Defending My Master Degree in Student Affairs


Most Master’s programs have some sort of defense to see how you have gained the information that was taught to you in your classes and how you would apply it . For those of you who are seeking a graduate program in Student Affairs, I suggest asking them what the final requirement is to complete your coursework to graduate. . Some have presentations while others may have a thesis or perhaps both.

In my program at Texas State University-San Marcos, we are asked to complete “Comps” or Comprehensive Exam. Our wonderful professors provide us with a case study with a variety of issues that we will likely have to face as we work through the profession of Student Affairs. We take the case and analyze it and try to figure out how we would respond to it in real life. Then we present it to our faculty and defend our choices as they probe us further about why we chose this theory over another theory! It’s going to be pretty intense but… believe it or not, I just got mine this week! I will be defending my case on April 12th and use everything my professors have taught me, I know I will do well, now that’s not saying that the process won’t be a challenge!

I received my case study this past Friday morning and my case has to do with how a student organization may be involved with academic dishonesty. After reading the case through a few times I have an idea of what I would do but it’s always good to get a different perspective. We are not allowed to ask our fellow classmates, but I have scheduled two interviews with campus departments to get more perspectives. My first is with someone from our Dean of Students Office to gather their ethical perspective. The other is with someone from our Campus Activities and Student Organizations Office to see how she would work with the student organization. I may get more ideas on whom to get advice from when I talk with them, but generally I am planning on using their information to start working on my presentation and start becoming familiar with how I will respond. I will share more of the process when I am done, but for now I will remain confident in my preparation!

If you are just getting into Student Affairs, but know that you will likely start a career in it, I would recommend signing up for case study competitions when you see them available. I know as a junior and senior during my undergraduate program, I was invited to the National Orientation Directors Association (NODA) regional conference and they hosted a competition both years. I am finding that most professional organizations do have them available. So, if you are involved in Residence Life, Campus Activities, or other Student Affairs resources more than likely they will have a conference so check out whether or not they host case study competitions. They have always been a great way to meet new people in the field who have a completely different view on a situation. I truly enjoy them and believe that they have helped me be more confident as I am preparing for my comprehensive exams right now! Wish me luck!

Jenni with an “I”
@JenniwithaniK

Student Affairs - the First Years

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