Careers in digital, print and broadcast journalism, advertising and public relations are some of the most sought after by college students. However, early success in these fields requires students to create their resumes as they graduate.
What do colleges do to help their students succeed?
1) They maintain faculty and staff relationships with major employers. Standing out is the University of Cincinnati, which requires all communications students to complete collaborative assignments, usually with the city’s major media outlets or employers. Co-op extends the course to five years. Students alternate semesters of paid work and face-to-face classes during the middle three years of their education. While co-op is an expensive endeavor at private universities like Drexel and Northeastern, the University of Cincinnati is a government school that charges about $26,400 in tuition and fees for an out-of-town student. Scholarships are available to further reduce training costs. Communication positions are known for low starting salaries. The opportunity to work and receive scholarships can be very attractive.
2) They employ career advisors dedicated to the major. Northwestern, Penn State, and Syracuse are not only highly respected for their faculty and resources, but also for the career services that help their students find internships and full-time jobs. While Northwestern is located in a large media market, Penn State and Syracuse are not. However, the Penn State and Syracuse career centers do a great job of working with the university’s alumni base to help their students find jobs. These schools are also excellent options for aspiring sportswriters. Their sports programs are quite successful and well staffed with talented media professionals.
3) For students interested in careers in advertising and public relations, they offer
an education that balances business and humanities with the technical skills needed to get to work. It is not required to be an advertising major to work in advertising or a public relations major to work in public relations. A general business major or a humanities major with a business or communications minor may suffice. However, potential employers expect interns and entry-level employees to have skills that include strong writing, presentation skills, and analytical skills. It will be difficult for a beginner to advance to intermediate and higher level positions without them. Small and medium-sized colleges that fit this bill include Franklin & Marshall College and Muhlenberg College, both in Pennsylvania; Two other notable ones are Marist College in New York, just outside the Big Apple, and the College of New Jersey.
4) For journalism students, they offer the opportunity to pursue a second major. Most college journalism programs recommend that students pursue a dual major, usually in a subject that the student may report on when he or she goes to work. Criminal justice, economics, international relations and political science are popular minors. Reporters with a strong academic background in the sciences will be in high demand in the major media markets. Liberal arts colleges make it easier to complete a double major. They have fewer required courses than universities that have a separate accredited communications school. But there are also larger universities like the University of Connecticut, the University of Delaware, and Rutgers-New Brunswick that place their communications majors within their college of Arts and Sciences, making a dual major possible. Another option is to study journalism as a minor and take further courses in other subjects such as a foreign language, demographics or statistical analysis.
5) They host a high profile college daily or weekly newspaper. The editors of the better newspapers are often invited to college journalism conferences not only to accept awards but also to network with professionals who may have internships or jobs to offer. The Associated Collegiate Press recognizes excellence in student media with the Pacemaker award of excellence in college journalism. Pacemakers are recognized in each publication category – online, newspaper, yearbook and magazine. Among the best dailies: the Indiana Daily Student at Indiana University-Bloomington. Among the best weeklies: The Ithacan at Ithaca College (New York) and The Pendulum at Elon University (North Carolina).
No one needs to attend a superselective school to work for a quality college media company, become an attractive candidate for an internship, or embark on a rewarding career after graduation. But anyone expecting to be a serious candidate for a job in journalism, advertising, or public relations must show that he or she took advantage of the opportunities their college and community had to offer. Their employers expect them to hit the ground running.
Elizabeth LaScala PhD guides college, transfer and graduate school applicants through the complex world of admissions. She helps students choose majors and programs of interest, develops college best match lists, provides personalized essay coaching, and tools and strategies to help students navigate each step of the admissions process with confidence and success. Elizabeth helps students from all backgrounds maximize scholarship opportunities and financial assistance rewards. Call (925) 385-0562 or visit Elizabeth on her website to learn more.
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