieldy and can easily get lost or stolen.


Digital apps, by contrast, present many modern conveniences. Rather than lugging a range of cumbersome books, papers, and other physical materials around campus, you can simply log on to an app on your smart phone to access necessary information and adhere to your productivity schedule wherever you happen to be.


Mobile devices and digital apps are paramount in helping grad students keep organized. In the words of the leading education technology publication EdTech Digest, the use of the right apps has tremendous potential to “positively affect [students’] access to information, retention rates, and academic success.”


The Best 15 Apps for Organization and Productivity


Considering the sheer number of apps on the market today, deciding which ones to download can be intimidating. Wise grad students will ask for recommendations from their classmates, but different people are bound to need and value different types of productivity apps.


No matter what you’re looking for in an app, the following list should have something to help. To make things as easy as possible, we have clearly labeled each app with the primary function that it performs. 


1. Penultimate - Note Taking

While some people are quite comfortable typing their school notes on a laptop or mobile device, others find that nothing quite replaces the versatility and ease of taking notes by hand. Penultimate is an  convenient and intuitive notetaking app that allows you to scribble on your iPad with a stylus just as you would on a paper notebook.


2. Evernote - Syncing Notes

If you study and complete assignment work on multiple devices, you don’t want to hassle with manually importing all those notes from device to device. Evernote automatically completes this transfer process, allowing you to concentrate on notetaking. This app also includes a handy audio recorder that you can use to record lecture highlights and brainstorm ideas for your next paper.


3. IStudiez Pro - Assignment Tracking

Having trouble keeping track of all your assignments? Wondering which one you should be working on today? IStudiez Pro syncs with your calendar to keep track of your assignments and help you prioritize them. Use it to visualize your academic week and alert you when assignments are near due.


4. Asana - Group Work Tasks

Depending on the specific academic discipline it covers, the typical grad school program will require a decent amount of group work. Asana allows you to plan, organize, and track your next group project. From assigning tasks and subtasks to monitoring progress on a dashboard display, this app holds each team member accountable for moving the project forward.


5. Slack - Communication Hub

For team communication and collaboration that goes beyond the group project, Slack is the top app available today. With a platform that resembles a social network, this app encourages collaboration by making online interactions quick, easy, and even fun. You’ll never want to email a classmate again after trying Slack.


6. Keynote - Presentation Software

Not only are laptops cumbersome to haul around, but they can get in the way when you are trying to use them for a class presentation. A close cousin to PowerPoint, Keynote allows you to design and display presentation visuals and audio using a mobile device.


7. Outliner - Writing Assistant

Any good college writing instructor will tell you that planning a paper is often more than half the battle. When you have a solid outline in place, many papers can almost begin to write themselves. Outliner is designed to transform your disorganized thoughts into a cohesive outline that will serve as a framework for a well-ordered paper, project, or presentation.


8. Google Drive - Document Storage

When it comes to cloud-based storage that is both highly secure and offers convenient access, it is tough to beat Google Drive. Want to share and collaborate on projects with your classmates? Google Drive has you covered, offering access to files from any location to users with the proper security credentials.


9. PDF Expert - Annotate PDFs

In the words of the independent authority Grad School Center, “PDF Expert is a must-have for every graduate student.” This app helps you organize and annotate the avalanche of PDF files that you must juggle as a grad student. This app also synchronizes PDF files across all your devices.


10 InstaGrok - Educational Search Engine

Like Google, InstaGrok is an internet search engine. However, InstaGrok is an educational search engine that homes in on academic information that ranges from general concepts to specific facts and statistics. In addition to print resources, this app can instantly connect you to a broad array of online images and videos.


11. Encyclopedia Britannica - Largest Encyclopedia

While Wikipedia might be a quick and easy way to source basic information on a variety of topics, this publicly edited website simply isn’t authoritative enough for graduate school. This is where the Encyclopedia Britannica app comes in. A trusted name in reference books for centuries, Britannica currently supports the world’s largest online encyclopedia and offers easy mobile access through its digital app.


12. SyncBackFree - Storage Platform

If your cloud-based storage needs exceed the capabilities of Google Drive, you will want to consider installing the SyncBackFree app. SyncBackFree not only synchronizes stored files across multiple devices but allows you to schedule regular backups and rename multiple files to avoid loss and confusion.


13. Instapaper - Offline Reading

Although your campus probably offers widespread wireless coverage, you simply cannot expect to remain connected to the internet everywhere you go. Thankfully, the app Instapaper allows you to easily transfer web content (ranging from articles and emails to pictures and videos) to your mobile device for offline storage and access.


14. Mendeley - Research Assistant

You can think of Mendeley as a personal research assistant that aids you with all aspects of research and source attribution. After helping you collect information by browsing a catalog of more than 30 million academic sources, Mendeley can help you evaluate, share, and cite these sources. It can also help you organize these sources into personal libraries that serve your unique purposes.


15. Sleep Cycle Alarm - Healthy Sleep

With all that they must do on a daily basis, grad students often sacrifice sleep. Sleep Cycle Alarm can help you get the quality sleep you need by thoroughly analyzing your sleep patterns overnight. It also helps you change any habits and routines that might be negatively affecting your sleep patterns. 


Go to Grad School Ready for Success


Manage your goals and boost your productivity with a graduate school that wants to support your success and move your career forward. At the University of the Cumberlands, we offer a broad spectrum of graduate degree programs in areas ranging from business and leadership to health and medical science. To request more information about any University of the Cumberlands academic program, click here.