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A First-Hand Experience in the Public and Organizational Relations Master’s Program

When I first started thinking about attending graduate school, I wasn’t quite sure what to look for. This was around 2008, a time when the financial collapse was in the midst of happening, and it seemed as though everything was uncertain: career prospects, financial security, and overall happiness. I thought it would be wise to further my education with the hope of securing a great job and fulfilling career for the long term. When I was researching different graduate programs, I continually asked myself what I wanted from a master’s program. I also explored particular interests I had. For example, I was always attracted in the communication side of business and commerce, mainly in the way that organizations are structured and how communication flows from both within an organization and outside to key public and operating partners. I was interested in the strategic thinking involved in the challenges and opportunities companies face in its communication strategies, and how to create effective messaging for different audiences. That’s when I found the master’s program in Public and Organizational Relations at Montclair State University.

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The MA in Public and Organizational Relations at Montclair State University focuses on studying the full range of communication practices, both internally and externally. Within the program, students gain knowledge of particular strategies and leverage cutting-edge technologies into public relations and organizational communication plans. Many graduates of the Public and Organizational Relations program are either aspiring or seasoned professionals in public relations, corporate communications, organizational consulting, higher education, or public administration, among other fields.

After taking my first class in the program, Issues of Public and Organizational Relations, I realized that I made one of the best decisions of my life. I wanted to be fully immersed in this program, studying different areas within organizational communication, such as research methods in public and organizational relations, leadership and collaborative innovation, theories of human communication, new media business models, media and mass culture, and public relations writing. I even had the opportunity to present a paper I wrote at the New Jersey Communication Association conference in 2010.

The return on investment on my graduate degree appeared almost immediately after I graduated. Without my master’s degree in Public and Organizational Relations, I wouldn’t have been prepared for the job I currently serve. The main aspect of my position is to develop and strengthen relationships with prospective students and other MSU personnel. I continually work on developing different strategies in my communication planning based on the particular audience with whom I communicate and on the media platforms I utilize. Additionally, I collaborate with so many different individuals throughout the course of a day and work on projects that need to have a successful outcome. This is what the MA in Public and Organizational Relations program teaches its students.

An MA in Public and Organizational Relations has also helped me in life outside of work. I recently became an adjunct professor at another college where I teach public speaking and organizational communication at the undergraduate level. I would have never received this opportunity without my master’s degree in this particular field.

If an MA in Public and Organizational Relations sounds interesting to you, stop by our office and we can talk about the program. You can also attend a highly informative Roundtable Information Session on Wednesday, July 22, where you’ll be able to learn more about the program and meet with faculty and recent alumni.

Recruiter Coordinator Matt DiBartolomeo authored this blog post.

There’s a policy for that!

Going from wishing to pursue graduate studies and doing all the necessary research to successfully completing the application and admission process is HUGE. Having been accepted is a reason to go out and party! But back to your celebration… you zoom your way through the New Student Checklist and and cheerfully spend a hefty part of your paycheck on brand new back-to-school supplies. A bouquet of fresh pencils and colorful binder clips bring new life to your study space.

And then some unexpected “life stuff” happens…. Whether it is awesome, bewildering, or sad life stuff, it just happened all over your vision of what your semester was going to be like.

So what do you do?pen-policy

Well, we have a policy for that (a few actually) and below are 4 quick tips so that you can research the appropriate course of action (the path that you must take) and be able to concentrate on bouncing back from this detour in your graduate studies.

(These quick tips are not meant to contain all of the information detailed in the academic policies, procedures, and guidelines. Please do review the official policies.)

1) If you were just accepted and have not yet begun your studies, you can request to postpone admission and know that your offer of admission is valid for one academic year (which is two semesters). For example, if you were accepted for Fall 2015 (September), then you can postpone and start either in Spring 2016 (January) or in Fall 2016. (Quick note, some programs only accept students for Fall, so then you would need to request to postpone for Fall 2016.)

2) If you are in the middle of a semester and taking classes when some life events are thrown at you, please do contact us to see what your options are. Depending on the time in the semester, there are different options available. So please do contact us ASAP.

