Archive for the ‘Majors & Minors’ Category
Finding a journalism program that suits you can be an exciting – and sometimes confusing – process. In addition to the typical factors you’d look at when considering a college, such as student-faculty ratio, you’ll also want to consider other factors specific to the journalism field. If you’re unsure of where to begin, here are four things to consider as you reflect on which j-schools to put on your college list.
1. Areas of Interest
Different programs may emphasize different aspects of journalism, so if you know what area you’d like to explore further, this is an excellent way to filter through possible schools. Consider the different tracks and concentrations that schools may offer, like print journalism, online or digital media, magazine writing, or investigative reporting. You may decide to go for a school that has a niche strength – or, on the other hand, a school that will provide you with a well-rounded curriculum. Finally, consider the school’s availability of and interest in technological resources, especially as advancements continue to change the journalism industry.
2. Hands-on Experience
Hands-on experience is extremely important as a journalism student. Think about opportunities both at college, like the school paper or magazine, or available internships. Some journalism schools forge relationships with local and national media, priming students for impressive internships and guaranteed newsroom experience. Just by virtue of being a student at one of these schools, you may be able to capitalize on these established connections. Carefully consider the location of the school too. For example, if you’re interested in political journalism, Washington, D.C. may be the place for you. Other big cities, like LA, Chicago, and New York could offer you more opportunities than small cities that don’t have a large media presence. Internships are often available both during the school year and during the summer, so you can also look into out-of-town opportunities during a light semester or an academic break if you do end up in a more rural area.
3. Professors and Faculty
Get to know the professors and faculty through school websites or an online search. You’ll want to find instructors with, ideally, both teaching and journalism experience. This is especially important as one or more of these instructors may become a mentor with whom you develop a valuable professional relationship you can cultivate beyond your time at school. A great professor will also create positive learning environments for both you and your classmates and may be able to direct you to outside resources you may not learn of otherwise.
4. Alumni Network and Success
Where do graduates go on to work, and what kind of success have they had? Of course, success will look different for every individual, but it’s helpful to look into patterns with regard to job placement. What is the reputation of this particular journalism program, and can you find examples of notable alumni? Some schools have more involved alumni networks, which you may be able to take advantage of while in school and even after graduation by connecting with others online or at social gatherings. This alumni network can help you network professionally and learn more about other jobs within different fields of journalism.
Wherever you go, scrutinize the journalism program you’ll be enrolled in as closely as you did the college as a whole. And if you’re not sure whether a journalism major is right for you, take a majors quiz to see if you’d be a good fit for a program like this.
Lisa Low is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, the leading curated marketplace for the top private tutors in the U.S. The company also builds mobile learning apps, online tutoring environments, and other tutoring and test prep-focused technologies.
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