What are the qualities that colleges look for in prospective students interested in journalism?
I really want to partake in a few colleges that I've done excessive research in regards to their journalism programs and I'm still unsure what they are looking for precisely. What appeals most to them when they think of accepting a student into their programs regarding the field of communications?
Hi, Fatima! Thanks for reaching out. Jenna's comments are spot on. I would add this, though - as a young person, you are working toward finding out who you are. It will take many years, so don't be alarmed if you aren't sure.
Nonetheless, you will be filtering all that you process (and report) through the filter of who you are. There is no such thing as unbiased journalism, simply because you will be acting as a gatekeeper. There is fair, accurate, and thorough journalism (at least, SOME places practice it), but no such thing as "unbiased."
Therefore, it's important - as time goes on - to determine your "voice." Now, you won't know exactly who you are when you apply to a college, but the self-awareness of saying that matriculating through a college journalism program will help you start "finding your voice" will definitely impress a recruiter. Good grades will help, also!
I would also try to show industriousness. Reporters are often going to be told, "no" and have to come up with...shall we say... unique ways of getting what they need. Examples where you wouldn't take no for an answer and kept working toward a goal - not necessarily in the storytelling arena, but something that's happened to you, anywhere - would show a recruiter you're the kind of person that belongs at that school.
Best of luck, Fatima!!
I would say colleges/universities want to see that you are dedicated and passionate about the program. How can you show them this?
Get involved with your schools newspaper, try and volunteer at your local news station, blog or vlog. Have something to show them that showcases your talents and highlights your passion.
Hi, Fatima. I'd suggest that you seek a school with qualities that interest you, and don't worry about what you "should" look for. I have two degrees in journalism, but I was required to major and minor in additional topics, for which I'm grateful. Look for a program that offers broad-based studies. In the end, journalism is a craft that can be taught; knowledge and a broad education in many topics is more important. I'm probably a bit biased as I've taught on and off in my career, but look for programs that have professional journalists teaching some of the classes. There is no one better to prepare you for the real world, than those already working in the profession. Look for schools that offer classes beyond the basics. As I said, journalism is a craft that can be taught. Asking questions, clear writing, they're not complicated. But today's journalism world is, so find a program where you can learn many skills ... digital media, videography, film-making ... I'd even suggest coding. You want to be equipped with the basic skills when you get out, but you also want to be broadly based in the media as it exists today. In many ways, while getting a job is probably a lot harder now than it was when I graduated, journalism is a much more interesting field now. By picking a well-rounded program where you'll get good journalism skills AND a broad education, you'll be ready. Hope that helps. Good luck with your choice!
As a journalism major myself, back in the day, it helps to be passionate about writing and grammar- you should be articulate and concise in your language. It also helps if you have some experience, writing for a school paper, getting an editorial published in a local newspaper, publishing a (quality) blog, but it's not necessary. You should be curious and skeptical- get the facts, dig into the research and the science and the why, the story behind the story. You need to be deadline driven and be able to consistently produce quality, accurate content in time to get it published. Finally, what draws you to their programs, what qualities do you personally possess that interest you in the field? It's more important that you show them what you bring to the table, as opposed trying to fit their "criteria." You probably aren't finding much, because they don't want to be precise- they want pick and choose from a divers applicant pool.