3) If you are a continuing student and are about to register for or start a new semester when you realize that you cannot take courses, we recommend looking at the continuous matriculation/leave of absence policy. Everyone is entitled to one leave of absence during their graduate study and it’s valid for one semester. For example, if you choose to take a leave of absence during Fall 2015, you are intending to return for classes for Spring 2016.

4) If you have already used your one leave of absence (or do not wish to use the leave of absence) but cannot take classes for a semester (Fall or Spring), then the continuous matriculation course would definitely be the way to go. For more details, please visit the academic policies, procedures, and guidelines page and contact us if you have any questions.

For Fall and Spring semesters, you – as a matriculated student – need to be registered for either a course in your program, a continuous matriculation course, or taking an approved leave of absence. As long as you are active (by active, I mean you must be following one of these paths), then you will be able to avoid deactivation registration holds, subsequent fees, and avoid from being withdrawn from your graduate program as a consequence of veering away from the official policy. (Since Winter and Summer Sessions are not mandatory, you don’t have to take a leave of absence or continuous matriculation course during those months.)

Please remember that we are here to help you make sense of things, so don’t be a stranger and do talk to us early. We won’t ask invasive questions and instead will guide you through your options. Mr. Benjamin Franklin was really on to something when he said an “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

And as our friend Dori from Finding Nemo reminds us, “just keep swimming!” Whatever life stuff you are going through, you will make it through. And one day you’ll realize that you kept swimming all the way to graduation!

Graduate Student Services Specialist Melissa Velez authored this blog post.

The ABC’s of a graduate language program

While reviewing the different programs of study open to students at Montclair State University, you will come across both certificates and Master’s-level programs in two foreign languages: French and Spanish. Studying these languages at the post-BA and MA levels can be incredibly beneficial for your cognitive health and personal development/career. While researching career paths, you will find a number of fields that are open to students who pursue languages. And as globalization changes different industries and the types of careers open to employees of an evolving century, studying languages is one way of keeping abreast of rising technologies and the changing landscape of business.Nelson-Mandela-on-Language

In recent years, the number of studies that measure the human brain’s responses to the input of new languages has grown exponentially. From measuring early and late life bilingualism to the different effects experienced from the speed of acquisition, the brain continues to prove that plasticity is a beautiful thing. Some of the cognitive and personal benefits have been summed up in these NY Times, Huffington Post and The Telegraph articles. (Hey, why reinvent the wheel when they have it covered?). As for career benefits and career options, this great career guide from About.com and this CNN Money article touch upon the importance of having languages on your résumé.

Translation has been at the forefront of many articles and with good reason. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, “from 2012 to 2022, the average growth rate for all occupations is 11 percent… [Interpreters and translators have a] much faster than average growth of 46%.” Here are Montclair State University, the Translation and Interpreting in Spanish Post-BA certificate imparts the industry’s best practices and strategies while addressing the need for specialized medical and legal translation/interpretation. This can lead to a seat at the tables belonging to pharmaceutical, governmental and non-governmental organizations. There is the opportunity to take full advantage of the metro area’s diverse companies and organizations which are leading players in these industries. L’Oreal, for example, whose career page is a welcoming sight (and site) with its “Students and Graduates” section. A quick look at careers posted yielded an opportunity whose requirements included having “completed a Master’s Degree… fluency in French and English (a third language is a plus).”

In addition to the MA in French and the MA in Spanish programs, the Master ‘s of Arts in Teaching is also a popular option at Montclair State, whose programs in education have received national recognition. Available for both French and Spanish, an MAT degree demonstrates a cornucopia of marketable skills, including public speaking, flexibility, and command with imparting knowledge/training. All levels of education (from children to higher education) can be explored at Montclair State.

And if your dream is to impart knowledge and aid language education in a non-traditional setting, then you may wish to pursue careers in companies dedicated to creating language acquisition books/materials/software/apps (with Rosetta Stone and Duolingo just being two examples of software and apps). Montclair State’s own, Mr. Conrad Schmitt, is an example of an alum who became a driving force in shaping the publishing industry using the languages he studied at MSU. You can read his success story and then visit the eponymous building on campus. With the state-of-the-art technology serving the needs of students in linguistics and languages, Conrad Schmitt Hall has become the hub for graduate students enrolled in convenient evening language courses.

