High School seniors and parents of high school seniors are in that in-between time: where early admission letters have been sent out but regular admission letters haven’t. While you wait, here are two things to think about when making that college decision. (Full disclosure: This probably isn’t anything you haven’t heard before. I talk about this with all sorts of school groups all the time.)
Thing 1 – Big school or small school? I grew up on a farm…went to a small Catholic grade school and a small high school. I needed to go somewhere bigger but not too big. I chose Marquette, in Milwaukee. It worked for me. A larger school like Uof I or ISU may have been a bit too much for this lil’ ol’ country boy. On the other hand, smaller schools have a lot going for them. Here at USF we preach about small class sizes, family atmosphere and teacher/student ratios. That’s good if you like that kind of thing; bad, if you crave anonymity. With only 15 students in class, I know when you’re not there. I know when you are scrolling through twitter rather than paying attention. I know that you live on campus and can’t use “car trouble” as an excuse. You make the call.
Thing 2 – Choosing a major. There is outrageous pressure on students to pick a major right away and get started on a career as soon as possible. On one hand, I understand. College is expensive. You don’t want to wander around for 4 years before finding your niche and spending 2 more years in the system, racking up more debt. On the other hand, at the age of 18, who among us – and parents, I am talking to you – knew what they wanted to do for the rest of their life. I certainly didn’t. I went into Marquette as a theater major and came out as a broadcasting major. (My poor parents….It’s only now that I can feel the anguish they must have felt when young Brien said “I think I want to be an actor!”) The point is, some students know right away. Some think they know. Still others have no clue but feel they have to pick something. We (USF) spend a lot of time exposing freshmen to all of the majors and career options. Some students change majors. Some don’t. I just hope we are reducing some of the anxiety that an 18 year-old feels when faced with the biggest decision of their young life. Parents: please give your kid a break if they call one night and say they don’t want to be an education major (or biology or English) anymore. Over 50% of students change their major at least once.
I told you all that to tell you this: Calling all high school seniors who have an interest in writing, broadcasting, graphic design or media in general. I am also calling your parents. Mark down March 15 at 5pm. It’s the second annual CMMA/Mass Communication Alumni Network presentation of “A Communication Degree! Now What?” Alumni come back to USF to talk about how they used their communication degree out in the cold, cruel job market. Last year we had a diverse selection of CMMA/Mass Comm alumni speakers from a golf association, health care organization, educational nonprofit and a major concert sound reinforcement company. This year's line-up hasn't been set yet but you can be assured that we will cover a wide range of career opportunities in the field.
So, even if your not considering USF as a college choice, please come by for some refreshments and some insight into the wild, wacky world of communication and media. I will update the event information here and on the CMMA facebook page when the speakers are finalized. See you on March 15!