Perspectives on College Preparation

Macie Maislin and Sara Metzger

When the subject of college comes up to an aspiring journalist, a lot can come to mind. Whether it’s preparing by putting yourself in extra curricular activities to build a college resume or expanding your knowledge of the news world, a misconception about the best way to prepare for college as an aspiring journalist occurs.

Corey Davidson is a senior at Jackson High School. Throughout his four-year involvement at his school’s publications program, he has climbed from a staff member to the editor in chief. In order to reach his career goal as a journalist, Davidson has considered alternate majors aside from journalism.

“Well right now I’m thinking about journalism as my main major, but I’ve also considered IT, like computer sciences and also in the area of communications. These days, IT and computer sciences are very relevant to journalism with this digital revolution.”

Rebecca Dohrman, assistant and program director of communications at Maryville University, had advice that coincided with Davidson’s views.

“We encourage students to minor in something in computing and programming. I think it’s important to have a good understanding of things relating to computers in the journalism world because that makes them more of a technical thinker, which really balances the journalism way of thinking. It’s good for them to learn to live in both types of those worlds.”

In order to prepare for his college career, Davidson has take certain measures to better his chances at success and acclimate himself to a college environment.

“I’ve been taking a bunch of AP courses, those advanced kinds of things. I’ve also taken a few extracurricular activities such as band or newspaper. I’ve also worked at a job so I know how to effectively work with groups and use my time wisely.”

Dohrman had varying advice on how to familiarize oneself to the college life. She feels that prior knowledge about outside news stories would benefit the upcoming college student.

“The most important thing is to consume a lot of news from a broad range of sources. Whatever your interests are, be knowledgeable on those. Also, I would encourage you to stretch yourself to other types. For example, I’m interested in politics but I read the Wall Street Journal, even though I’m not in corporate business. I try to read a wide range of different things. I’ll listen to CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and the complete range of political spectrums. Also, I try to change the different ways of consuming news. I listen to a lot of radio, TV, Internet, and read from one of my favorite apps, Longform.”

According to Dohrman, a large challenge that comes in college is balancing your social, school and work life. Davidson juggles a job, extracurricular activities, and advanced placement classes, therefore preparing himself for the college challenges Dohrman describes.

“Working a lot will also be a challenge college students will face. You’re dealing with managing full time school along with 20 hours or so a week of work. That’s a lot of time. The students work very hard, sometimes harder than I’d like them to work. When you’re stressed going from one test to the next, it’s not really ideal for our field, because our field is creativity focused and being in touch with the people you’re interviewing and so you have to obtain that large mental capacity to handle all of these things.”