3 answers

Is graduate school a necessity now?

Asked San Jose, California

I'm finishing up my third year of college, and I'm planning on graduating next year. I'm majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Sociology. I don't know if I should go to graduate school or not? Is it better to have that extra edge when employers are looking at candidates? #publicrelations #prsa #graduate-school #sociology #career

3 answers

Vivian’s Answer

Updated Austin, Texas

Hey there! In some careers, graduate school is required in order to proceed with licensure, professional certification, or as an entry-level requirement (for example: physical therapists need a doctorate degree; licensed mental health counselors usually need a masters degree at minimum). For public relations, though, the bachelor's degree is still the entry-level degree. Having a masters degree with little experience will not give you an "edge" - the PR industry still heavily favours experience over advanced academics. Focus on getting a good internship for this summer and perhaps another one during your senior year. Establishing a relationship at your internship site and performing well will set you up much better than a masters degree. Good luck!

Steph’s Answer

Updated New York, New York

In the PR industry, if you are at an Agency, an advanced degree is not necessary. However, I got my master's in Corporate Comms at NYU at the same time as working and did find it useful since I was able to network and make connections and then ultimately land a role as an Adjunct on the side.  If you are considering working in the corporate world "in house," employers will look for advanced degrees when considering you compared to others. So in a nutshell, it isn't necessary, but it could give you a competitive edge in some instances.

Ken’s Answer

Updated Cleveland, Ohio

It really depends upon what you intend to do. Public Relations is a very broad area. It would be best to get to know yourself first and then talk to people who are involved in your area of interest, before making a decision. During my years in Human Relations and College Recruiting, I have found that too many people who have skipped this step have ended up in a job after graduation that was not for them.

Ken recommends the following next steps:

  • Talk to your academic adviser and the counseling department of your school about taking interest and aptitude testing and have it interpreted by a counselor in the department. This will allow you to see how your personality traits fit with those involved in various aspects of that field.
  • Talk to the Director of Alumni Relations to arrange to meet and talk to graduates of your school who are working in the areas indicated by the testing to be the best fit. Here are some tips on how to get good information: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
  • Talk to the head of your department and ask about internship and coop opportunities that might be available that will allow you to get experience and develop networking opportunities. Here are some tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-ultimate-timeline-for-landing-the-summer-internship-of-your-dreams ## ## http://www.fastweb.com/ ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/now-and-later-everything-you-need-to-know-about-internships ##
  • Locate professional associations that represent your areas of interest and arrange to attend meetings to get to know people in various applications of your area of interest. These associations many times offer or know of intern and coop opportunities. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-job-search-strategy-thatll-make-you-15-times-more-likely-to-be-hired ##
  • Remember that many time employers will pay for advanced training if they deem it necessary.