Graduate School? Is it for you?

Spring term, the last term of a four year, undergraduate college education, is rapidly approaching. As seniors about to graduate we are faced with many difficult decisions: Do we move home and live with our parents? Do we travel around Europe for the summer? Do we get a job right away? Do we continue school and get a master’s degree or MBA?

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Here, with the help of Les Potter, author of Les is More, I hope to aid you aspiring PR practitioners in the grad school, master’s degree, MBA decision making process. Les recently blogged about this process and offers great advice on whether or not to attend grad school, how to decide, figuring out why and choosing where. Check out his blog post for the whole story.

Les’ advice, that I second, is to ask yourself why do you wish to have a graduate degree? Your answer will lead you directly in to the next important question: in what do you wish to obtain a graduate degree?

Choosing a graduate program can be difficult. Tiffany Derville, assistant professor of Public Relations at the University of Oregon, recommends that students with a background and /or formal education in public relations may prefer the route of an MBA. Professional business skills can be a great asset to public relations knowledge. For those students who do not have formal education in the area of public relations a graduate degree in communications or specifically public relations can become extremely beneficial.

Here’s a tip: go work for at least three to five years in the real world of public relations before making a final decision about graduate education. This real world experience can hone your goals and objectives for your professional experience in public relations and provide you with hands-on experience that will help you in your later studies. Within those three to five years you might even find a job that offers tuition reimbursement programs for education that would further your business performance. Les recommends this in his blog and Tiffany seconds the recommendation.

The real world of public relations is out there ready and waiting for us future grads. I suggest we all take Les and Tiffany’s advice and experience this world for a few years. We have enough decisions to make in the next few months, so if we don’t already know that we want to attend graduate school after graduation, maybe we should take those few years of real world experience to figure it out.

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6 responses to “Graduate School? Is it for you?

  1. Thank you, Kristin, for your kind words. I am deeply honored to be mentioned in the same sentence with Dr. Derville. She is one of the most competent scholars in PR I’ve ever met, and personally, she is an exemplary human being. You are fortunate to have her there with you.

    You have a great blog going here, Kristin. Rock on!

    Les Potter

  2. I just talked about this in my blog check out PR Students Pains and Progress Web log. I am constantly bombarded with pressure to continue my education, or pay off the student loans I have already accumulated. Do I even need to go to grad school if I am doing PR? Students are now more than ever pressured to live that American Dream, but what about our personal dreams? I hope I get to go back to school, no matter the cost.

  3. Thank you for blogging about this topic! This is the exact thing I have been worrying about as spring graduation approaches. My dad always suggested working BEFORE thinking about grad school, but I wasn’t sure he knew what he was talking about! Now I know that public relations professionals like Tiffany Derville and Les Potter agree with him. Maybe I should listen to my dad more often 🙂

  4. Great post, Kristina. I agree with you, Les and Tiffany and think that it’s important to work for a year or two before going to graduate school. Entering the working world before heading to grad school allows you to recharge your batteries. I’ve heard stories of students going to graduate school immediately after completing their undergraduate degree and then hitting a slump because they are burnt out. In addition, getting some experience in the workplace allows you to develop confidence and find a field that interests you before pursuing more education.

  5. I’m really glad I found this blog post becasue now I’m definitely going to read Les’ post. I am a senior who will be graduating in the spring and deciding whether or not I want to pursue a graduate degree is something I have been struggling with for quite some time.

  6. Note: There is a new series of questions asked by Trevor Joseph plus my response to the original blog post on “grad school decision time…”. Check it out.

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