Category Archives: School and Majors

3 Tips to Get Into Grad School

By: Madison Harmon

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Applying to graduate school can often be a very stressful time. Much like going to college for your undergrad degree, there are several steps you have to take to make sure you’re going to the get the most out of your college experience. Note that what you might have looked for in a college for your Bachelor’s most likely won’t be the same when you go to get your Master’s.

Here are three simple and easy tips for applying to grad schools!

  1. Excel Spreadsheets are your friend! It’s a great way to stay organized. Use it to keep track of dates, requirements, and to use as a checklist (I use color coding for priority items!)
  2. Visit! Just like undergrad, you’re going to be spending some time at this place so make sure it’s something you like! I’m personally sick and tired of Michigan winters, so I’m looking at schools in the Southwest to make a transition!
  3. GRE! Take advantage of the summer to study for the GRE – even though that’s not really what summers are for… But that extra preparation could pay off if you have a dream school in mind with stern requirements for the GRE score.

Madison is a student and loves learning no matter what she’s doing. She is both an optimist and a realist, which gets a bit hard to maintain! She is independent and self-assured, both in her personal and professional potential, and in her ability to find the bottom of those supposedly bottomless chips and salsa. Petter of dog bellies, ruler of quips, Madison is sure to make you laugh whenever you’re around her (or cry, but don’t take it personally). Ask her for brutally honest opinions, but never for directions. Madison can be reached at


Journalism experience can be valuable to PR students

By: Katie Gerweck

As students, we are always looking for opportunities to sharpen our skills and better prepare ourselves for our future careers. Although we get experience through our public relations classes, there are other ways to improve as well. Students looking to strengthen their writing and other skills should consider taking a journalism class or working for the school paper. This experience gives students valuable practice with some of the same skills we use in public relations. For example:

 Writing quickly

As public relations professionals we will be expected to write high quality pieces in a short period of time, and journalists face similar time limits. It is not uncommon for a student journalist to attend an event on a Tuesday night, and to have the story due Wednesday morning. Covering events for a school newspaper is a good way to improve your writing speed, and get you in the habit of writing under pressure.

 AP style

Journalists and public relations professionals both use the Associated Press stylebook when writing, so journalistic writing is a good way to exercise your AP style knowledge. Copy editing for a paper, or taking a copy editing class, is another way to familiarize yourself with AP style. It can help with your grammar knowledge as well.

 Understanding what is newsworthy

We are taught as public relations students to ask ourselves “So what?” and “Who cares?” when writing press releases and other materials. It is important that we understand what is newsworthy so we can grab our readers’ attention. Journalists work in the same way, especially when they write hard news stories, which are written in the inverted pyramid style. Writing hard news stories can get students accustomed to quickly discerning what is newsworthy in their story, and organizing the information accordingly. Writing hard news is also a great way to learn more about quotes and proper attribution, which lend credibility to the story.

Overall, taking a journalism class or working for a school newspaper are good options for students looking to strengthen their writing in a different environment.

Katie Gerweck is a senior majoring in public relations with a minor in journalism. She is the editor-in-chief for EMU PRSSA, and also works as a copy editor for the Eastern Echo. She is the copy chief for the Echo during the summer of 2015.


Power through the semester

I sat down and was thinking the other day that EMU is more than half way through the semester! With that being said, my nerves and stress are at an all-time high… and so is the senioritis. I find myself cleaning my room rather than doing homework. I’m sure every college student will try to find the benefit in everything other than those papers that ad up and the assignments that only make up .05% of your overall grade. It’s beyond tough to decide to start your paper when you can decide to cook yourself a meal.

It’s difficult for all of us so here are some ways to rock out the rest of the semester:

  1. Get Sleep

Your body isn’t fully prepared for the day unless you get the right amount of sleep. You may think that 4 hours of sleep each night because you stayed up doing homework is good. It’s not. I know whenever I pull a late night, I don’t feel so hot in the morning and even later in the week.

  1. Set Specific To Do Lists

I’ve never been the type to be able to keep track of all my responsibilities bundled up in my brain so I utilize a planner and to do lists. Each week, I write out a list of all the assignments that I need to tackle. It can be something as simple as “Sign up for Relay for Life” or as complex as “Start/ Finish my class paper.” To do lists really keep my life in order sometimes.

Source: nacacnet

Source: nacacnet

  1. Take a Deep Breath

At midnight when you have a paper due in your 9:30 a.m. class, you may feel overwhelmed. This semester in general has been pretty overwhelming for everyone that I’ve talked to. So just remember to take a deep breath. Sometimes that’s all you need to calm you down. It could always be worse so be happy with what you have.

  1. Be Sure to Eat Right

A diet can really make or break your life. It’s difficult to eat all the necessary food groups while on the college budget but don’t go out for pizza every night. Use your money wisely and get chicken breast and fresh produce. Just remember to not let it spoil!

  1. Have Fun 

School and life can be insanely stressful but take the time to do something for yourself. Whether you’re going for a run or hanging out with friends, always make time for yourself. I’m not sure who said this but you will never regret what you did, only what you didn’t do.

Comment with some of your tips! How are you keeping yourself focused during this tough semester?

