Graduate School Planning

On this page, you will find some frequently asked questions (as well as answers) about graduate school and what resources our Career Development Office has available to help. Have a question that isn't listed below? Call or email Jo-Ellen Scribner: / 255-1228.


First of all it depends on what type of degree you are looking to pursue and what your long-term career goals are. It involves specialized knowledge and in-depth study in one area. Remember that all programs will be different, but in general they all involve extensive reading, writing, presentations and research. Graduate study at the Ph.D. level is also different from that at the Masters level. For example, a Masters degree is limited in scope and requires a much shorter time commitment than doing a Ph.D.


The only person who can answer this question is YOU! You need to consider all of your options and take a serious look at what it means to go to graduate school in order to answer this question. A good place to start is with your MOTIVATION for going to graduate school. Ask yourself lots of questions like:

  • Are you considering graduate school because you really don’t know what you want to do and you just want to postpone a job search?
  • What are your career goals?
  • Do you need a graduate level degree to get where you want to be?
  • What are your employment opportunities?
  • Will you attend on a full-time or part-time basis?
  • Might your employer assist with finances?


  • Remember that graduate and professional programs are very specific in focus. It is essential that you know what field of study interests you.
  • What do you expect from your program? Although your main goal is to be in the right academic program, it is important to consider the location of the program. For example, do you want to live in a big or small city?
  • Know how much financial assistance you are going to need and where you can look for assistance.
  • Check out what resources are available at the school with respect to your major, such as library and lab facilities.
  • Don’t forget to ask trusted and knowledgeable UMM faculty who know you and your objectives to make recommendations!
  • Visit the Career Development Center for help!
  • At Princeton Review online you can:
    • Research Graduate Schools
    • Take a free practice GRE/GMAT
    • Apply to Graduate Schools
    • Learn about the Financial Aid Process
  • Visit Peterson's online for information on searching for graduate programs, including distance-learning programs. Here you will find additional information on:
    • Getting Started
    • Preparing for Tests
    • Paying for School
  • Or…if you are thinking about graduate school in a biological field, you can visit Southern Illinois University's Graduate Pack

Other useful links:

  • Graduate Schools
  • Online Graduate Schools
  • Graduate Guide
  • Graduate Source
  • Essay Edge


Applications will be different for most schools. Most importantly, you should adhere to deadlines and make sure that everything is filled out properly and that anything asked for is provided. The top ranked credentials (in no particular order) needed for graduate school applications:

  • Academic achievements/experience
  • GRE (or other required test) scores
  • Statement of Purpose (application essay)
  • Undergraduate GPA (major and cumulative)

Remember that your application is a representative profile of you!


Financial Aid comes in many forms. Some examples are:

  • Fellowships and Grants: Awards based on scholastic merit
  • Assistantships: A stipend or tuition assistance given in exchange for 10-20 hours of work
  • Resident Assistantships: Working in resident halls for benefits
  • Educational Loans: Based on financial need, loans are available such as Perkins and Stafford
  • Employer Assistance: Some employers offer full or partial tuition reimbursement for employees who continue their education
  • Scholarships: Awards based on scholastic merit and/or financial need

The NORTHEAST AQUATIC PLANT MANAGEMENT SOCIETY is offering scholarships to students who are, or may be interested in, pursuing a degree in Aquatic Plant Management. Click here to visit the NEAPMS website for more information. Help is available but you need to research and apply early!


Ideally you should begin the process one year in advance—Junior Year! It is a good idea to have your applications in by November or December, but pay attention to deadlines because they are different for every University.

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