Grad School: Getting All My Ducks In A Line pt. 1

Come December, I’m going to apply to graduate school at Michigan State University and hopefully get accepted into their Professional Writing and Digital Rhetoric masters program.  Ever since my editorial internship working on The Art of War with Kelly Roman, I’ve known I want to edit comic books.  There’s just something about tweaking page layouts, dialogue, and art that gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.  I want to help creators streamline their stories, make the process of reading a comic easier, and help writers and artists do their absolute best work possible.

But how do you become an editor?  Obviously you need to know what makes a good comic, not just story and art wise, but the technical aspects as well.  You need to have an expansive knowledge of the English language.  You need to understand the publishing and printing process, be aware of what’s a marketable product, and so so much more!

I’m hoping that through the PW/DR program I’ll be able to focus my classes and projects towards the study of graphic novels and their ilk.  I’m hoping to glean and thorough and clear understanding of what it means and what it takes to be an editor.  Granted, there aren’t any “comic book” type classes as a part of the curriculum, but web comics would likely be classified as a type of digital rhetoric, so there’s obviously some leeway there.  Gah, the possibilities for adaptation of core courses seem endless!

Yet another serious reason to apply to MSU for grad school would be Special Collections, a special department inside of the MSU library.  It is home to the world’s largest collection of comic art.  Yes, you heard me correctly, it is the world’s largest comic art library!  Imagine studying comics and having the length and breadth of comic’s history literally at your fingertips.

But I need to apply and get accepted before I can get too excited.  What is the PW/DR program looking for in a applicant?  Well there are some simple things I’ve taken care of just by getting my bachelors in Telecommunications.  All applicants are required to have a baccalaureate degree in either humanities, writing, communications, English, or any other related field.  Check.  Next I am required to have 18 credits above the 100 level in writing, English, humanities, or communications/related courses and a minimum GPA of 3.25.  I graduated with 12 English credits, a bunch of TC (telecom) credits, and some History, Philosophy, and Religion credits as well as a cumulative GPA of 3.8.  I think I’ve got that one covered too.

But the next bit is where it gets tricky.  You need to complete an Application for Graduate Study.  Before you can even see the application though you need to pay a fee.  I’m going to fill that out within the next two weeks, but first I’d like to talk to one of my friends, who also happens to be a prof at MSU, for a little insight.  Then you need one copy of each transcript from each college you’ve attended.  I only went to MSU and seeing as I’m applying to MSU, that one should be easy as pie.

Then you need to prepare a curriculum vitae or resume. I have a resume and it shouldn’t be all that difficult to transform it into a curriculum vitae.  One thing that I may end up doing for the CV is separating my relevant work experience and my irrelevant.  For my relevant I’ve got Research Assistant, Editorial Intern, Freelance Writer, and Web Editorial Intern.  For irrelevant, well I’ve been a waiter and a supervisor in the MSU cafeterias…  Below is my resume.

My Resume

I’m going to address the Personal Statement, the 2 writing samples, and 3 letters of recommendation I need in part 2.


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