Update (05/28/2013): I’ve created a FAQ blog post with various Humber PR-related questions I’ve received through this blog about the application process (interview and writing test), the program and job prospects.
The last eight months I spent as a student in Humber College’s postgraduate certificate program in PR was the most challenging and rewarding experience of my academic career.
After an undergraduate program at a fairly renowned university, I thought that one year program at a college would be a walk in the park. Boy, was I wrong.
I won’t sugarcoat it; the program is demanding. Juggling multiple assignments all due on the same day is common. Your social life will take a backseat to your school life. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll question your writing abilities on more than one occasion.
The big picture was difficult to see when I was up to my eyeballs in communication plans, press releases and issues management documents. But looking back now, the Humber PR experience is tremendously rewarding.
- I learned about public relations from every angle imaginable: internal and external, theory and practice, new media and traditional media… you get the idea.
- I’m more confident in my abilities as a writer, event planner, communications strategist, designer and public speaker – just some of the hats I’ll need to wear as a PR practitioner.
- I became a member of a connected and supportive community of Humber PR alumni. The outpouring of support and love over Twitter from alums on my cohort’s last day of classes was incredible.
- I landed a pretty sweet internship at Springfree Trampoline, working alongside Katherine Langdon, also a Humber PR grad. I’m stoked. I start Monday. BOING.
And that’s only the beginning. I’m optimistic that what I’ve gained from this program will lead to a long career in the PR industry.
Sarah Dawson, a good friend and classmate of mine, is famous for her motto “sharing is caring”. So in the spirit of sharing as I make the transition from student to alumna, here’s a list of tips on surviving Humber PR for future students:
- Meet your new best friend: GoogleDocs. With a high volume of group assignments in this program, “Let’s make a GoogleDoc!” is common lingo. Learn it. Embrace it. Love it.
- Read anything and everything. In PR, it’s good to know a little about a lot. Absorb information like a sponge. Good places to start are newspapers (Humber PR recommends The Globe and Mail) and blogs. I enjoy Mashable, Ragan.com and PR Conversations for industry-related topics. As well, read blogs that you cater to your interests and passions – there are millions of them out there!
- Network like it’s nobody’s business. In the immortal words of Kalene Morgan, program coordinator and professor, “Be a B+ student and an A+ networker”. In the end, your networks will open up opportunities, not your grades.
- Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer! Being a Humber PR student gets you some pretty awesome perks. Some of my classmates got to volunteer at events like the JUNO Awards, the Interior Design Show and LG Fashion Week. Seize these opportunities. This leads nicely into my next tip…
- Consider your USP (unique selling proposition). Think about it: when you finish this program, everyone else will finish with the same set of skills and knowledge. Have something on your resume that gives you an extra boost like special skills or unique experiences. Instead of one-time volunteer opportunities, I opted to volunteer for a theatre company over a span of five months. Due to the longevity of my involvement, I got to do hands-on tasks like managing the company’s social media presence. Needless to say, “experience with social media” became my USP during internship interviews.
- Most importantly, make friends. The shared experience of this program will bring you and your classmates close. Solid friendships will make the challenging aspects of the program bearable or even enjoyable. In the future, your classmates will be your key contacts and networks in the PR industry.
Prospective students, I hope you found this helpful. Fellow Humber grads, I hope I properly captured our collective experience.
What advice do you have on surviving a PR program?