As an international student, deciding where to study communications in the USA can be difficult, considering the hundreds of top communication colleges located in almost all 50 states. By narrowing down what you are looking for in a school, job, and city, the process will become easier. This article will take you through the process of how to determine which geographic location is right for you as you pursue a degree in communications.
If you are an international student trying to decide where you want to study communications, you’ll soon find that there is no right answer. The right place to study communications will depend on what you are looking for and what you want to get out of your education in the USA. As you make your decision, however, it is helpful to consider these 5 factors: the current job market, opportunities, atmosphere, diversity, and affordability.
Since where you study can often become where you work, it is important to research the current job market and see where employment is available. Careers in communication are extremely competitive and international students need more than a degree to land a job—they need experience. Studying in a location where you can find a job (as well as an internship) during or after college will help you gain the experience you need to find a job elsewhere. If you choose to study in a prestigious communications college where there are not many opportunities to gain experience, you may be doing yourself a disservice in the long run.
Depending on your concentration, different schools will offer different opportunities. International students in print or online journalism may appreciate the opportunities that Stony Brook University in New York has to offer. Not only do the students have a variety of job and internship opportunities, but they also have a unique opportunity to report in countries around the world through the program Journalism without Walls. Students involved in the program have reported in Cuba, China, Russia and more. At Boston University, advertising students have the opportunity to participate in AdLab which is the first and largest full-service, student-run advertising agency in the world. Public Relations students can take advantage of the programs at The University of Alabama as well as compete in prominent public relations competitions such as the PRCA Student Medallion Awards and the Bateman Competition. Felician College in New Jersey has a digital video concentration where students can learn the art of producing their own videos. There is a wide range of opportunities available in the top communication colleges and deciding which opportunities are right for you can help narrow your decision on where to study in communication.
Possibly the most important factor to bear in mind when you’re choosing where to study communication is the atmosphere—the feel of the city and college you’re planning to attend. The atmosphere of the city you live in during your years of college (and maybe longer) is important to your health and happiness. Think about the climate (do you prefer warm weather or cold weather?), the size (large, medium, small), and the style of the town (industrial, country, artsy, etc.). This city will become your home for at least four years. Make sure that it is the type of town that you could see yourself living in for a while. When your new city feels like home, you will be more apt to become involved in your school and community. Take advantage of college tours if you can. Walk around the city and talk to the people. See if you can picture yourself thriving and growing in that area.
As a communication major especially, international students may want to consider schools with a diverse student body. The chance to interact with students of different beliefs, backgrounds, cultures and visions will be helpful in the field of communications. Careers in communications often require their employees to have the ability to effectively understand and communicate with a wide variety of different people. Studying in a college where diversity is important can help enhance your cross-cultural awareness which will be helpful in your future career.
Not only should you keep in mind the cost of the school, but also the cost of living in that area. Some areas of the US can be more costly than others. Keep in mind the prices of everyday items such as food, gas, taxes and other economical facets that you may have to manage during or after college. One of the main reasons students do not finish college is because they can no longer afford it. Many of them did not stop and think about all of the expenses that come with paying for school and living on your own.
When deciding where to study communication, there are many factors to think about. There are hundreds of top communication colleges in the US. Wherever you choose to study, make sure you make the best of your experience there. Take advantage of academic and career opportunities, internships, study abroad programs and networking. Most of how you feel about your school and city is what you put into it. Get involved, serve in your new community, and discover the endless possibilities that the world of communication has to offer.