How to apply for the best Journalism Grad Schools

Applying to graduate schools is a serious and tedious process. But once you hit the bull’s eye, the sense of achievement will be worth the pain.

Some Tips to maximize your chances to best grad schools-

  • Essay Writing Tips
    The quality of your essay can be the single determining factor of your admission. So-

    • Be honest about yourself - For example; at Columbia school of journalism, points on your- personal life, career goals, or inspiring incidents, people or book- are expected in your essay.  So do not to be superficial.
    • Go through the guidelines - Read the essay writing guidelines carefully. Make sure you don’t exceed the word limits, make silly errors in- grammar, line spacing, spelling or language.
    • Go beyond credentials - You may feel worried if your GPA or test score is low. In that case, be tactful and fill up the void by your other interests like sports or social work.
      Personalize your essay - Insert some inputs on why you like the particular school and their journalism program and why you want to study there.

  • Tip for Interview
    This interview is the way to campaign for yourself. So take it as a job interview.

    • Research well about the grad school.
    • Dress and behave professionally.
    • Be prepared to tell them about your life, why you want to study journalism in their college etc.
    • Don’t lie.
    • Show positivity– both in body language and in answers.
    • After the interview, you can send thankyou e-mails to the interviewers.
    • Prepare yourself by thoroughly following up current affairs as interviewers may ask you to analyze some important world-events.
  • Tips to finance your course
    There are mainly three means to finance your course- personal savings/ loans/ scholarships. Besides that, these tips may come handy-

    • There are number of govt and private bodies that offer scholarships. Gather information and apply for them.
    • Top schools like UC Berkley and Columbia - have provisions of limited scholarships and departmental funding for their journalism program.
  • Tips for preparing academic parcels
    Academic parcels contain various documents- depending on the requirements of individual colleges. Here is a general list of documents-

    • Letter of recommendation - Prepare ahead for your letters as you need to contact your ex- professors or mentors and gather their details.

    • Application fees

    • Application form – Either more common online application form or the printed ones.

    • Transcripts – Here also, there are two types. You can send all your transcripts in printed form or you can scan and upload them to application portal.

    • Standardized test scores - Colleges need official SAT/ACT/GRE test score direct from the conducting agency. 

    • Samples of work - Some universities may want your previous work samples in the form of – writing/photographs, in limited numbers- either online form or printed.

    • Personal statement of purpose - It includes mainly- your background and relevant experiences, your career plans, reasons to study journalism etc.
In case they want some additional materials- contact their student helpline number/id.
  • Internship tips

    • Firstly, you need university- permission for internship like Columbia School of Journalism doesn’t encourage internship till spring semester due to course-pressure. But UC-Berkley is extremely open and guiding about students working on or off campus.
    • Know your university guidelines.
    • Some schools like UC Berkley, have in-campus job-positions like – student researcher, instructor, TV and News, lab-assistants etc.
    • It’s not advisable to work outside campus in the first semester of college. It may hamper your study.
  • Tips for International Students

    • If you come from a non-English speaking country you need to go through English language test like TOEFEL/ IELTES, additionally, along with standardized tests like SAT/ACT/GRE.
    • Research well beforehand about required tests and score-points.
    • Take time to Schedule your tests.
    • Plan well ahead.
    • Organize your documents. Make a necessary list.
    • As an international student you need additional proofs of financial means and citizenship.
    • Research about the college, its journalism department, whether they provide any financial aid and part time jobs for international students.
    • Check up all the financial means like- loans, personal savings, and scholarships.
    • Try to connect with students of your country who are currently studying in your ‘chosen’ schools.
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