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5 Great Apps for Grad Students

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Emily Newhook  for a guest post on apps for busy students. Emily is an outreach coordinator for the MHA degree program from The George Washington University, MHA@GW. Outside of work, she enjoys writing, film studies and powerlifting. Follow Emily on Twitter and Google+.

Balancing grad school with a job and other obligations is no easy task. Fortunately, there are a growing number of apps that help busy grad students leverage technology to better streamline their workload, improve focus and increase productivity. Here’s a look at five that tap into some of most common grad student stressors, from managing your sleep cycle to backing up your thesis. 
  • EasyBib: When classes require research papers with sources in APA, Chicago or MLA formats, properly citing and formatting the bibliography can be a time-intensive proposition. EasyBib is an online tool that assists with citing websites, books, newspaper articles and more (with more than 60 types of source options in total). The free basic version helps with MLA citations, while EasyBib Pro helps with APA and Chicago/Turabian citations and offers dynamic outlining to help simplify the writing process. EasyBib Pro offers a free three-day trial. After that, you can pay $4.99 monthly, $14.99 semi-yearly or $19.99 yearly. 
  •  Focus Time — Activity Tracker and Pomodoro Timer: When tasks like research papers, exam studying and work deadlines pile up, focusing on one thing at a time can prove challenging. The Pomodoro Technique is a time-management method that uses 25-minute work sessions separated by 5-minute breaks. The premise is that short, focused sessions with breaks can prove more productive than longer sessions that lead to mental fatigue and lost focus. This iOS app encourages users to choose a task, set the timer and work for 25 minutes before taking a break. Every fourth session, you take a longer break. The app also synchs with iCloud so that users can view accomplishments on all their devices. Focus Time costs $4.99.
  • SyncBack Freeware: Ever lost a homework assignment to a computer meltdown? Or needed to access class notes on your laptop while traveling but it was saved on your computer at home? Enter SyncBack Freeware, a free Windows tool that backs up documents and synchronizes between devices so that busy students and professionals will always have access to the files they need. With SyncBack, you can schedule backups and process unlimited filename lengths, avoiding a last-minute scramble to redo a homework assignment or search frantically for a missing term paper. 
  •  Sleep Cycle AlarmFor graduate programs that demand unpredictable hours like medicine or health care administration, it’s crucial that you get enough sleep to maintain mental acuity and good health – or at least ensure that the little sleep you do get is restful. The Sleep Cycle Alarm is an app that can analyze your sleep and wake you during your lightest sleep phase in the hopes that you’ll rise rejuvenated and ready for the day ahead. Sleep Cycle costs $0.99. 
  • Outliner: Creating a logical, well-organized research paper is challenging for some students. If fall into that camp, then you might benefit from an app to help organize your thoughts. Outliner is an iOS app that can help you create outlines full of notes, structured lists or tasks. Search and tag your outlines, drag and drop items within your outlines, get a quick overview of projects in progress and more. The app costs $4.99. 

These are just a few of the many tools that can help grad students stay organized and on top of their coursework and other responsibilities. 

Are there other apps you’d recommend? Leave a comment and let us know!

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