The Professional Writer’s Path to Graduate School


Andrew Faustmann

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Many students attend graduate school to further concentrate their skills and knowledge for their future career; however, not every school is going to have the curriculum that supports your future. So, instead of wasting the two years of school and several thousand dollars, you should research each school carefully before applying.

Where Should You Attend?

When searching school programs that will further your professional writing skills, you need to be aware of the various names for each program. A majority will either be called “Rhetoric and Composition” or “Technical and Professional Writing,” however you will sometimes find the term “Communication” instead of “Writing.”
This process is quite similar to searching for a job, so persistence is key. Depending on your proximity of school searches, the website may be of assistance for a more national search.If you are restricted to only a handful of localized schools, you can jump straight to each school’s website.

You will want to find a school that offers classes and employs professors who share a similar background to your own. Many professors typically had or still have jobs as a professional writer with a corporation.
This will open up professional connections and also knowledge from first-hand experience.

Go to the faculty page on the English department’s website and rummage through all of the professor’s profiles.
Typically most professors will have a short bio, recent courses, relevant publications, and even their own website, however you may even have to dig a little deeper. You can either email those professors directly or research their names in scholarly databases, such as CompPile , JSTOR, or Proquest, if their university doesn’t list their specific interests. While their academic research may not be 100% prevalent to your professional job, their individual research will inform you more of their academic and professional interests, which will help you decide on the most prevalent courses.

What Financial Assistance Do Graduate Schools Offer?

Many schools offer financial support in the form of assistantships, scholarships, and conference funding.

The assistantship typically includes full tuition remission and a stipend to survive on while you complete your degree in two years — unfortunately the stipend typically ranges from $8,000 to $15,000 per year. While each school has different programs set up, you could be working for the school as a tutor, research assistant, and/or teaching assistant.This opportunity not only allows you to receive a fully funded education but also to gain experience working at the university.

The assistantship is not for everyone as a great full-time job is not to be given up lightly. In this case, many English departments and graduate schools offer scholarships to assist with the cost of tuition.
It is also encouraged that you present at conferences related to your field-of-study. Even though conferences are directed towards those who wish to publish academic research, the experience gained from presenting is transferable to any workplace. When contemplating this, see if the schools offer conference funding for travel costs.

Go Start Applying

Pursuing a graduate degree to advance your success as a professional writer is a great decision, yet you must make sure that the school you attend has a program that will help you build the skill set to achieve your goals.
Therefore, go search programs for professors and courses that will help advance your skills and knowledge while also noting the multiple options regarding how you are going to pay for that education.




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