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The 10 Tools Every Graduate Student Needs

Written by Grad School Center Team We are a passionate team of experienced educators and advisors at GradSchoolCenter.com, dedicated to guiding students through their graduate education journey. Our experts, with advanced degrees across various disciplines, offer personalized advice, up-to-date program information, and practical insights into application processes.

Reviewed by David Krug David Krug is a seasoned expert with 20 years in educational technology (EdTech). His career spans the pivotal years of technology integration in education, where he has played a key role in advancing student-centric learning solutions. David's expertise lies in marrying technological innovation with pedagogical effectiveness, making him a valuable asset in transforming educational experiences. As an advisor for enrollment startups, David provides strategic guidance, helping these companies navigate the complexities of the education sector. His insights are crucial in developing impactful and sustainable enrollment strategies.

Updated: February 28, 2024, Reading time: 19 minutes

Tools Every Graduate Student Needs - featured image

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The educational landscape has fundamentally transformed as a result of the innovation and growth of technology. It makes it possible to raise student achievement regardless of what degree and level you’re studying.

With the use of software, apps, tools, and gadgets, graduate students are steps closer to achieving success in their learning journeys. A reliable internet connection and technological gadgets are all that graduate students require. 

As you start your journey toward higher education, it’s more crucial now than ever to understand what tools you need in order to make your graduate studies organized and productive. Advanced studies such as master’s and doctorate degrees are made simpler by these software and tools, which also benefit all graduate students and even instructors in many ways.

Due to their outstanding user experiences and high learner accomplishments, a number of accessible websites and applications have earned fantastic reputations.

Grad School Center is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Productivity Tools

Productivity tools are programs, apps, or software made to make your graduate tasks easier, making your workflow more efficient. They frequently come with features that let you work together with others, easily access documents, and make charts and graphs to show project planning, progress, and other details.

Microsoft 365

The first in this category is the famous Microsoft 365, which was called Office 365 in the past. This is a collection of productivity tools and software that includes PowerPoint, Excel, Word, and other programs that may be used for your research, presentations, reports, and data analysis as a graduate student. 

Microsoft 365 is a subscription program that guarantees you’ll always have access to the company’s latest, cutting-edge productivity solutions for professionals in business and students of all ages. This is a productivity tool that has positioned businesses, organizations, and non-profits in a more organized manner when it comes to their daily tasks and operations.

This is also perfect for families and individual users. You have the option to save and continue working on any file that you saved online, as long as you’re connected to the internet. 

Included in your monthly or yearly subscriptions are extra cloud storage and cloud-connected technology for real-time file sharing. With a subscription, you may always get the newest features, security updates, and fixes, along with lifetime free tech support. Subscriptions can be paid either monthly or yearly. Up to five additional people can also share these subscription benefits with the Microsoft 365 Family plan.

OneDrive provides cloud storage so that information may be conveniently accessed across several devices. One of the offerings of Microsoft 365 is Microsoft Teams, which provides students and instructors a place to communicate and have discussions.

This is a free feature and is an effective collaboration tool, as teams can send and share files. Whatever projects, tasks, and research you need to work on with a group, you can easily do so with ease of communication thanks to Teams. 

Your applications will continue to advance since there will be constant upgrades and updates. The support center is constantly on the move for bug fixes to ensure you get what you pay for every month. All five subscribed users can simultaneously use your planers if you have the family plan. This is compatible no matter what kind of operating system you use on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. 

Laptop/Tablet

Graduate students rely on this most important gadget as they basically perform almost all tasks in front of the screen. Whether you are more comfortable using a laptop or tablet, it’s useful to have a gadget that you can bring and work on the go. Graduate students can make use of these productivity tools in numerous ways. First and foremost, this is the tool that will encompass all the software essential for your graduate studies.

It’s wise to choose a laptop or tablet with decent storage capacity, as you may need to perform and conduct a lot of research, notes, analysis, and many other tasks at once. 

Some graduate students prefer a tablet because of its lightweight. It’s handy and can fit in smaller bags. It gives them access to their online learning service so they stay up to date on communications from their teacher or classmates, and using a tablet is more user-friendly.

In contrast, a laptop is more capable of meeting all the demands of graduate students when it comes to schoolwork. Laptops have more features that allow you to perform diverse tasks simultaneously. 

