It’s difficult to accommodate your schedule to the time constraints of campus-based classes when you’re already established in a career. Initially, I wanted to begin my graduate studies at one of my local universities; but one was a private school and far too expensive, and the other simply didn’t offer classes that worked with my schedule – especially when factoring in the two hours of round-trip Miami traffic that each campus visit would require!
With an online communication graduate program, I can tailor my schedule so I am able to excel both in the workplace and the virtual classroom. If I’m traveling to a conference, I don’t have to miss class and play catch-up the rest of the semester; I can take class with me just by bringing my laptop as carry-on.
Once I started investigating online communication graduate programs, I realized that they are more flexible than my local on-campus counterparts.
3. Classmates with Professional Experience
Also, I loved knowing that my classmates would be people like me: people with careers who are serious about learning concepts that can be directly applied to their roles. At my local universities, there would have been a few working professionals, but many of my classmates would be 23 years old and beginning graduate school directly after attaining their bachelor’s. They would lack the years of experience that my online Purdue classmates bring to the discussion, and that I learn from as much as I do from class assignments.
4. Eight Week One-Course-at-a-Time Format
I also love the online format of eight-week classes where you intensively focus on one class at a time. First, that format allows us online Boilermakers to complete a master’s degree about four months faster than our campus counterparts. Second, there is a lot of reading and writing in graduate school. Despite the fast pace, the shorter classes make it easier to stay on top of classwork because we don’t have to balance reading, paper deadlines, etc. for multiple classes at once.
Once I decided to pursue my communication graduate degree online, choosing Purdue was easy. Purdue is reputable and has fantastic name recognition that will appeal to future employers.
6. Supportive Before And After Application
There are other online programs out there with similar recognition, but of all the admissions officers I spoke to (and there were many!) Purdue offered the best support. If a university staff does not give you the personalized attention you deserve during the application process – when you’re still choosing where to attend and spend your money – they likely won’t be responsive when you need them during the program. Purdue’s staff, from the admissions office to the communication school’s faculty and staff, has been fantastic from start to finish.
If I had to start my communication master’s degree all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. I would choose an online program at Purdue University!
Learn More About Earning an Online Degree at Purdue
Catherine Whitlock is a student in Purdue’s online Master of Science in Communication degree program. The program can be completed in just 20 months and covers numerous topics critical for advancement in the communication industry, including crisis communication, social media engagement, focus group planning and implementation, survey design and survey analysis, public relations theory, professional writing, and communication ethics.
About the Author
Catherine (Cathy) Whitlock joined the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) in 2010. As Director of Online Communications, she directs and executes the digital communications strategy to further the mission of the foundation and increase awareness of Parkinson’s disease. Prior to working at NPF, she worked as Senior Editor, Latin American Markets at PR Newswire Association, LLC, focusing on financial, medical and nonprofit news of the region. She also served as a design software teacher at the University of Miami Digital Media Lab. Cathy is currently working on her Master’s Degree in Strategic Communication from Purdue University and anticipates graduating in December 2016.
*The views and opinions expressed are of the author and do not represent the Brian Lamb School of Communication.