Grad School with Benefits

Graduate school offers many highly visible benefits. Attending grad school connects you with a professional and scholarly social network. It boosts your career performance and could get your foot in the door for interviews. It awakens you to opportunities and knowledge you didn’t know existed.

Would you believe me if I said, “that’s not all”?

In addition to the academic programs available to you, there are often smaller, unseen benefits in graduate programs that require a little detective work to find. But, if you discover them, they can enhance your wellbeing, support your academic and career growth, and make your time in graduate school a little sweeter.

Here are just a few examples of “hidden gems” available for graduate students at the University of Minnesota.

Borrowing things other than books at the UMN Libraries

The award-winning University of Minnesota Libraries boasts a world-renowned collection of books and serial subscriptions. But, in addition to all of the usual suspects you would expect a library service to provide, our libraries present other services as well. For example, you can borrow a seasonal affective disorder lamp in the fall, gardening kits in the spring, digital audio recorders and cameras for your school projects, and all kinds of other things. Additionally, the Libraries offer several productivity-enhancing tools, and they run over 1,100 workshops per year.

Digital subscriptions

Okay. This is still a library resource, but it deserves its own heading. Have you ever noticed that when you are simultaneously signed into your University account and browsing news sites that you don’t run into the same paywalls for content? That’s because through a subscription to Proquest, the University of Minnesota is able to offer digital subscriptions to some of your favorite news outlets. Online news publications like The Washington Post or industry-specific papers like The Chronicle of Higher Education are available to you free of charge.

Certifications and equipment rentals at Recreation and Wellness

The University of Minnesota’s Recreation and Wellness Center is your go-to resource on campus for working out and maintaining your physical fitness. But, in addition to their workout facilities and group fitness classes, Recreation and Wellness at the University of Minnesota offers students other benefits too. For example, you can earn certifications in CPR and first aid training, group fitness instructor training, and even personal training. Or, like the UMN Libraries, Recreation and Wellness rents equipment for outdoor adventuring. You can check out canoes, paddleboards, skis, snowshoes, tents, graded sleeping bags, and even rock and ice climbing equipment.

PAWS – for when you can’t have your furry best friend with you

Do you miss spending time with your fuzzier family members? We’ve got you covered. Pet Away Worry and Stress (PAWS) sessions feature registered therapy animal teams and encourage students to take a break from their busy academic lives to interact with therapy animals for free. Created by Tanya Bailey, a doctoral student in CEHD’s School of Social Work, the goal of the PAWS program is to be a stress-reducing outlet for the University community. Animal interactions have been demonstrated to positively affect blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormone levels in humans. Our animals include dogs, bunnies, chickens, cats, miniature horses, guinea pigs and fancy rats.

Discount tickets

Your student ID will likely get you a discount here and there. But, did you know that as a grad student, you can also get a host of discounted tickets to all kinds of sporting or arts and cultural events in the Twin Cities? Take in a Twins baseball game or watch the Saint Paul Saints, our local minor league team. Get caught up in Minnesota United, our top division soccer team. Or, visit the Renaissance Festival, Valleyfair, the Minnesota Zoo, or the Mill City Museum on the cheap! Additionally, you can sign up for the discount tickets newsletter, and you can be the first to know when deals become available.

Being a grad student has its perks. Make sure to take advantage of them, and enjoy your time as a student. Keep your eyes open for opportunities like these and share them with your fellow students.

Do you have any favorite perks? Share them with us! Send them to, and you might be featured in a future post.

Story by An Le.