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Welcome to GradPLAN

You will grow in grad school. Why not do it on purpose?

Graduate school is an exciting experience! You’ll find new opportunities and challenges, learn a lot about your discipline and yourself, and interact with many people and offices across campus. But sometimes it can feel overwhelming – especially if you don’t have a plan. That where GradPLAN comes in!

What is GradPLAN?

GradPLAN is an Individual Development Plan (IDP) specifically designed with University of Illinois graduate students in mind. IDPs like GradPLAN are self-evaluation and career planning tools consisting of a multi-part process that you can repeat and adapt as your goals change. 

With GradPLAN you will:

  • Set goals, create milestones, and track your progress in your academic program.
  • Identify professional development needs and prompt discussion about your career plans with mentors.
  • Form good habits around continuous reflection and reaching out for support.
  • Develop a sustainable approach to your career planning beyond graduate school for lifelong professional success.

Why should I do this?

Research has shown that individuals who perform structured career and academic planning achieve greater professional success and satisfaction. With GradPLAN you will:

  • Make sense of complex, competing priorities.
  • Find balance and momentum between immediate demands and long-term goals.
  • Empower you and your mentors to evaluate progress and adapt accordingly.
  • Develop a sustainable approach to your career planning beyond graduate school for lifelong professional success.

How do I do this?

Want to get started? We’ll walk you through the process! We’ve outlined the steps to take and some of the questions to ask.

Download our GradPLAN Resources!


The first step is to evaluate your strengths and areas of improvement. Some questions to ask yourself might include:

  • In what areas are your talents and strengths?
  • In what areas can you improve or are there new areas for you to learn?
  • What opportunities would help you develop and grow?
  • What opportunities do you want to explore in the future?


Now come up with a plan and set some goals. Choose one of the areas of improvement that you listed above and identify a few small, manageable goals you can accomplish in the next 6-12 months. As you are thinking about goals, you might explore campus resources that can help support you.


You don’t have to do this alone! Your support network is here to help you learn and grow from your experiences. Reach out to your mentors to discuss your plans and identify opportunities to advance your goals.


Next it’s time to put your plan into action. Choose one of the goals that you identified above and try it out!

Reflect and Revisit

How did it go? What went well? What would you do differently next time? What are you next steps? Reconnect with your mentor to share your experiences and consider possible next steps.

When should I do this?

It’s never too early or too late to create a GradPLAN! Get started when you want and repeat often.

Need Examples? Additional Info?


Have questions or want to discuss your GradPLAN? Set up an appointment to meet with us at