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Prep for an advanced degree with these iPhone apps

by Megan O'Neil

Perhaps you are looking to gain additional skills or beef up a resume. Maybe you are pursuing a bigger paycheck, or a new career entirely. Whatever your reason for enrolling in graduate school it means a big investment of time and money, and you want to make sure you do it right.

Research is key. We have assembled a list of iPhone apps that will help you navigate the application process while also preparing you to be successful once you have arrived.

A positive way to start the graduate school experience is by reading up on programs and projects, and the names behind them. The Grad School Planner app ($0.99) is a good all-points source on the graduate school scene. It includes a streaming feed on recent program news that can be tailored to your geographic location. It also has regularly updated articles that can help you maximize your graduate experience by landing funding and maximizing study time.

If you are wading through MBA options, try the free Which MBA? app from The Economist. It opens with two options. The first directs you to The Economist magazine rankings of MBA programs at universities both in the United States and abroad. The second is an interactive feature that allows you to enter criteria including geographic region, tuition and duration and then spits out options. Programs are easily favorited and stored away for further review. Another feature lets you search for MBA programs by geographic location alone, useful for someone who is rooted in place by work or family.

Once you have created a short list of programs that you want to apply to, you need to start assembling the pieces. That includes top exam scores. GRE by Dictionary.com provides an educational and entertaining vocabulary game to help you master the words that are most tested during the verbal portion of the crucial test. Gameplay consists of a series of flashcards with multiple choice answers, and includes defitions and audio for mastering pronunciation. We should mention, though, that after the first 25 words you have to pay to continue playing.

If you are not already familiar with Blackboard, you probably will be once you start school. The online, education-focused content management platform is used by hundreds of universities across the country. Forget receiving paper copies of syllabi and writing assignments, it is all posted to Blackboard. Oh, and your grades are there, too. The free Blackboard Mobile Learn app allows users access to Blackboard while on-the-go. So if you need to double-check a reading assignment, or share your two cents in an online chat, you can do it via the app.

It wouldn’t be graduate school without lots of research papers. Like Blackboard, you will soon find yourself spending lots of time logged-in to EBSCO, the premier database for academic journals and peer review articles. There is no better way to kill time on the bus or in the doctor’s office than searching for additional sources for that term paper, and the free EBSCOhost app will allow you to do just that. You can get limited access as a guest, or full access via your university library’s code.