With class schedules designed with busy professionals in mind, Montclair State language programs continue to offer innovative curriculum’s and thriving language communities. Embarking on this course of study may bridge personal and professional opportunities that may not have been available otherwise. As the demand for specialized foreign language skills continues to increase, the need for graduate level study becomes even more necessary.

If you are interested in learning more about our graduate programs in languages, our upcoming Linguistics and World Literature Information Session on March 16th is the perfect event to attend! Click here to learn more about it and for information on how to register to attend!

Graduate Student Services Specialist Melissa Velez authored this blog post.

Life Hacks for Graduate Application!

Thank you for your interest in The Graduate School at Montclair State University! Here are three quick hacks to make your life as a graduate applicant easier.

1) Register for and attend The Graduate School Open House on Sunday, February 22, 2015
This wonderful networking opportunity is free and you can:

  • Speak directly with faculty about the program of your interest
  • Hear options about financing your education
  • Speak with The Graduate School staff regarding the application process
  • Waive your application fee! The Graduate School will waive the application fee (valued at $60) for attendees at the Open House who apply to a graduate program for the fall 2015 or spring 2016 semester.*

2) Bookmark the following pages for easy reference:

3) “Good News, Everyone!

You can submit your application without delay!

  • Sprucing up your essay and resume? No worries! Submit your application today (leaving those sections blank) and email the essay and resume later. Word documents and PDFs are both great.
  • Requesting official transcripts soon? No sweat! Submit your application today and those official transcripts can arrive later. Bonus: If Montclair is listed on your application as a previous or current institution, The Graduate School will obtain your Montclair State University transcript directly. No need to request it from the Registrar’s Office.

  • Organizing your list of potential recommenders? No problem! Submit your application today and email us their info (names and email addresses) later on. If you prefer to send a paper recommendation, you can fax, mail, or email the recommendation form.

  • Studying for and booking your GRE/GMAT/Praxis test dates? Perfect! Submit your application today. Then, when you take the test, give them our institutional code so that they can send us the scores. Codes can found on our application requirements and deadlines page.

  • Haven’t paid your application fee? We have you covered! Submit your application today and then register for and attend our Graduate School Open House on February 22, 2015! The Graduate School will waive the application fee (valued at $60) for attendees at the Open House who apply to a graduate program for the fall 2015 or spring 2016 semester.

Hope this has helped you hack away at your to-do list. Enjoy the journey and pack light!

*Details on redeeming the fee waiver will be emailed to you after you attend the event.

Graduate Student Services Specialist Melissa Velez contributed to this blog post.

What can you do with an MA in English?

Those of us who majored (as undergraduates) or specialized (as professionals) in English have all heard the question “what can you do with an English major?”  Sometimes we are the ones asking it!  The usual answer—“anything you want”—is especially true at the MA level.  As answers go, it’s a start, but it’s not a satisfactory answer despite its truth.  Three-quarters of our MA curriculum focuses on the study of literatures (British, American, International), and the cultures that produce them.  The other quarter focuses on writing studies: teaching writing, and recently expanding into areas of business and professional writing, writing as a social practice, writing for social good.  Studying any of these, and all of them taken together, is fundamental to every cultural and civic foundation.  Our graduates are (or become) teachers at every level, K through College, at home or in remote and impoverished areas of the world; they are publishers, editors, lawyers, journalists, entrepreneurs and Peace Corps volunteers, financial analysts, public relations personnel and public servants. The skills we teach, exchange, and promote are the skills a successful civilization requires of its citizens.  Our students hone talents and skills in critical reading, critical thinking, and critical writing.  They can express themselves to others—not only in their own fields but in the world at large—thoughtfully, meaningfully, resonantly, using an enhanced “vocabulary” or “tool kit” of informed and expanded cultural awareness.  Our students develop enhanced skills that increase both their marketability and their chances for promotion after they land that first job, when employers and supervisors recognize their skills as above and beyond the reproduction of basic information. 455164065-resized