In addition to being more efficient for writing papers and creating presentations, laptops can perform all of the standard tasks, such as sending assignments, chatting with teachers, and accessing online learning resources. It comes with keyboards, making it easier to type and take notes without delays.

It also comes with a bigger storage capacity and is popular for its long years of survival despite being used every day by graduate students. 

Now that you’re quite sure how advantageous this tool is, it’s time to ensure to prioritize these features when selecting the best laptop or tablet:

Storage Memory

Laptops come with hard drives, and this is the internal storage space that is crucial in keeping whatever files and documents you want to store for a long time. The good news is that many laptops and tablets come with bigger storage memory than ever before. Go for a high-capacity internal hard drive so you won’t have to upgrade your RAM later on.

Random-Access Memory (RAM)

Related to memory for your gadget, laptops usually come with RAM, and it’s another important consideration. A laptop’s memory determines how fast it will run. The bigger your RAM is, the faster your laptop can work despite opening tabs and apps all at once. 

Cost

This might not be a consideration for some, but many graduate students would want to control their expenses during graduate school. The good news is that today, there are so many laptop options on the market that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a decent laptop or tablet. It’s key to set a budget for your gadget and find options on which one is the best for you and fits within your budget. 

Operating System

The two main and most popular operating systems are Windows and Mac. Most gadgets in the market today use one or another. It may be worthwhile to buy a laptop with a coordinating operating system to ensure consistency throughout your home’s tech ecosystem and ease of use, depending on what other tech items you cannot live without, such as your smartphone or smart home tech.

Screen

The quality and size of the screen for your laptop or tablet is another thing to consider. For instance, those who need to carry the gadget everywhere might want a smaller-sized screen so they won’t have to be very heavy. However, larger screens may be a better fit for those who have problems with their vision. 

Battery

Battery life is another thing worth considering. Graduate students possibly need to be constantly on their gadgets during classes, studies, or laboratory times. Your laptop should be able to last at least seven hours without a charge. Having a strong battery life makes your graduate life more convenient as you won’t have to look for outlets and charging stations all the time. 

Dropbox

There’s nothing more disastrous than losing your research, thesis, notes, or other important files because you didn’t have backup storage. Laptops and tablets can act up, and graduate students are no exception to losing files. You must keep your study materials in many secure locations. Fortunately, one effective online storage app is Dropbox, and it can provide you with up to 2GB of free storage. 

Education has been one of Dropbox’s fastest-growing markets. Individuals and groups may easily explore, manage, review, and distribute complicated files of any kind from any location to any device with Dropbox. Choosing tools that grow with you from the outset is simple, and that’s what Dropbox has been focusing on. 

They have also just formed new alliances with top educational applications that will enhance the day-to-day experiences of academics, researchers, and students on campuses all over the world. In addition to Blackboard and Canvas—their current Dropbox education partners—they will now have access to Pronto, WeVideo, and Klaxoon. These partnerships are focused on the objective of simplifying the management of client information and facilitating collaboration.

Writing Tools

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Software or apps that facilitate writing is referred to as writing tool. These resources are widely used in classroom instruction, individual projects, or thesis writing. Here are some tools that can help graduate students as they write reports, thesis, and research:

Genei.io

Genei.io is pronounced “jee-nee” for those who are perplexed about how to read it. With Genei, you may become a more productive graduate student and feel more confident while taking on academic reading and research assignments. Many graduate students and advanced learners utilize Genei for writing essays, editing projects, making presentations, and writing literary reviews.

Genei is a research tool that uses artificial intelligence to read, annotate, and take notes. It can assist you as a student in organizing your research process, keeping up with readings, and being ready for assignments, essays, presentations, reports, and tests.

To put it briefly, with the help of artificial intelligence technology, Genei can help generate summaries of the books you read and lets you create notes by utilizing its summarization and paraphrasing tools. Genei can assist if you have trouble finishing your reading lists and staying focused on lengthy materials. Particularly if reading intimidates you and you have trouble reading critically.

Aside from the writing support feature, Genei also comes with a time management feature. You may save time and effort by using Genei.io to search for, sort through, and summarize articles swiftly. This will help you quickly get to the main concepts and absorb longer materials.

The trial period is 14 days. A 40% discount is offered for an annual subscription to the academic edition. You can subscribe to the basic plan for $5 per month, and the premium version is $20 per month. 

