After completing my first undergrad, I pursued a postgrad certificate in public relations, which lead me to dabble and think about a career in social media and online communications. Within the realm of social media came the opportunity to blog, and, through the skills I acquired learning about target markets and creating likeable, relatable, and worthy content (clearly bias ;)), I was published in a major online media out. BOOYAH! I was also a freelance contributer to an LGBT-centric popular culture and entertainment blog for which I blogged about a popular Canadian television show you might know a little something about called 1 Girl 5 Gays. AWESOME, right?! I’ve been very fortunate in being able to contribute to multiple media platforms – in the sense of getting exposure for my name, online brand and/or persona, and for the type of content I am interested and passionate in writing about (but not limited to).
Blogging, or writing in general, is a great way to build your résumé, especially if you’ve started to create an ‘online portfolio’ (and if you haven’t, might I suggest you start). Self-publishing your writing online showcases your interests and talent to the public – I hear the internet is pretty big, just sayin’. Along with blogging come comments. Not all comments are relevant, but there might be some good feedback for you in terms of how you approach your writing, your techniques, what other types of topics you should/could consider writing about, and so on. Blogging also helps create blogger relations. In receiving noteworthy feedback and in creating these online relationships, you begin to network and expand your online portfolio – the more connections you have, the more likely your blog and writing will be seen.
So what is the connection with grad school?
A lot of, if not all, graduate applications require samples of published writing and references. What have you been doing with blogging? You’ve been publishing and networking. In self-publishing content on your blog, there might be an opportunity for you to pitch a story to a relevant media outlet in hopes of it being published. You can use these published pieces of writing as samples in your graduate application package. Likewise, in building blogger relationships, you might have created a networking opportunity with an editor or two that can speak to your work and be used as a reference in your application (… now you understand).
Yes, there is a HUGE! difference between writing a blog post and writing a thesis, however, the importance is you have an established writing background.
Take this advice from Maria Konnikova’s article: Why grad schools should require students to blog. What do you need to do in writing a thesis (or dissertation)? You need to:
• Distill multiple sources from multiple areas into a compelling, clear narrative;
• Build a case quickly and persuasively and learn to incorporate disparate voices into a coherent argument or conversation;
• Learn to get the gist of an argument quickly and be able to distill papers in a way that will be understandable even to someone who is totally unfamiliar with a topic;
• Most importantly, you need to create a quality end product: a piece of writing that someone will want to read.
What you are doing in creating content for a personal blog is honing your ability to think, research, analyze, and write! These are major criterion review boards are looking for in prospective graduate students.
SO! If you haven’t started a blog and are thinking about applying to grad school in the near future, maybe you should consider starting one. Research topics you are interested in and see how you can approach it adding your personal touch and expertise. Start networking and building that portfolio.
Need help in finding a potential grad program to apply to? York University has you covered.