Advice for PR students

Oct09CIPR has just announced the hard-won award of Advanced Certificate and Diploma to the 2008/09 students.  Congratulations to everyone – and well done to those who’ve been successful in the second Unit assignment.

Mind you, there’s hardly time to relax as we’ve just had our first sessions with the 2009/10 intake at Bristol, with groups at Cambridge beginning before the end of the month.

I’ve also just started supervising some final year PR undergraduates for their dissertation at Bournemouth University.

So I thought it might be useful to share some advice for any PR students beginning a hard year of education.  Here are my top five tips for success.  Please feel free to share any of your own.

  1. Read, read, read.  You will never pass an assignment or understand what you are studying if you don’t follow up with critical reading.  Contemporary journal articles, classic chapters, accessible textbooks – all should be on your reading list.
  2. Write well.  Success in assignments owes a great deal to being able to express your knowledge, thoughts and arguments clearly in grammatically correct, readable language.
  3. Make full use of tutor support.  It is surprising how few students take advantage of offers from tutors to read drafts, provide feedback on mock assignments, chat through concepts, discuss reading, answer questions etc.
  4. Know exactly what is expected from you.  Take any opportunity to look at previous questions or example answers, check briefing instructions, review marking guidelines, and clarify anything that is not 100% clear.
  5. Apply theoretical concepts and models to real life.  PR is an applied subject and finding appropriate examples that enable you to link practice and theory is a great way to gain additional marks and illustrate that you can reflect real world understanding.

I would also recommend Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits book – as the advice there regarding starting with the end in mind, focusing on important and non-urgent matters, etc etc can all be applied to studying.

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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.

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