More benefits and features of Genei.io:

Notes Compilation

Without the need to invest in highlighters and markers, you can annotate notes through Genei. Underline and emphasize sections through this app feature. Notes can be generated in the notepad for specific documents or the whole project folder. From the document overview, you can click to add the AI-powered summaries and keywords to the notepad.

You may also choose which paragraphs to summarize, paraphrase, or write directly into your notepad. By just choosing the pertinent information in your notebook, you may get to the source of each of these notes. These notes will all continue to be connected to it. 

Effective Reading

Reading lengthy articles, columns, books, and research papers are all expected tasks during graduate school. Genei can help you with all that reading. You may read 70% faster using Genei, an artificial intelligence tool that creates a summary of the stuff you’ve read.

In the Document Overview section, there will be a provision of keywords used, summaries, a document overview, and references. Genei’s updated summary procedure speeds up the process of extracting information. 

Organization

Your reading material, comments, and notes may all be maintained in one place using Genei’s document management and file storage system capabilities. You may organize your reading materials into projects and folders, and you can mark items as read or unread to monitor your progress.

This provides you with a location to arrange all of the readings required for the assignments, examinations, and modules. Genei is an all-in-one study workspace that lets you read, annotate, take notes, and organize your work using draggable tabs in addition to storing files. 

Google Docs

Graduate students are expected to do a lot of academic writing. Another tool in your arsenal is Google Docs. The teacher can review materials shared by the students for feedback and editing recommendations. Students with access to the internet can work on documents from any location.

Public document sharing is another option, and everything is immediately saved automatically, so you won’t have to fear losing all your hard work constantly.

Academic writing trends are focused on tighter rules against plagiarism in addition to content quality, correctness, and language and mechanics. Because of this, the top academic writing tools, such as grammar checks, citation generators, and plagiarism detectors, are your allies in producing excellent academic papers. 

Graduate students who need to collaborate can find Google Docs very useful and effective. Besides, it is a free online word-processing application. Teams may work concurrently on a single document because of its real-time collaboration and synchronization features. 

Data loss is avoided with automatic saving. You may view documents anywhere, at any time, using a laptop or mobile device, and it works with all other Google apps. Members of the group no longer need to wait for one another to update their sections of the presentation. Files may now be downloaded and uploaded many times, as well as sent and received by email.

Furthermore, it’s very user-friendly, even for those who are not tech-savvy, as it doesn’t require you to download anything. 

Aside from the features and benefits mentioned, Google Docs make it possible to perform the following roles:

Copyleaks

It is considered academic dishonesty to plagiarize.  Academic and research institutes take plagiarism very seriously and punish offenders harshly. Graduate students must ensure that all their forms of writing are done on their own and not copied elsewhere.

While it’s unavoidable not to refer to other research papers, paraphrasing and copying its ideas and context can still be flagged as plagiarized. Hence, it’s crucial to download a plagiarism checker app.

Some graduate students are challenged with plagiarism issues. Copyleaks is an effective plagiarism checker that allows you to copy your texts into their site and they can match and check it online to see if there are sources that have the same content.

You may guard against possible copying by using the Copyleaks plagiarism analyzer. Trillions of pages are swiftly and effectively checked for plagiarism in various forms using our AI-powered software.

You may be sure that all of your writing and academic work is unique by utilizing plagiarism detection software like Copyleaks. These technologies will not only save time but also offer other advantages that can help graduate students stay out of problems with their advisors and professors.

In actuality, a lot of students prefer not to employ plagiarism detectors as they think their study is unique and doesn’t require any evidence. However, they might easily face harsh consequences if they are found to have plagiarized.

Some plagiarism-detecting software provides larger cross-reference libraries, which is an amazing benefit. When utilizing these tools to assess your graduate studies, for instance, keep in mind that many of the papers and books they include are not accessible online. This information cannot be copied and pasted into Google.

Tools for identifying plagiarism in written work include the ability to browse the internet and search databases. As a matter of fact, many applications will search through previously submitted assignments from other students. These tools allow you to highlight any term or sentence that can be found online and compare information from the internet so that you won’t miss any instances of plagiarism in your academic writing.

OmniOutliner

One effective step in academic writing is doing an outline. This makes the entire writing process easier. With the help of OmniOutliner, you can arrange your ideas, assignments, and projects. Make a to-do list for today with ease and manage a project from anywhere. Collaborate with other app users, and share and update your outlines online.

