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While I wanted to apply to grad school, I wasn’t sure if I would get accepted to the programs I applied to, since I didn’t have a perfect GPA or any experience in the field, outside of The Cougar Chronicle.
But, with the help and support of my family, friends, professors and my former mentors from The Cougar Chronicle, I gained the confidence to proceed with my applications and miraculously not only got accepted to all the programs I applied to, but was also offered a fellowship at one of the universities as well.
For those who are possibly considering applying to J-school, this article is for you.
Tip #1: Determine what area of the field that you want to go into
The very first thing you should determine before looking into J-school programs, is to determine what area of the field that you want to specialize in. Journalism comes in different forms, such as broadcast, print (newspaper and magazine), multimedia, photojournalism, documentary and more.
Tip #2: Research programs at different universities across the country
You might not know where to start when researching J-school programs to apply to, but a good place to start is by simply Googling “best journalism schools in the country” or “graduate journalism programs in California.” Once you’ve looked into a few of the programs that you’ve found off of these lists, then you can determine whether or not they cater to the area of journalism that you’d like to specialize in and can take note as to whether or not they appeal to you. This is also a good time to check out how much the program costs and whether there are any scholarship opportunities available.
Tip #3: Gather your letters of recommendation
One of the most vital parts of the application process is your letters of rec. Make sure to ask professors and faculty that you know well (or at least have done well in classes you’ve taken with them), as they are more likely to write stronger letters of rec. Also, make sure to give them plenty of time in advance before your application due dates.
Tip #4: Write a strong personal statement and/or statement of purpose
I know from my personal experience applying to J-school, I opened up about my personal experiences and about my accomplishments while at The Cougar Chronicle. This is a time where you also write about what you want to do and why you’d be an important asset to the program. Also discuss why you want to go to the specific programs that you are applying to. Don’t be afraid to really open up: maxing at 500 words, statements are supposed to be where you stand out and show how you are valuable.
Tip #5: Don’t doubt yourself
Submit the application. Once you’ve gotten to the point where you’ve determined what programs you wanted to apply to, checked out their financial aid, gotten your letters of rec and written your statements, you need to stop doubting yourself and submit that application (after double checking to make sure all your required info is there). Don’t think about whether your GPA is too low, or if you are good enough for the programs you are applying to. Many of us are our own worst enemies, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
Sometimes people have to apply more than one cycle in order to get admittance if they weren’t accepted the first time around or due to not receiving enough financial aid. Don’t let this deter you from applying to grad school or pursuing a career in journalism. You have value.
Continue to take risks and do what it takes to achieve your dreams. Best of luck.