Parents of StratCom: 5 Tips for Surviving a Master's Program with Children

The MSU Strategic Communication Master’s program is a degree that was created for the working professional, so that students can go back to school without having to put the rest of their lives on pause. Because of this, many of our students are not only taking online advanced degree classes, but are working full time jobs, being good spouses or partners, and raising their children all at the same time.

The number one questions we most often get asked by prospective students is “what is the time commitment of the program like?” and for good reason.

We interviewed a handful of our current and former students who took the program while also having children under their roofs. Here are the top five tips they gave for surviving our M.A. program, while also keeping children alive and thriving:

  1. Managing your time is key. It may take a couple weeks to figure out what works best for your family schedules and for the flow of your class assignments. But sticking to a calendar, having designated days for schoolwork, and looking ahead at the week, month and semester have all seemed to help our students manage.
  2. Lean into your support system. They say it takes a village, and when you throw grad school into the mix, that rings even truer. Make sure you’re on the same page with your support system from the beginning in terms of what the lift of this program will entail, and what kind of support will be helpful for you.
  3. Be flexible. The saying “you make a plan, and the universe laughs” is true. Kids get sick, work gets crazy, etc. and it's inevitable that you will need to pivot. That’s ok. There are systems built into this program for that reason, just make sure you’re communicating your needs.
  4. Communicate with your kids. If your children are old enough to comprehend, consider sharing with them your “why” for going back to school, and what this degree will mean for you and the family.
  5. Communicate with your professors and your advisor. Your StratCom faculty and staff are there to support you along the way. They realize your family comes first, which is why flexibility is a pillar of the program.
Courtney Kosloski Family Picture

MSU StratCom Student, Courtney Kosloski and her family.

You’ve likely already been tested in many ways since becoming a parent, and it’s increased those problem solving and time management skills that are also needed to complete a M.A. degree.

Doda Parents of StratCom

MSU StratCom Alumnus, Doda Lulgjuraj and his two boys.

From one StratCom parent to another, know that it is possible to complete this degree – and imagine how special it will be to have your children there to witness and celebrate with you once you walk across that graduation stage.