Grad school is stuffed with opportunities: courses to take, projects to do, internships to pursue, organizations to join, and more. But it is also a fast-paced experience where you will need to balance complex and competing priorities in order to make the most of those opportunities. All of this requires growing independence and careful planning. So how can you keep track of everything? Create a roadmap!
A roadmap for your graduate studies shows the big picture of your graduate experience, including coursework and degree requirements, research and co-curricular activities, career experiences, and personal projects. Identifying what you will do—and when you will do it—helps you take ownership of your educational experience.
Get started in 4 easy steps!
Step 1: Create a plan
How do you want to keep track of your roadmap? You can write it on a piece of paper, make a spreadsheet, create a poster with sticky notes, or use our worksheet. Make sure your roadmap is something that you will remember to check periodically.
Step 2: Make a list of academic milestones
Use your departmental handbook and website to list all of the requirements you need to complete for your program. If you need help understanding these requirements and expectations, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Support Network.
Step 3: Think about career, professional, and personal goals
Success in graduate school isn’t just about academic milestones—you also need to consider other needs and expectations that will shape your graduate school experience. Reflect on your motivations for attending graduate school, your career goals, and your personal goals. Then, include them in your roadmap.
Step 4: Putting it all together
Now you’re ready to start filling out your roadmap! Enter each requirement at the appropriate point in the timeline. This should be a high-level view that looks at a semester or a year at a time. This will allow you to anticipate milestones and develop appropriate skills in advance.
Want more information? Check out our blog "Creating a Roadmap for Graduate School Success."
The Graduate College and your department are here to support you throughout your time at the University of Illinois. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions or would like to discuss your roadmap!