Recently, at the annual meeting of the Modern Language Association (the largest international professional organization of students, teachers, professors, and writers in the world), a group of senior scholars expressed concern that the growing emphasis on technology and electronic delivery of knowledge would somehow move the study of literature, writing, and culture into the shadows—would, indeed, make us “irrelevant.”  One of us (guess who?) observed that technology is a delivery system; we make the stuff that it delivers. Comprehension, awareness, and the ability to make that stuff are our real products.  So the answer is still “you can do anything.” But the better answer is: you can do anything better (than you could have done it without knowing anything about how people lived, thought, wrote, worried, succeeded, celebrated, wrestled with life’s questions and challenges large and small, and did all that with grace and intelligence and delight).  We can speak and write plainly and clearly when plain clarity is needed, and we can explain our ideas with informed references to how others in the world have done similar things for centuries and around the world.  We teach the next generation (always) to carry on these legacies of knowledge, intelligence, understanding, comprehension, and (yes), information.  Our studies are always in conversation with each other and with other disciplines; we are interdisciplinary by nature and by design.

Because we recognize that there are several paths toward achieving our respective goals, our program allows flexibility while maintaining a strong and rigorous praxis.  A glance at our web page should answer most specific questions, while a look at the link for Past Semester Courses will give a good idea of the range and variety of our “ways in”.

Our faculty, increasingly, are scholars with solid reputations not only at MSU but nationally and internationally, and again increasingly, students are starting to come here specifically to study under the expertise of one or another well-known member of our department, and to become experts themselves under the guidance of first-class role models.

Our greatest curricular strength is our flexibility, which stems from a recognition that literary study can and should take many different paths for different people with different career or personal goals.  Varied content enriches and enhances our students’ collective and individual goals.  The motto of Montclair State University, “It’s All Here,” fits the MA in English perfectly.

 Dr. Naomi Liebler authored this blog post. She is the graduate program coordinator for the MA in English program. Dr. Liebler will be present at our upcoming Spring 2015 Open House, and will be available to talk to prospective students about the MA in English program. Click here to see a detailed schedule and to register for the Open House! 

Check out what past attendees have said about our Open House!

Every year, the standout favorite event of our prospective students is our Graduate Open House! It gives our prospective students a chance to see what graduate school is all about! They get a chance to attend program-specific breakout sessions, speak to faculty at our Program Fair, tour our campus and see everything we have to offer. Each year, our attendee pool gets bigger and bigger, and we love welcoming prospective students on campus and interacting with them! Meeting them is particularly exciting as each of their diverse academic and professional backgrounds strengthens our graduate community on campus.

All attendees at our Open House receive an Open House survey from The Graduate School following the conclusion of the event. The goal is to find out how we can improve our Open House, and to get feedback from our prospective students about what else they would like to see at our next Open House.So, here’s a few responses about our Fall 2014 Open House to the survey questions 1)”What was your favorite aspect of Open House?”, 2) Do you feel any areas or aspects of the program could be improved? If so, please provide further details.” This is unedited feedback, except for grammatical/spelling errors!

“I really enjoyed speaking with the graduate students and getting a tour of the building, including the different rooms that the graduate students use. I was able to gain more knowledge and understanding of what to expect.”

“I was in the speech pathology breakout session, as part of the Open House. I liked the intimacy of the small tours that were guided by current students. It really gave you a feel for what the program was like.”

“Everyone was very helpful and provided guidance. The breakout session I attended gave me all of the necessary information I needed for my specific academic program. I had already completed my application before coming to the Open House, but I feel even more confident that I will enjoy my experience at Montclair.”

“My favorite aspect of the Open House was going to the break-out sessions and receiving a lot of helpful information. Also, learning more about my future program in counseling made me more aware of what courses are required and what I need to do to prepare for graduate school. The admission part was important to me as well because I didn’t know where to start or what were the requirements.”

“Informative and helpful. Fee waiver is definitely a plus!”

“I enjoyed the mini session before the break-out session because it gave me time to form questions and then ask them on a more personal level instead of in a room full of other individuals. I was also impressed with the number of faculty members present at the breakout session. The line was really long for the counseling table when I first arrived but then a number of different faculty and current students came up and began talking about their experience at Montclair. It didn’t feel fake or like I was being sold something. Overall the school, faculty and students seemed genuine.”

