Online Programs

Pursuing a Master’s in Communication in the Right Time

Graduating Year: 
2017-01-01 00:00:00

When I made the decision to apply to graduate school last year, I approached the process with an open mind, but with the knowledge that certain components of a strategic communication master’s program were nonnegotiable. I knew I didn’t have the option of going back to school full-time and I knew that I wanted to keep my full-time job working as an editor at a magazine in Philadelphia. My day job in editorial publishing regularly went into overtime and though my work ethic was strong, my time was limited in terms of realistically fitting in a full-time master’s curriculum. I started researching online programs to allow for my full-time job to stay in place. American University’s online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication seemed the only program to fit the bill: The prestigious curriculum satisfied my desire to be challenged and receive an education worth the time, effort and money, yet the fact that I could pursue my degree on a schedule somewhat molded around my full-time job made it all possible.

So far I’ve completed three of the ten classes necessary to earn a master’s degree in Strategic Communication from American University and the program has proved to be the perfect balance: Demanding and yes, time-consuming, but also flexible. If certain days at work are especially hectic or an unexpected problem calls for last-minute resolution, I’m not stuck in a panic about missing class. While time-management is a skill crucial to success in the program (especially since you’ll have to be self-motivated to stay on track and do the work accordingly), the online master’s program has allowed me to complete my schoolwork on my own time—namely, during slow periods at work, late in the evenings or on the weekends.

This flexibility in the program also promotes aspects of education that are potentially lost in the more traditional face-to-face instruction. For example, communication between instructor and student has been largely available at all times. If I’m having trouble understanding something or have a question, I’ve found that my professor is likely to answer said question with a quicker response rate due to the efficiency of the online learning environment. I’ve found that I’m more likely to look ahead in class and anticipate any larger projects in an online course, rather than barely peeking at the syllabus on the first day of a in-person class and waiting for them to pop up throughout the semester. Essentially, I am more invested in preparing myself for future work in class, which only strengthens my time-management skills and betters my work.

While there are challenges in the time-management department that come with an online education, these challenges seem trivial compared to the rewards gained from spending free time furthering my education, learning about strategy within the communications industry and opening opportunities for the future that I may not have previously had.

To learn more about American University's online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication, request more information or call toll free at 855-725-7614.

  • About the Author

    Rachel Chernaskey

    Rachel Chernaskey is a media professional currently working as a magazine editor in Philadelphia. She is also a freelance writer and editor. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, a good read and painting.