Many of you are weighing your options right now in this tight job market. What to do??? Do you try to get that first job and get your foot in the door? Or, do you consider staying in school and completing a masters degree for that competitive edge later?
I just finished teaching COM 300: Careers in Communication in the first block and in this course we discussed these very issues. There were a number of COM alums with jobs in pharmaceuticals, insurance, non-profit administration, and public relations who came and spoke with the students about interviewing, job hunting, networking, and resumes. Their most common piece of advice about graduate school—GO! If you do, be sure to get some professional work experience while you are taking classes. This could mean any number of options. Now is a good time to talk with your academic advisor about what those are. If you are considering graduate school, take heed of that advice of recent COM alums and grads.
I’ll offer another piece of advice that EVERYONE should know about graduate school: It’s perfectly fine to stay at Missouri State to get your masters degree. In fact, in many instances, it’s a better choice both financially and academically. We have a number of wonderful masters level programs in Communication. I heard today that some students think you are not allowed to get your masters at MSU because you graduated from here…and that’s just plain bad information. There is nothing that prevents you from getting your masters here.
I recommend talking with your advisor about graduate school. You may also wish to speak with Dr. Randy Dillon or Dr. Isabelle Bauman about our graduate programs specifically. They both work closely with our graduate program, deal with questions, help with admissions applications, and help with getting courses picked.
Consider a few other options:
Take graduate credit while an undergraduate using the senior permission process. There are forms outside Craig 375 about how this process works too.
Consider doing an accelerated Masters in COM program. This allows you to take graduate credit as an undergrad and apply it a masters degree. It is designed so that when you graduate with your Bachelors, the remaining coursework for the Masters will take ONLY 1 year (full time). Talk with Dr. Dillon about this program, and there is a brochure with more information in Craig 375.
If you qualify and are selected, you may be able to get your graduate school PAID for by becoming a graduate assistant for the department. You could help a faculty member with their research, teach COM 115 or do programming with the Center for Dispute Resolution. If accepted, you will get your tuition paid for and receive a monthly stipend for expenses. HOW COOL IS THAT? Talk with Dr. Dillor for more information.
The best thing about staying at MSU for your graduate degree is that you already know the faculty, they know you, and you will have the opportunity to work side-by-side with faculty on a research project involving communication. The essential part of graduate school is mentoring by a faculty member on a self-developed research or writing project.
I hope this post has cleared up a few things for you regarding graduate school. If you have further questions, you can email me directly or speak with Dr. Dillon or Dr. Bauman, or any faculty member in COM.