How to Prepare For Your Communications Graduate Program

Michele Wilson

Michele Wilson, Student & Alumni

So, you decided to pursue a Master's degree in Communications? You've weighed your options and found Purdue's online communication master's program to be the best fit. You see how you can use advanced marketing, crisis communications, and data analysis to boost your career. Are you ready to get started? Here are a couple tips to consider as you prepare.

Create a Game Plan for Completing a Communication Graduate Program

Planning how you will accomplish the additional demands of graduate school could make the transition smoother. Before your classes start, plan. I was told to commit 15 - 20 hours a week toward my studies.  Some classes required even more than twenty hours, but planning ahead helped me keep up with my work. Here is what I mean by planning:

  • Sunday and Monday were reading days. I also set a goal to start the discussion question draft on Monday.
  • Tuesday, I would review my draft. If there were optional reading materials, I would browse through them for quotes.
  • Wednesday was posting day. I would post my discussion and read some of my classmate's work.
  • Thursday, I would work on the written assignment for the week or get a head start on the final project.
  • Friday was my makeup day.
  • Saturday and Sunday were devoted to finishing written assignments or the final project.

Each day of the week had a certain amount of time allotted to it. However you choose to organize your time, planning dedicated time to study can be very beneficial to managing the demands of graduate school.

Set High Academic Goals

Be determined to do your best! For some, this statement does not need to be said. Confidence exudes from them. For others, we start off confident, but motivation wanes. Set your mind to go into the program knowing you can make it to the end. Every assignment is your chance to excel. Strive for an "A" on every one. The extra effort will be well worth it.

Don't Get Behind on Your Work

Don't let procrastination sabotage your efforts! When at all possible, do your work early. Staying ahead of the game can prevent long late nights or panic when technical issues arise. If you have a family, they add to your chance of being pulled away from your studies. Not putting off tasks can keep your mind at ease, when a family emergency takes precedence over school work. This goes back to planning. It is inevitable that the unexpected will happen. Being ahead of, even your planned schedule, can keep you on track to reach your goal.

Simply Get Started

Go! You know you are ready. Take the necessary steps to get started. Use the resources that will be provided to you (e.g. Bursar's office). Get your books. Execute your plan. Anticipate challenges. Stay focused. Reach your goal. Make a plan that works for you. A plan that will help organize your time and prevent procrastination. And know that you can do this! When you feel your confidence fading, look back over past accomplishments, read an inspirational piece, or watch a motivational speaker. Build your confidence back up and keep moving forward. Before you know it, you will be done.

Learn More About Earning Your Graduate Degree

Michele Wilson 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.

*The views and opinions expressed are of the author and do not represent the Brian Lamb School of Communication.