Top Tips For Picking A University Degree

If you read my last blog post ‘A Change Of Heart : From Journalism to Public Relations’ you will know that I am about four months away from graduating with a Music Journalism Degree. I will admit I did rush into choosing my degree and although I don’t regret my decision, I do wish I had followed some of these steps:

1.Do your research

Looking at the University website’s course details isn’t enough. You should look into the industry you’re interested in working in too. For example if you’re interested in doing  a Public Relations course, visit PR Week, read books, visit prospects.co.uk to look at job roles, skills and challenges. This will help you to decide if you’re the right person for this industry.

2. Speak to people who are in that industry/ on the course you’re interested in

Getting advice from people who have been through it helps massively, some universities (like mine, Southampton Solent) do phone-ins where you can talk to students currently on the course you’re interested in. They can give you a real-life walk through of how the course will be, which should help to decide if it’s for you.

3. If you want to do a degree in Advertising, look into all the Communications degrees, and so on…

All degrees fall under certain job sectors, in communications we have Marketing, Journalism, PR, Advertising etc. You may have thought you wanted to do Advertising but after looking into other communications courses, you found yourself more suited to Marketing. This the same for all university courses, you may want to study nursing, then after a further look into the Healthcare sector, find yourself more suited to a Paramedic Science degree.

4. If your dream degree sounds really difficult, don’t let it put you off

University isn’t meant to be easy, it is supposed to be a big jump from college or school, the whole point of university is to challenge yourself and to learn, I say go for it.

5. Don’t let grade requirements put you off applying for a certain course either

If the course you’re interested in is asking for a number of UCAS points that you think you’ll struggle to achieve, don’t let that scare you. At the end of the day universities want students, in fact they need them. It has been known that many students get into their top choice university without reaching the exact UCAS requirements, sometimes universities are interested in more than just points.

A Change of Heart : From Journalism to Public Relations

I am final year Music Journalism student studying at Southampton Solent University, soon to be graduating in July. I decided on my degree not long before applying for university. At that point all I knew was that I loved writing and I loved music. I applied for my current course and some other Journalism courses in 2013 whilst still in college.

In my first year of university I thoroughly enjoyed myself, going to gigs, listening to tons of music, designing my own online music magazine, and of course lots and lots of writing, which all sat very well with me. Writing is one thing I have never lost interest in, ever since school I have always been a keen writer. So when I found myself becoming less interested in Journalism I was confused.

It was only after deciding to do a little research of my own that I discovered it wasn’t the writing I was getting bored of, it was the style and content of the writing. I began looking into other communications careers, but I wanted to make sure that my Journalism degree would still be useful and relevant. I started looking into PR,  it appealed to me for a number of reasons: the marketing (something that really stood out to me through my final year group collaborative project) branding, strategising, campaigning and writing. These roles sounded more appealing to me then Journalism.

Saying this, I don’t regret choosing my course, it has taught me so much. It has given me so much varied experience that I know I would not have received on any other course. It has given me so much more confidence as a person too, this came from the abundance of networking which is a key aspect of the PR industry.

I attended the PR SSU ‘Meet the Professionals’ event on the 7th of February; I chose to attend (as the only Journalism student) simply because i was interested in learning more and speaking to professionals about my career change. I was happily surprised to meet multiple former Journalists who had gone into Public Relations, (Simon Carr, James Morton: HantsFire PR). The professionals encouraged me to go beyond my degree and assured me that it was perfectly okay to change my mind. Head of Earned Media at Koozai PR Vicky Taylor also shared with me that she had studied film, then worked in recruitment and then ended up in PR, advising me that change is fine. What was also repeated to me was that in a degree like Journalism, you gain a lot of transferable skills that can be used in a range of fields, particularly within communication jobs. (advertising, public relations, marketing, etc.)

I felt very confused and worried about changing my career aspirations at first but after an abundance of research and lots of helpful advice, I am excited to begin a career in the PR industry.

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Meet The Professionals Event @ Solent University (The Spark)

 

Stayed tuned for my next blog posts similar to this one:

‘Top Tops For Picking A University Degree’

‘Top Tips & Advice: Changing Your Mind Mid-Degree’