Raven Gardiner
VP of Member Relations

Important Summer 2015 and Fall 2015 information

Public Relations Advisors:

Professor Lolita Cummings-Carson
Monday & Wednesday 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. and by appointment

Professor Regina Luttrell
Tuesday 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Thursday 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. and by appointment

Summer Public Relations Courses:

Session 1 – EMU campus

PURL 221 – Fundamentals of Social Media (Tuesdays – Hybrid)

PURL 201 – Public Relations and Public Responsibility (Fully Online)

Livonia Campus

PURL 317 — Crisis Management for Public Relations (Thursday’s/Hybrid 6 Week course)

PURL 314 — Writing for Public Relations (Mon/Wed 6 Week Course)

Fall 2015 Public Relations Courses:

PURL 312 – Introduction to Public Relations

PURL 314 – Public Relations Writing

PURL 221 – Fundamentals of Social Media

PURL 333 – Integrated Campaigns

PURL 408 – Case Studies

PURL 490 – Internship (requires professor approval)

EMU PR is on social media

Interested in staying connected with the Eastern Michigan University’s Public Relations Program? Well it’s your lucky day, the program is on social media.

Stay up to date on the latest events, receive words of wisdom from our PR faculty and meet our students of the week. Each week we will highlight a new student from the public relations program, as well as provide informational and entertaining content

We have memes, learning opportunities, and a chance to get to know your peers. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter today!

Follow us on Twitter: @Emich_PR
Like us on Facebook: Emich Public Relations

Andrea Mellendorf
Chief Financial Officer

Does having great grades lead to a job after graduation?

A recent speaker made me realize a concept that I hadn’t really considered much before PRSSA’s bi-monthly group meeting in December. Sam Plymale, a PR practitioner for the city of Plymouth and recent graduate of EMU, said something that was really surprising and unexpected during a Q&A session after his presentation.

“I’m sure your professors would not like for me to tell you this,” Plymale said, “But, your grades really don’t matter.”

I’ve heard this from classmates before who refer to the classic term “C’s get degrees,” but hearing it from a former E-Board member that had guided me when I first joined PRSSA was a bit shocking.

After countless job interviews and sending out dozens of resumes, only a couple potential employer asked about his grade point average, Plymale said. Most simply didn’t care.

Source: ASDA

Source: ASDA

The advice that was offered as a result was, “Students need to do more extracurricular activity and networking,” he said. “I wish I wouldn’t have been so caught up in my grades.”

Plymale had a near perfect GPA, but struggled to make connections after graduation. He said PRSSA was one of his only ways to branch into the professional job market.

With that being said, there is no need to halt studying and become content with mediocrity. On the contrary, I took this as a wake-up call, not only do I need to learn as much as possible from my classes, but my free time needs to be dedicated to the next chapter after college.

For those that don’t have much lined up after college, attending a PRSSA meeting or event is a good way to start making professional contacts and networking. Becoming an E-Board member is an even better way to get involved, and talking with some PRSSA board members or advisers is a good way to find out more information.

Grades are undoubtedly an imperative aspect of student, but, as Sam Plymale made painstakingly clear, they won’t get you hired.

Kenneth Bowen

To puruse a Master’s degree in PR or not?

Is it truly necessary to pursue a graduate degree to practice PR? This is one of many questions that was brought up at #EMUSDC2014. The speaker, Luke Capizzo, claimed that he did not study PR in undergrad and had not yet acquired his graduate degree. None of the PR pros at SDC had acquired their Masters. As many professionals prior to have expressed, it is your experience that truly matters in the field of PR. In this rapidly growing competitive society, it seems only logical to attain your Masters and perhaps further. This being the fact, a Master’s degree is now the equivalence of a Bachelor’s degree.

The Student Development Conference answered many questions, but as many do, the answer to “if someone should get their Master’s” is skated around, leaving the ultimate statement: It all depends on you. This question is never clearly answered. As all things should be analyzed, we will dissect the pros and cons of attaining your graduate degree when pursuing public relations. Better yet, let’s perform a SWOT analysis.




  • Additional education puts you above the rest in competitive PR fields
  • Network with classmates
  • Broaden your skills (just in case you switch career paths)
  • Be confident calling yourself an expert
  • Increase your standard of living with more earnings
  • Become more marketable


  • Extra years in college
  • More education equals more debt
  • Delayed experience time


  • Having additional education and experience is a major plus
  • Everyone else is doing it-hop on the bandwagon and pursue your masters
  • You will be more confident asking for the salary you deserve
  • Educational attainment and experience will not be an excuse in the event of a promotion or raise
  • Less likely to get stuck at a job you cannot be promoted in
  • You can also teach PR with a Master’s (plus)


  • You must have the stamina and drive and an employer who understands your schedule and goals for the season. You may put one or the other (school or work) in jeopardy during this process.

Expounding on the SWOT analysis, in competitive PR fields, having additional education gives you that competitive edge over your competition. This may seem minimal, but when a $100, 000 starting salary career is up for grabs the Master’s degree comes in handy. In college you meet many people passionate about their field of study. These are opportunities to network with individuals who are learning the same rules of ethics as you are.

Knowing that you have to attend school an additional two or three years may be discouraging to some, but the end results is for the betterment for your professional career. With the college debt you may already be in, why not walk out with a degree that earns you more money? Your wallet and Sallie Mae will thank you.

By going to graduate school you do have the potential to threaten your career on the experience end. Be sure your academic and professional careers are both being valued by you.

Remember, you did not always need a degree to successfully enter a career path, but now times have changed. Times have the potential to change once more. A bachelor’s degree could be the new high school diploma. Guzman Hook, from U.S. News says that once a person has experience, the Master’s degree will open more doors as opposed to a Bachelor’s.

I am an undergraduate student speaking on this topic, but if you would like additional views from seasoned professionals on this topic, PRSA has a great blog titled “Your PR Career… PR Graduate School.” The blog is a compilation of surveys given to 32 PRSA members who have graduate degrees. They answer various questions concerning the importance of gaining your Masters. If I haven’t persuaded you, perhaps they will!

What do you think? Will you pursue your Masters? If you have already obtained your Masters has it granted you a competitive edge in the job market?

Gabrielle Burgess-Smith
Vice President