We strive to make our Open House an enjoyable and informative event for all. If you would like to learn more about our upcoming Spring 2015 Open House, please click here to be directed to our website. As an added bonus, the application fee ($60) will be waived for attendees at our Open House when they apply to a graduate program starting in fall 2015 or spring 2016 semester! Please don’t hesitate to contact The Graduate School for any questions or concerns!

Countdown to the Spring NSO/GDC!

There’s a lot of buzz and excitement around The Graduate School these days. We’re all super excited about the holidays, but once we’re back from the University Winter break on January 5th, 2015, we earnestly spend all our time for one of our all-time favorite events of the year: The New Student Orientation followed by the Graduate Development Conference.

The Spring semester is such a wonderful time on campus! The campus is equally beautiful, both during a Spring snow storm, as well as during the earliest blooms of tulips. Plus, with all the excitement from the new students, it is always a super fun start to the semester. The upcoming NSO/GDC has some super fun workshops; we’re highlighting a few here:

1. Are you Linkedin or Left Out: A workshop for those that want to channel their inner tech ninja! As one of the most valuable companies in the world, LinkedIn has made professional networking a breeze. If you’ve always wanted to learn more about this platform, then this is the workshop for you. As one of the most popular workshops offered at the GDC, come learn from the experts at the Center for Career Services and Cooperative Education on how to best leverage LinkedIn for professional success!

2. Time & Life Balance: Tools for Success in Graduate School: Graduate school is not for the faint of heart. It is demanding, and intense. The trick to success in graduate school is hard work and time management. While many students pursue graduate school full-time, many do it as part-time students. Learn how to get started right, and how to proactively manage everyday challenges for long-term and short-term success!

3. Writing Style workshops: Attending any of the MLA, Chicago or APA workshop is a no-brainer. As someone who was thoroughly confused with writing styles once upon a time in Graduate school, I feel like attending any one of these would’ve saved me a boatload of heartache. Any of these is a must-attend! Depending on your program, any of three offered would arm with tools that you could take with you beyond graduate school!

No matter what you attend, we promise you will have a lot of fun and learn very valuable things! Whether you’re trying to get a handle on time management in graduate school, financing your education or learning about the importance of academic integrity, this will be an excellent introduction to making the most of your graduate school experience. For everything else, we’re always here! See you on January 17, 2015!

Here’s the anatomy of a good recommendation letter!

When applying to graduate school, a key component of your application are your recommendation letters.  The optimal letter can provide the admissions review committee with information and insight not found elsewhere in your application. The document can offer important insight in your academic skills, work ethic, research abilities and other experiences related to your program. Because one person is unlikely to address all of these, multiple letters of recommendation can provide a full view of a student’s experiences, abilities and interest in pursuing and completing a graduate program.

The importance of solid recommendation letters cannot be underscored. While most programs need two letters of recommendation, check your program requirements to see if your program needs fewer than two. Once you know what is required, the next step is to carefully choose your recommender. You should choose someone who can confidently comment on your personality and work. A good practice to have an insightful conversation beforehand, so they can comment on your accomplishments and achievements as well as your goals for the future and interest in graduate school. Offering a transcript, a resume and the program you are applying to can result in a more detailed and targeted letter of recommendation.

Make sure your letter addresses these key aspects:

1. Your specific program that you are applying to: If your recommender was a former professor in an undergraduate class, they are likely familiar with the direction of your career. Feel free to talk to them about how pursuing this graduate program will enhance your skill set as well as marketability to employers when you are ready to look for a job.

2. Your fit for the program: A recommender should be familiar with your interests, career goals and past experience. Together, all the pieces of the puzzle should fit to clearly explain to the committee about why you are a good fit for the program.

3. Specific examples: In order for it to be authentic, discuss examples with your recommender in advance where your contribution was valuable, whether in a professional or academic setting. Specific examples allow for a finer level of detail and really helps familiarize the admissions committee with each student and their caliber.

