The very first post I wrote on this blog was providing advice on the Humber PR program, on the day I finished my 8 months as a student. Fast forward two years and I’m still receiving emails from prospective applicants and students on a regular basis with questions about the program, especially the application process.
Same questions tend to come up, so I compiled the frequently asked questions along with my answers in one place. I figure if you’ve found my blog, you’re doing some internet research and that’s definitely a good skill to possess in PR so this is your reward… hah! 😉
This is also my way of doing some sneaky PR for Humber PR … not that the program really needs my help.
NOTE: All answers below are based on my personal experience. Please keep in mind that I went through application process in 2010 and I graduated from the program in 2011. Things could have changed since then!
What college/university grades or courses do you need for Humber PR?
As far as I know, there’s no grade cut-off for Humber PR. For the postgraduate certificate, you must be a graduate of a recognized college/university program, so the grade cut-off is technically what you need to graduate from your program.
You don’t need a specific set of courses either. The program tends to attract a large number of applicants from programs like journalism or Western’s MIT, to which Humber PR seems to be a natural “next step”.
Previous media, business and/or communications coursework is relevant, but definitely not necessary.
Why did you choose Humber College over X, Y, Z College for PR?
I chose Humber PR based on its reputation. All industry professionals who I spoke to during my application process recommended Humber – even professionals who didn’t graduate from the program. (That pretty much sealed the deal for me, to be honest…)
In the industry, Humber is generally recognized as the most competitive program for PR. It also has the largest alumni base and as our professors often liked to remind us, “Humber grads like to hire other Humber grads” and I’ve found this to be true in personal experience. Large alumni base means there are many Humber PR grads in the field, who are now in the position to hire, and having graduated from the same program, we all have an understanding of the education you received and know that you’re well prepared for the industry.
WRITING TEST & INTERVIEW
What’s the topic for the written test?
For my written test, I had to write about why you believe you’re well suited for a career in PR.
Do you have any advice for the written test?
Definitely stick to the word limit they provide and follow instructions. Your writing should be clear and concise as PR writing is NOT the essay writing you might be used to in university. Get to the point. Use language suitable for an 8th grader. Proofread to ensure your copy has zero errors!
What’s the interview process?
The one-on-one interview is about 15 minutes long.
First 10 minutes is similar to a job interview. I was asked questions like “Why do you want to be in PR?”, “What qualities/skills make you ideal for this industry?” and/or “What past experiences can you apply to a job in PR?”.
For the last 5 minutes, you are given a pop quiz on current events. In the program, you are expected to read the Globe and Mail every day and complete weekly current events quizzes. I would highly recommend keeping on top of news in the week or two leading up to your interview, if you aren’t already.
What should I wear to the interview?
I don’t think there’s a formal dress code for the interview, but I would highly recommend dressing sharp – at minimum, business casual. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed. Treat your Humber PR interview like a job interview. Show up prepared.
Do you have any pointers on how I can stand out from all of the other applicants?
For the interview, you are asked to bring a copy of your resume. Make sure it is free of errors. Writing is at the heart of communications and you definitely don’t want any spelling or grammar mistakes on your resume. Find ways to draw connections between any past experiences you’ve had to PR/communications and highlight them!
If you’re still enrolled in school when you apply to Humber, I would attend mock interview sessions and/or resume writing workshops (or similar) offered through your institution’s career centre.
What is the course workload in the program?
There’s approximately 30 hours of class a week. There are also readings and assignments to complete outside of class hours and ideally, you should also be spending time volunteering to gain PR experience. The coursework isn’t difficult per se but the challenge is all in time management. You could be juggling multiple assignments, projects and exams at once, on top of volunteering or other obligations, like a part-time job. In terms of hours, the program is a good training ground for “real life”, considering working in PR can often feel like a juggling act.
I’m a mature student. How will I fare in the program?
You’ll be just fine! Some people pursue a career in PR after years of working in a different field. Since everyone is required to have a diploma or degree for the certificate program, there’s a certain level of maturity among the students.
I hate public speaking. Will this affect my success in the program?
You are required to take a course on public speaking in the program. However, it’s also just as much a speech writing course as it is a public speaking course. Naturally, some students were great public speakers and some weren’t. I’m not the most confident public speaker but I did just fine in the class (thanks to lots of practice and supportive classmates) and my public speaking has improved significantly as a result. If you’re really concerned, I would encourage developing your public speaking skills by seeking out a Toastmasters club closest to you.
How does the Humber PR internship work?
Humber PR requires you to complete an 8-week internship to graduate from the program.
Humber doesn’t “place” you in internships; you apply and go on interviews much like you would a regular job. The program has an internship posting portal that only Humber PR students have access to. It’s up to you to choose and apply to the internships you’re interested in.
Do students find full-time jobs at the companies where they complete their internships?
It depends completely on the company so it’s impossible to generalize. If the company is looking to hire, I’d imagine you would have a good chance of staying on as long as you’ve proven your value. Regardless, internships are a great foot in the door in the PR industry and add work experience to your resume. Rarely would a company or agency hire a candidate with zero relevant experience.
Do grads find full-time employment after their internship?
From personal experience, I would safely say YES, the majority of grads find work within 6 months of graduating.
Most of my classmates are gainfully employed in PR/marketing/social media. Some chose not to stay in the field and are off pursuing other great things!
Good luck to all considering the program. It’s honestly the best decision (and investment) I’ve made for my career and I don’t regret attending Humber PR one bit.
If you have additional or follow-up questions, you can contact me and I’d be happy to help out.
Fellow Humber PR grads, feel free to share your experiences in the comments.