Top Tips to get on a degree

I wrote this blog nearly a year ago and thought I would revisit it. As term nears its end for many about to go into their final year at comprehensive, thoughts will start to turn to life beyond and university and degrees.

2012 will be an interesting year for many universities as course fees will have risen dramatically.

Here are some top tips if you’re thinking of applying for a journalism programme.

I invite all applicants for an interview, as I believe people deserve a chance and it’s a great way to meet them face to face to find out what they’re like and how they respond. Not all, however, get a place on the course and many are rejected for various reasons. For some, it ‘s simply not being able to convey themselves and use English to a high level, for others it’s because they don;t show any interest or passion for the subject. Some can’t even discuss why they like a particular news programme. Most often an answer is “because it’s on”.

Journalism is about writing and being able to tell a story in a variety of ways that actually engages an audience.

You’d be surprised at how many applications I read that are not well written or constructed. Do these people actually read through their work to check for errors and to ensure it flows and reads well?  While I write this blog, I am constantly reading it and re-reading it and changing things. I am never satisfied and take pride in my work. So first tip is to have an idea of what you want to say and construct it so it makes sense. Tip two, check for spelling and grammatical errors. So many applicants use lower case i, instead of I. It’s lazy and sloppy.

Don’t lie on your form. Be honest. You should be demonstrating why you deserve a place on a university programme. Journalism degrees are popular. You will be competing against many people. Look at what you have done while at school or college, which makes you stand out. Have you done work experience at a newspaper or radio station? Have you contributed to a school newspaper? Helped produce a community newsletter? Examples like this show your enthusiasm and passion in the subject. Simply saying you’ve always wanted to be a journalist, without being to able to show some determination, in my opinion, is not good enough. It shows you have commitment and a strong interest in the subject and will stand you out amongst thousands.

Another important thing, is ensure you have the grades to get you on the programme. There is no point in applying to a course that you will not get on to. I have had applicants send in forms and they clearly have not got enough UCAS points. Also ensure that you have met the entry requirements and if it says GSCE English at Grade C or above, don’t apply if you have it at D or not at all. With me these people get a letter recommending what they need to do. Many never come back, as they were not serious about getting on the course in the first place.

Also, if journalism is your subject, then demonstrate you read more than the local newspaper. While the local newspaper is good, demonstrating that you read other papers or magazines shows you take an interest. The same goes for TV and radio. If pressed, could you tell the interviewer why you like one programme or publication above another? Understand what journalism is and find out what a journalist’s role is. So many still come in talking about print journalism. They fail to realise (and this is probably because they’ve never looked) that print journalists use video to produce content for the web. So at least show you have a basic understanding of the career pathway you’re choosing.

These are some of the key issues. The next stage is when you get invited in for an interview and assessment.

So to recap on my top tips:

Tip 1 – Have an idea of what you want to say and construct it so it makes sense

Tip 2 – Check for spelling and grammatical errors

Tip 3 – Get involved with publications or writing while at school or college

Tip 4 – Ensure you have the grades

Tip 5 – Have a strong interest in journalism

Tip 6 – Understand what journalism is about

For more information on courses at East Coast Media call 01472 315550.

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3 thoughts on “Top Tips to get on a degree

  1. Pingback: The dreaded C word « Journalism Blog

  2. Pingback: Clearing – East Coast Media – Multi Platform Journalism « Journalism Blog

  3. Pingback: Multi-Platform Journalism « Journalism Blog

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