College Prep for Journalism Major

You have to up your game, once decided to go for a journalism graduate school. To achieve your dream of becoming a journalist, you need to cover four basic steps
  • A  good GPA
  • High score in SAT/ACT tests.
  • Choosing the right college accredited by Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and timely application (ACEJMC).
  • And what courses you should ideally take up at under-grad degree.

The importance of good GPA

If you want to study in a good college which gives value- for- money education, you need to score high GPA. There are other pre-requisites to enter into a major program, but remember high ranking colleges like Syracuse University, NY demands GPA as high as 3.8 for admission. So prepare well.

Importance of accreditation in college selection

  • Accreditation with ACEJMC ensures that the journalism program you are enrolling into- is of a standard quality, gives value education, complied with the national standards and is true to its mission and vision statements.
  • A journalism degree can be pretty costly and an ACEJMC accredited institution can offer scholarships, internships and even placement facilities to students.
  • So in a word, it’s an assurance for parents, students and citizens alike.
But, there are many non-accredited programs which are good, though they may not offer the above facilities. So finally, it should be a joint decision of you and your parents on where to study, based upon – your career goal, desired location and how you are planning to finance your course.

Tips for your Standardized Tests

  • Study smartly for standardized tests like SAT or ACT. Don’t delay too much to appear in the exam if you are planning to apply in the fall for admission. You need to schedule your tests in such a manner that if you don’t get a good score in the first test, you can still have time left between - to reappear for the second test and applying for admission with test result.

  • There are some differences between the format of SAT and ACT, nonetheless both of them requires math- so memorize your math formulas well. Study the basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra I and II, geometry, and for ACT you need to brush up trigonometry too.

  • Take free trial tests from reliable test websites. The more you practice, the more you have the chance to work on your week sections and know your strong points.

  • Do a little bit of investment and buy the Official SAT / ACT Test Prep Book.

  • For critical reading and writing sections, you have a list of things to do-
    a) Enhance your vocabulary
    b) Read everything- from current affairs, fictions, non-fictions to business news.
    c) Practice writing essays within set time.
    d) Learn grammar and practice multiple choice questions more often.
For international students who wish to study journalism major in US, you need to have TOEFL/IELTS scores, if you come from a non-English speaking country. Prepare well and research thoroughly about the test prep guidelines to score high.

Courses ideally you need to take up at undergrad degree

Once you enroll into journalism major program, you will study core courses to know basic journalism areas, and elective courses will prepare you to develop your specialty on one or more fields.
All the leading journalism programs across US have almost same set of core courses; like-
  • Introduction to journalism
  • Report Writing and Editing
  • Multimedia Writing
  • Journalism Ethics
  • Visual Journalism and multimedia and so on.
In case of Electives, you have a broad spectrum that more or less cover-
  • Online Media
  • Photojournalism
  • Production and publication
  • Journalism methods and practice etc.
You can take up dual majors depending on the availability in your college. In case, select your other major subject carefully. Subjects like foreign language, history, politics, computer science, women studies go well with journalism major. Explore your options and seek guidance from faculty when needed.
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