Every school has its own complicated admission requirements. It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the quantity of paperwork you will need to fill out, tests you'll need to take, and the essays you'll need to write. Take a deep breath and research the journalism degree programs that interest you well in advance of submitting any applications.
Read on to discover what you can expect during the application process for a journalism degree.
Applying for college is the ultimate lesson in planning ahead.
While this holds true for US applicants as well, international students really need to take this to heart. In some cases, the application process should start six months to one year before the start of the first semester.
Keep in mind that it takes time to gather all the required documents, write a great admissions essay (or two, depending on the college), and have test scores sent to that institution. Once the application period is over, international students are also responsible for applying for visas in order to study legally in the United States.
Admissions requirements at each school may vary, so it's important to check the requirements that pertain to your school. Make a list of each document you'll need to supply throughout the application process. Better yet, some schools offer printable admissions checklists. Use these to your benefit. As you collect each item cross or check it off the list to make the process more manageable.
What to Expect
The application process for a journalism degree can change from school to school. For the most part, however, you can expect the following requirements for many journalism degree programs in the US:
- This can be online or paper-based, but online is usually preferred.
- This usually does not go towards tuition once accepted and will not be refunded if the applicant is denied acceptance. Fees range from $40 to $90.
- Include official transcripts for all secondary schools attended.
- Test Scores
- ACT, SAT, TOEFL, or IELTS scores sent from testing centers directly to the college or university. Scores sent via any other method are not considered official and will not be accepted.
- Schools may require one to three essays. Essay topics vary.
- Letters of Recommendation
- Journalism schools may require up to two letters from teachers, administrators, or work supervisors who know you well and can attest to your character.
- Proof of Financial
- International students must prove they have sufficient funds to cover educational and living expenses for one academic year (at minimum). This will be required by any school you apply for, but it may not be needed until after you've been accepted.
Tests needed for acceptance into most major colleges or universities include the ACT or SAT. Some schools require this of all first-year applicants, and some schools waive this requirement for international students in lieu of other determining factors like secondary school grades.
International students whose primary language is not English are required to take the SAT or IELTS. Schools may waive this requirement for students who have studied at a high school in the US. Again, you'll want to check with each school for specific details.
Journalism calls for a great command of the English language. The minimum required TOEFL and IELTS scores for acceptance into journalism degree programs will be higher than those required by other programs of study – even those offered by the same university.
Journalism schools typically look for applicants with a minimum score of 550–650 for the paper-based TOEFL, internet-based TOEFL scores of 79–100, and IELTS scores of 6–7.
In a few cases, students who score lower are given the opportunity to take a university-based test and/or interview with administration for another chance of acceptance.
Journalism Degree Programs
Once accepted to a university, many students are also required to gain acceptance into the school's journalism program.
Students can be accepted immediately into journalism programs based on excellent SAT/ACT test scores or a high secondary school GPA. Other schools require students to take basic-level journalism courses during their freshman year, before they're allowed to apply for admission into a journalism program. This can have the added benefit of helping you determine if journalism is the right program for you, before you become too invested (both financially and in terms of time) in the program.
The application process for a journalism degree differs from school to school, so be sure you're aware of how to get into the university you want, and the journalism degree program of your choice as well.