Speak to your recommenders in advance about all the specifics and give them enough time (4-6 weeks) to write a recommendation letter for you. Give them all the information they need to conclusively comment on your ability to excel in a graduate program, such as a resume, transcript, your statement of purpose, specific examples of your work etc. Talk to them about deadlines, especially if you are applying to a program that has deadlines. Once all your recommendation letters are in, don’t forget to call/email/write all of your recommenders a thank you note.

Taking this extra effort can result in a letter that stands out from the rest.  This may be just the edge you need to be accepted to your dream program! Good luck!

Caren Ferrante of The Graduate School contributed to this blog post.

Register now for Winter Sessions!

Just as we were all beginning to enjoy settling down in the Fall semester whilst sipping our Pumpkin Spice Latte’s, it’s time to start thinking ahead.

With winter and the holiday period just around the corner, the best way to make the most of this time besides spending it with family and friends, is to take a class during the upcoming Winter session! Taking a class during the Winter session helps you both accelerate your program, and helps you graduate on/before time. Additionally, it allows you more bandwidth if you wanted to pursue a challenging class during the rest of the regular school year. Winter Session offers students the opportunity to take online or hybrid courses and earn up to four credits during the four-week period that runs between the fall and spring semesters. Regardless of delivery, all courses begin December 19, 2014 with the in-person component of hybrid courses beginning on Monday, January 5, 2015 and continuing until January 16, 2015.

Currently, registration is open for matriculating graduate students as well as non-degree and visiting graduate students. Due to their shortened format, these classes fill up fast, so we recommend that you register for these classes as soon as possible!

See the list of available graduate courses being offered in the Winter session here: Graduate Winter Session Course listing

Students should check their WESS account for assigned registration priority.

Please visit www.montclair.edu/winter for additional information on registration, tuition and other student resources.

Five good reasons to attend Fall 2014 Open House!

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The Fall 2014 Graduate Open House has always been historically an event that generates a lot of excitement among prospective students! Besides being an event where students can both interact with faculty and The Graduate School admissions staff, it gives them an opportunity to really discover why Montclair State should be your top choice for graduate education. If you’re still thinking about whether Graduate Open House is an event you should attend, check out the five good reasons that will make your trip to campus worthwhile on October 26th!

  • Meet our faculty personally: Here is your chance to connect with the faculty in the graduate program you are interested in. Check out your program online, spotlight a professor whose research you’re interested and talk to them. They’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about the program and your career options and see if it’s a good fit for you!
  • Breakout sessions: Get a detailed lowdown on a program-specific session hosted by a faculty member. It’s a great platform for you to delve deep into some of our most popular and highly competitive programs. Many students have found that attending program-specific sessions are invaluable in terms of program information and career prospects.
  • Visit our campus: MSU is always changing and growing. In the last few years alone we have opened Schmidt Hall, a new Recreation Center,  a huge Parking Garage dedicated to commuter students and brand new eating establishments.  We have two new state-of-art buildings going up as we speak for the School of Business and Center for Environmental and Life Sciences Programs. Additionally, a brand new center is planned for The Graduate School in the near future. Take a campus tour to see all the good things that are happening here!
  • Speak directly with our graduate school: The Graduate School staff is a great resource for prospective students. Many of our staff members are alumni from our school, and can point you in the right direction for any question you may have. They can also guide you on everything from the application process to scholarships, assistant ships, student involvement and what graduation is like here.
  • Finance your education: Learn about the many ways you can finance your graduate education through a session hosted by Financial Aid! Even after attending this session the FA representatives are here to answer your personal questions about financing.

Attending graduate school is a big financial and life commitment. However, the rewards are unrivaled. Having said that, we are going to start your graduate experience off right! If you attend Open House, we will waive your application fee when you apply for any of graduate programs for Spring 2015, or Fall 2015! If we’ve got your attention, here’s your next step: Register for the Open House here, and we’ll see you at the event. If we can help answer any questions about Open House between today and the day of the event, please don’t hesitate to contact us at graduate.school@montclair.edu or 973-655-5147.

Assistant Director of Admissions and Recruiter Lynn Marie Davis contributed to this blogpost.