Waiting is the Hardest Part

The primary application deadline has passed. And to those of you who submitted your application, congratulations! That in itself is an achievement. So take a second to give yourself a pat on the back.

But don’t let that pat last too long. There is still work to be done in the coming months.

The first part doesn’t require anything from you. As you read this, your applications are with the faculty committees being reviewed. The committees will look over all of the applicants and come to a decision on who will be admitted – we are excited to have so many terrific applicants, but unfortunately, we have to narrow it done to a chosen few.

Once those decisions are made, you will receive an email from us with you admission decision. Of course, if you submitted your application before our December 15 priority notification deadline, you will be among the first to get your email. This email will contain not only your decision, but will also notify you of any scholarship opportunities you will have from us. Remember, if you aren’t notified of any scholarship opportunities, there are many other options to help you with the financial side of grad school. These include Stafford Loans, graduate assistantships, teaching assistantships, just to name a few (more info can be found here).

Getting your decision is only a step in the process. If you’re accepted, you’ll have to decide if COM is the right fit for you (and we certainly think it is). We know now that making the decision of if/where to attend grad school means that you will have many new questions, and we want to do our best to answer them. Remember, you can always reach us via email (comgrad@bu.edu) or phone (617-353-3481). And don’t forget about our COM podcast, which will continue through the coming months to answer any and all questions you may have. But above all, we want to try to make this process as easy as possible in person.

That’s why we will be doing a spring tour, stopping in various cities to meet with accepted students who want to learn more about COM. The stops on our tour this spring will include:

Los Angeles-Tuesday, March 25
San Francisco-Thursday, March 27
Seattle- Sunday, March 30
Denver-Sunday, March 30
Chicago-Monday, March 31
Washington, DC-Monday, April 7
Charlotte-Monday, April 7
New York-Tuesday, April 8
Austin-Tuesday, April 8

All of these visits will culminate with our accepted students visiting day on the afternoon of Friday, April 11. This will allow prospective students to meet with current students, faculty, and graduate services representatives, as well as get to check out Boston and COM.

So congrats once again. Completing the application is a big step in your process, but it is just one. So take some time to recover and get ready for the rest of the journey. We will see you along the way.

Where Does My Application Go?

So what happens to your application to the BU College of Communication once you hit the submit button online? This is a great question. One that I am sure many of you that are in the application process are probably interested to find out more about.

First

Once you complete the online portion of the application, you are entered into our system. You are considered to be among the group of people who are officially applying to the school. At this point, we make you a file. In the file we include all of the application materials that you have sent us prior to filling out the online application (Recommendations, Transcripts, Essays, etc.) and where we will add all of your subsequent items until your application is finished.

The files are very nice, by the way. The programs are separated into color-coded folders. For example, PR applications go in pink folders. Photo Journalism gets teal folders. Television gets yellow. So now you know, that if you have submitted your online application for the Advertising program, all of your materials are currently in a blue folder. But what happens after that?

Next

Assuming that you get all of your application materials to us by 11:59 p.m. February 1, then we double check all of our color coded files, and send them off to the admission committee. The committees are comprised of faculty in each given program. So the Broadcast Journalism committee is presented with a box full of applications in maroon folders. This all happens within a week or so of the application deadline, so by February 8th or 9th we have the applications ready to go to committee.

Next

Once the committees have the files, it generally takes them a month or so to sift through the applicants. Every essay is read by multiple faculty members, every recommendation is taken into account, and every test score is looked at. This is a pretty stressful process for the faculty because there are so many quality applicants. By taking every piece of the application into account, they are able to decide who they feel is the most qualified to study at Boston University.

Next

The committees send back the folders with their decisions to us here in the graduate services office. Once we input the decisions into our system, we send the decisions out to you. Applicants who finished their online application prior to the December 15th deadline receive their decisions first, then we send out the remaining decisions afterwards. If you are accepted, you will receive financial aid information, housing options, and information regarding on-campus employment.

