Are graduates from well-known journalism schools more likely to snag jobs at magazines? Does the name of your school matter as much as your experience?
– Confused High School Senior
Dear Confused High School Senior,
Going to a well-known journalism school will give you a great background in the industry, but it’s not going to necessarily give you an edge over other candidates who’ve studied at liberal arts schools. The most important thing that will help you “snag” a job after graduation is your experience. When you go in for an interview, editors are going to want to know what you’ve done to hone your journalism skills. What internships have you done? Are you involved in your school’s magazine or newspaper? Have you written for any websites? These are the main questions editors will care about when they look at your resume. It certainly doesn’t hurt you to have a great journalism school listed on your resume, but it will not be the deciding factor.
Networking can be a bit easier when you graduate from a prestigious journalism school since there are usually more alumni working in the industry, but just because you went to the same school as the hiring editor does not mean you’re going to get a job.
Ed’s not putting down J-school — many Ed staffers went to well-known journalism schools — but the truth is, you don’t have to go to one to make it in the industry. Liberal arts majors can actually work in your favor on a magazine interview. If you want to be a health editor, studying biology would be a smart move. And a major in economics would be very attractive to a business magazine. The good news: You can spin it either way regardless of where you go, so you really can’t make a mistake because your experience is way more important than the name of your school!