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Apps I Wish I Knew About Earlier as a Grad Student

By: Emma Fingler

A big part of grad school is organization, including time, wellness, and resources. Apps can change the way you manage your life, particularly with the overwhelming nature of graduate programs. Apps on your phone, laptop, and search engine (Chrome is my go-to) can help you do this. Below you will find a list of apps that I (and others who contributed to a call for app suggestions) wish I knew about earlier in their time as grad students. While some of these apps require a fee, they all have trial periods. I recommend giving them a try and figuring out if the cost is worth it for you.


An oft overlooked aspect of grad school, physical, mental, and emotional wellness are critical to overall well-being. 

  • Headspace (phone): One of many meditation apps, headspace is ideal for learning to meditate, their SOS meditations and courses on topics like anxiety. [paid]
  • Feel Better (phone or desktop): Created by the founder of Deliciously Ella, Feel Better combines numerous aspects of wellness including exercise, mindfulness, recipes and sleep. [paid]
  • CBT Thought Diary (phone): A place to log your thoughts and mood, you can understand patterns to reframe thinking traps – a common peril of grad students. [paid]
  • Serene (phone): A space for daily check ins, thoughts, journaling and meditation. 


A vital part of grad school is time management. Productivity apps are extremely useful for organizing class notes, paper research, to do lists and more. 

  • Microsoft One Note (desktop): A part of the Microsoft Suite (which is free for students), One Note is ideal for organizing your coursework and research papers, particularly with the addition of different notebooks and sections. 
  • Evernote (desktop, phone and chrome extension): Seamlessly organize your notes in notebooks, capture clips from useful websites and compile research in one place.
  • ToDoIst (phone and desktop): A to do list and planner, this app streamlines your tasks in a way that is easy to manage and view. 
  • Flow (desktop): Using the pomodoro method, this app times your tasks, helping you to stay focused. 
  • Forest (phone): Another app using the pomodoro method, this phone app blocks access to other apps on your phone for set periods of time, increasing your productivity and decreasing distractions. 
  • Focus to do (phone, desktop and chrome extension): The app that does it all, this one combines the pomodoro technique with task lists, synching across all your devices.

Project management

While you might be productive, keeping track of everything is a task in itself. Here are two great options for project management.

  • Freedcamp (desktop and phone): Especially useful if you are working with a group, this project management tool allows you to streamline your work in one place, including task management, workflow, project plans and scheduling among other aspects. 
  • Notion (desktop and phone): This takes a bit of learning but once you get it you won’t look back. A project management tool, it allows you to organize projects, tasks and scheduling. 

Helpful Academic Apps

  • Grammarly (chrome extension): A classic, this chrome extension edits your writing. It is especially helpful in google docs and emails. 
  • Connected Papers (chrome extension): Trying to figure out your lit review? This app helps you find papers that are relevant to your research using an algorithm. 
  • 12ft.io (chrome extension): This app removes paywalls, making it easier to access papers and journals.


For those of us who have pets at home, this is another aspect of life that often needs some TLC. 

  • Pawshake (phone): A great app to find pet sitters, dog walkers and doggy daycare. [cost only to book]
  • Rover (phone): Another option for dog walkers, dog daycare and pet sitting. [cost only to book]
  • Trusted Housesitters: Are you going away for a conference and can’t find anyone to watch your pet? This app has people stay at your home pet sitting while you’re gone. An easy and affordable way to have peace of mind. [annual fee]
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One comment on “Apps I Wish I Knew About Earlier as a Grad Student
  1. Stan says:

    All great tool… And how about a new challenger 😉
    May I share with you one of our articles that talks about it, hope it helps 🙂

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