OmniOutliner is an outliner that helps with information organization and bullet-point planning for easy projects. To make relationships between various pieces easier to perceive, use outlines with numerous levels. To each piece in your outline, you may annotate it and attach PDFs, audio files, videos, and photographs. 

As an academic writer, an outliner tool like this is very useful in all your writing tasks and projects. Here are more features that you can take advantage of:

Research Tools

Research Tools - Image

Graduate students need to conduct a lot of research. Fortunately, app developers have launched many effective research tools. Any instrument used to test a variable or gather the data required to address a research issue is a data collection or research tool. The researcher can accomplish goals and save time by carefully choosing the data-gathering instruments.

Mendeley

Researchers and graduate students can utilize Mendeley the most. It is an effective resource for research papers. It facilitates the finding of data and the organization and sharing of research articles. Users may import desktop documents in real-time, browse cross-publisher content, and save, note, and cite references. In fact, it’s most famous for its reference management use.

It is quite simple to utilize Mendeley as a reference management software program. Additionally, it is free and incredibly helpful, particularly for instructors and students. More than 7000 reference styles are available for citations in Mendeley.

Authors who wish to publish in journals with specific reference criteria will find this simpler. The simplicity of extracting PDF data into Mendeley is another benefit of utilizing the Mendeley program for online citations. Additionally, Mendeley makes writing data manually easier by allowing data to be entered directly through PDFs. 

Here are some features of Mendeley:

Google Scholar

Google provides a free online research tool called Google Scholar.  With the use of this service, graduate students may look up academic publications, scientific articles, journals, white papers, and patents online. It searches academic repositories in addition to popular databases, increasing the likelihood that you will locate the full-text PDF of the research paper you are looking for.

To receive notifications from Google Scholar whenever a new paper is published in your field or by one of your co-authors, you may set up keyword alerts. 

Google Scholar will arrange papers and articles according to the labels that you provide. Important details about the article, including the citation number, versions, and other cited sources, are displayed by Google Scholar.

Additionally, Google Scholar notifies you if another person has referenced your work. Citations are available for download in many different forms, including MLA, APA, Chicago, and Harvard. Scholars find this research tool indispensable for their research. 

Networking/Social Media Tools

Developing new connections and strengthening current ones are the goals of networking. This is an essential process for graduate students. These may come from business partners, graduate classmates, industry contacts, professors, academic advisors, or even friendships. You can advance rapidly in your job in the future with the help of these new contacts.

Social media platforms allow you to do effective networking online. When utilized responsibly, social media may also support graduate students’ learning, critical thinking, and development of skills applicable to any work setting.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an effective platform for networking with organizations and businesses. You may join groups and follow individuals who share your interests. Whether you’re pursuing a master’s or doctor’s degree, LinkedIn offers a lot of networking opportunities.

Benefits of being proactive on LinkedIn:

Facebook

There are many practical experiences graduate students have while utilizing social media for learning. Students may use Facebook for academic purposes as well, such as group projects, conversations, and obtaining further help from others.

To gain input from their peers, students can form Facebook groups and pose questions to one another. They may trade links, including videos, via private conversations and on the wall of the group page. When a student runs into problems when studying or getting ready for an assignment, they may use Facebook to ask questions, exchange information, and talk with other students.

Instagram

Some research shows that Instagram boosts students’ enthusiasm for learning and involvement in class activities. Graduate students are usually adult learners who enjoy this social media platform filled with diverse posts and users all over the world.

Users prefer to use Instagram for educational and language learning reasons, making it the most often utilized social media site. Based on the accomplishment ratings, it was also discovered that Instagram helped students learn languages, gain broader insights, and become open-minded to other points of view and cultures. All these are beneficial in graduate studies.  

Tools Every Graduate Student Needs - fact

Every aspect of people’s lives has been transformed by technology, and education is no different. You should weigh the benefits and drawbacks of any educational software or tool you are thinking of implementing for your graduate school journey. Hopefully, you can choose the best tools and improve your graduate experience even more. 

Additional Resources:

We’re certain of one thing—your search for more information on picking the best graduate degree or school landed you here. Let our experts help guide your through the decision making process with thoughtful content written by experts.