We realize that this entire process can be pretty stressful, which is why we try to do our best to be as available as possible to help. From now until you make your decision, and even after you get here, we here at the graduate services office are here to help. Any and all questions can be sent to comgrad@bu.edu, where we will get back to you very quickly. We are also doing a podcast aimed to ease the application process, which can be found here.

A Floridian takes Boston

Yesterday morning I woke up to snow falling outside of my window. Coming from the Sunshine State, this was one of the moments I had been anxiously awaiting ever since the leaves started changing in October. With the snow came a realization: I’ve been living in Boston for four months. Where did the time go?

As any COM student by now knows, time flies by when you’re having fun. It may be hard to imagine that there is much time between going to class, reading for class, and sleeping, to do anything else for a grad student. But COM has helped me keep a balance between school work and a social life.

So far in this semester, COM has hosted six events for grad students. From dancing at the ritzy Hyatt in Cambridge, to cheering on the Red Sox, and exploring the Freedom Trail, COM has made sure to plan fun events that have helped me take a break from the books, get to know this amazing city, and make new friends.

COM has also helped me get more involved on campus, too.

As a teaching assistant for COM 101, I’ve been given the opportunity to help BU’s undergrads on their journey toward an exciting degree at COM. This class is the introductory course to a degree in communication at BU and it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my semester working with the students in my discussion section.

Though this responsibility comes with a lot of hard work with planning discussion sections and grading assignments, it has also come with instantaneous friends and fun among the group of 23 teaching assistants.

Coming to Boston without knowing anyone can be intimidating, but COM has made the transition fun and exciting for this Floridian.

COM in a Day #myCOM

This past Friday, COM took part in something new: COM in a Day. It was a chance for everyone at the College of Communication to show what happens over the course of a day. From 12:00 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. we asked COM students to use Twitter, Instagram, Vine and whatever else they could think of to show pictures, videos, etc. of what they were doing.

The response we got was amazing.

Students were told to use #myCOM so that we could keep track of all the posts. On Twitter alone, there were almost 1,500 uses of #myCOM over the 24 hour span. It was trending in Boston along with “Red Sox” and “World Series”, which are kind of popular at the moment.

What was also great about it was that we were able to document it. Using our Storify page, we were able to show what people were doing as it happened. We were also able to create a page dedicated solely to COM in a Day, which we can use as yet another tool to help show those interested in COM just what we are all about.

But my favorite part about it was the fact that so many people involved with COM (undergrads, grad students, faculty, staff, alumni) participated. It was awesome to see us issue a challenge to the student body and to have them respond the way they did. Of course, competitions with prizes and potential extra credit helped to play a role in getting the word out, but once the entries started coming in, they kept flowing. So thanks to everyone who participated, and if you would like to get a sense of what COM has to offer in just one day, check it out.

My Summer Internship

This time last year I was still settling into Boston. Classes started in September and I finally felt like I was getting into the groove of grad school. And had you asked me what I was planning to do over the summer – my answer undoubtedly would’ve been BU’s London program.

But that all changed, thanks in large part to one of my professors. As the spring semester came upon us, I applied for both the London program as well as a variety of public relations agency internships for backup. When I received an interview opportunity for Weber Shandwick, one of the leading global PR agencies, I found myself between two very appealing choices. Do I go to London, an experience of a lifetime, where I’m guaranteed an internship? Or – do I risk it for a potential paid agency internship that could likely set me up with the connections I’d need for a job? As appealing as London was (and still is), I knew New York was the smarter option. Agency experience is key in working in public relations – and I had yet to have the chance to work in one.

After I took the trip back home to New York and interviewed, I contacted one of my professors, knowing he had a lot of connections in the field. He reached out to the agency and put my name out there. I was hopeful. So, I waited and waited and waited…and waited (so forth) to hear back from Weber. Finally nearly a month and a half later I heard back. I got the internship! My professor really put himself out there to push for me to get the spot, so if there’s one thing I can tell you about BU it is: take advantage of the faculty and resources you have here. We all know communication often involves not only what you know but also who you know. Career services and your own professors can be a huge help in that regard.

