Prep for advanced degrees with these apps

The Economist's Which MBA? app is aimed at The Economist's Which MBA? app is aimed at people thinking about taking an MBA course. It is one of many mobile apps that can advise those considering graduate school. Photo Credit: Handout

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Whether you are enrolling in graduate school to gain additional skills, beef up your resume or earn a larger paycheck, it is a big investment of time and money. These mobile apps can help you navigate the application process while also preparing you to be successful once you have arrived.

Blackboard Mobile Learn
(iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, BlackBerry


Free, with institutional membership)

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 assignments; they are all posted digitally to Blackboard. Oh, and your grades are there, too. The Blackboard Mobile Learn app gives 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 discussion chat, all you have to do is open the app!

Grad School Planner
(iPhone, iPod Touch $0.99)

A positive way to start the graduate school experience is by reading up on programs, projects and the names behind them. The Grad School Planner app at 99 cents is a good all-points source on the graduate school scene. It includes a streaming feed of recent higher ed program news, which can be tailored to your geographic location. It also has regularly updated articles that can help you maximize your graduate experience by landing assistance and maximizing study time.

Which MBA?
2011-12 from The Economist 

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(iPhone, iPod Touch Free)

If you are wading through potential MBA programs, try the Which MBA? app from The Economist. It opens with two options: The first is an interactive feature that allows you to enter criteria -- including geographic region, tuition and/or program length -- and then spits out relevant options; the second directs you to The Economist magazine rankings of MBA programs at universities, both in the United States and abroad. Programs are easily favorited and stored away for further review.

BenchPrep
(iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android Free, with course subscriptions)

BenchPrep is like a next-generation version of Kaplan or The Princeton Review, except the courses are designed with mobile consumption in mind. The company, which is backed by a venture capital firm that also backed Groupon, offers about a dozen test-prep courses for all the major graduate programs that are priced affordably between $100 and $250. The app offers SAT and ACT training as well as a prep course for the bar exam. Once you purchase a course, you can run it on any compatible device (including personal computers). BenchPrep helps users identify areas in which they have particular strengths or weaknesses, in addition to providing practice test questions, flash cards and progress reports.

Trulia Real Estate
(iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Android tablet Free)

Of course, choosing a program and doing well enough on standardized tests to get accepted is just one phase of grad school preparation. Once you decide where you are going, you'll need to find a place to live! These Trulia apps can pinpoint current properties in the area and allow you to search by neighborhood (as long as you include the city name) or by ZIP code. An amenities finder will display nearby restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, banks and schools, which can be particularly helpful if you're looking in unfamiliar territory. It may even help you find an all-night coffee shop where you can cram for all those big exams. Trulia also offers rental-specific apps for iOS and Android that are tailormade for the renter on the go!

Reports from Appolicious.com and Tribune Media Services were used in this story.

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