Soph. just starting to think about colleges, good journalism

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Discus: College Search and Selection: April 2004 Archive: Soph. just starting to think about colleges, good journalism
By Whiteivy03 (Whiteivy03) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 07:59 pm: Edit

Hey guys. I'm a sophomore who's just beginning to think about colleges. I don't really have much to give you in terms of stats, but here they are:

-School doesn't calculate GPA or give ranks, but I received straight as a freshman, have had straight As as a sophomore in my first semester (save for a B+ in history).
-PSAT in the beginning of sophomore year, Expected ranges: Verbal 580-680 (95th percentile), Math 620-680 (97th percentile), Writing Skills 570-710 (92nd percentile)
-Should have good ECs. I'll have been writing for one website for four years if I continue with it, and another one for three years if I continue with it, and I have a good chance of some of my work eventually going into their monthly magazine. I have won multiple community service awards. I will have been on the school newspaper for three years by the time I'm a senior. I'm going to Stanford's journalism camp during this summer and will probably have an internship at a radio station soon.

I'm just starting to think about the college process, and I've received snail mail and e-mail from various colleges. I'd really like to be a journalism major, as my passion is sports writing. I've thought of a few possible schools. Northwestern is probably a dream school, as I just love everthing about it. My older sister (currently a senior) applied but got rejected, but she was applying as a theatre major. A goal of mine would be to get into the cherub program next summer but that may also be difficult. But I'm just keeping my options open. I'd also look at a lot of other overall great schools like Stanford (my mother went there and I've been there before, absolutely love it), Brown, Princeton, etc. However, these may be reaches (still early to be tossing around that term).

I've heard that UNC has a great journalism program, and that sounds like a great school overall as well. Plus, with the basketball team and the football team, I'm sure there are plenty of sports reporting opportunities. I've also heard from the University of Miami (FL), and some people have told me it's actually an underrated journalism school. Plus there are LOTS of sports journalism opportunities there, whether it be covering the Hurricanes or covering high school football. Syracuse is another place that stands out, as I believe they have many sportscaster alumni.

Any advice you seasoned veterans would have for me, or other schools I should just start looking into? Any and all advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

By Yodisistim (Yodisistim) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 08:10 pm: Edit

Well Northwestern is the "Harvard" of journalism schools considering that it is the only school beside Columbia University & Berkeley (both Grad School only) in the top 25 that offers journalism. The runner-ups in order of ranking is then UNC and NYU.

There are other schools like Syracuse, Boston and University of Miami that also have good programs.

If you want to go to the Ivies, you have to choose another major like English because they do not have accredited journalism programs. Needless to say, I couldn't go to Harvard even if I wanted to. Anyway, good luck, you'll make the right choice. As for me, I'll be going to UNC Chapel Hill for undergrad with hopes of attending NYU or Columbia for grad.

By Brownalum (Brownalum) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 08:18 pm: Edit

Your best bet if you want to go into print journalism is to do very well in a liberal arts major at a top university (Harvard, Yale, UPenn, Northwestern, Amherst etc), gain distinction working for the school paper, and get internships at newspapers or PR firms.

It helps if you go to a school with a prominent campus paper (Harvard Crimson, Yale Daily News, Daily Pennsylvanian, Northwestern etc) because there will be existing networks to help you gain entry into the very competitive journalism world.

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 08:24 pm: Edit

The first suggestion I would make is NOT to fall in love with a single school. At this point, look at a variety of options, schools of different sizes and in different parts of the country, schools of different sizes. Get a copy of the Fiske Guide to Colleges (available in most bookstores and libraries) and read up on different schools to see what you'd most like in terms of size, social life, atmosphere, location, etc.

Once you have an idea of the type of school you're looking for, you can start focusing on schools that have good journalism/communications programs. Find some that will be safeties for you (i.e., your stats will put you in the top range of accepted students), some that will be matches (your stats are in the mid range), and a few reaches (your stats may be in the low range OR the schools accept less than 45% of applicants)

Here's my list of schools with good journalism and communications programs, in no particular order:
University of Southern California
University of Missouri-Columbia
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Boston U
University of Maryland-College Park
Ithaca College
Trinity U (Texas)
Washingotn & Lee
James Madison
Loyola (MD)
Loyola Marymount (CA)
Marist (NY)
Flagler (FL)
U of Pittsburgh
U of Denver
Chapman (CA)
U of Arizona
Arizona State U
U of Scranton
Santa Clara U
TExas Christian
U of Oregon
Ohio Wesleyan
St. Bonaventure
U of Wsiconsin-Ann ARbor
U of Miami

Once you've decided on the type of school you want, go through this list as a starting point, read up on what the Fiske Guide and other guides have to say, visit each school's web site and read through the department description of courses, programs, etc. and you'll soon be able to make comparisons between schools as to which schools are the best journalism schools for YOU.

And, keep coming back here and asking for insight and information!

By Whiteivy03 (Whiteivy03) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 09:04 pm: Edit

Thanks a bunch guys.

My sister is a senior and she's going through a lot of this stuff now, so I've been interested in watching the process and how everything unfolds. Hopefully everything goes well for her tomorrow!

By Enjoyingthis (Enjoyingthis) on Thursday, April 01, 2004 - 02:26 am: Edit

I guess I'd like to put in a plug for my alma mater, the University of Oregon. I stumbled into the Journalism Department practically by accident when I was casting about for a new major at the beginning of my sophomore year. I thought the J-school was great. My brother also got his degree in journalism there and we have published between us, about a dozen books. I have always written free-lance (novels) but his job right after graduation was sportswriting. He's worked on several papers and is now a popular columnist. So many stories on this board of people not being admitted to their dream schools so it would be good to keep some in mind that might be possibilites for you. Good luck becoming a writer!

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