Do I regret not going to London? Yes and no. Yes because, well…it’s London – that chance doesn’t come around too often. No, because a) I’ve been there before and b) I was able to meet and interact with vice presidents, account executives and group supervisors at the agency. I gained that agency experience that I knew I needed, I worked on a launch campaign and I was able to set myself up as a strong candidate for a future job. My summer in New York was a success and as I continue to make connections, I know I will put up a good fight in the job search after graduating. And who knows – maybe I’ll be lucky enough to live and work in London in the future.

Check out the COMGrad Podcast

Here at COM Grad we have been looking for new and different ways to get information to potential students. In an effort to continue this, we recently started the BU COM Grad Podcast. Fellow COM student (and good friend) Andy and I are joining forces to spread the knowledge of COM to the ears of anyone who wants to learn more about our programs and application process (or hear our witty banter).

Luckily, we will not be delivering the information alone. We will be joined by members of the COM faculty to answer questions ranging from the application process to financial aid to specific looks into different programs. From the episodes we have done, I have already learned information that would have been very useful to know during my application process.

But most importantly, we want to help you. We want to answer the questions that real-life perspective students have about anything COM. So send us your questions, and we will find the answer and bring it up on the podcast. Don’t be shy, because odds are if you have a question, someone else is wondering the same thing.
So send us your questions. You can email us at comgrad@bu.edu (use “Podcast” in the subject header) or via twitter @bucomgrad (use #COMpodcast). And to catch up, here are the episodes we have completed thus far.

Hitting the Road

Throughout the fall the College of Communication will be hitting the road, and making stops in a number of cities around the country to meet with prospective students. The schedule is as follows, and I can speak from experience when I say it is worth your while to try to attend…

Sunday, September 29 – Chicago (Bar Event)

Tuesday, October 1 – University of Toronto (Graduate Fair)

Saturday, October 12 – London (Graduate Fair)

Tuesday, October 15 – Milan (Graduate Fair)

Tuesday, October 22 – UNC Chapel Hill (Graduate Fair)

Thursday, October 24 – University of Florida (Graduate Fair)

Thursday, October 24 – Gainsville, FL (Bar Event)

Tuesday, October 29 – Boston (Bar Event)

Monday, November 4 – Denver (Bar Event)

Tuesday, November 5 – Los Angeles (Bar Event)

Thursday, November 7 – San Francisco (Bar Event)

Sunday, November 10 – Seattle (Bar Event)

When I was a prospective student, it was one of these very “meet and greets” that helped me finalize my decision to attend BU. I sat down with Dean Sabovik and a handful of graduate assistants for dinner in San Francisco, and peppered them with all of the questions that I had. The meeting was more of a therapy session than a graduate school information session, because I was downright terrified to move all the way across the country to attend BU. I had lived in Seattle for my entire life. My family, friends, job…everything I knew was in Seattle. And the idea of traveling 3000 miles away from home to attend grad school was freaking me out. But in meeting with the crew of BU folks, I was not only able to learn a lot about the program that I was interested in, but I was able to find out more about what life is like for students. Basically, my stress level was drastically reduced. I knew I was interested in the school, it was just very reassuring to hear from current students about what exactly I was getting myself into.

As a graduate assistant, I am lucky enough to be a part of these trips as a representative of the College of Communication. It really is the best part of my job. Deciding which school to attend can be a daunting process, and incredibly stressful. For me to be a part of that process, and offer advice and personal experience is a really rewarding feeling. I especially enjoy being on this side of the process, because I was on the other side just over a year ago.

I hope to see you this fall. Be sure to RSVP to the event in your area, and you can do that right here.

Things to Do in Los Angeles When You’re Dead, or, The Radio Station Only Plays Red Hot Chili Peppers

Over the last three weeks, I have eaten Del Taco* twice, In-N-Out four times, and Pink’s Hot Dogs once. I have driven to get Jack in the Box at one in the morning and have been to Target six times. I’m not sure why that last part is important, but I wanted you to know that moving and building a homestead in the Los Angeles Basin is fattening and expensive, and that to date, I have found no traces of any gold.

Somewhere between driving through the Rockies, the Great Basin, and the Mohave Desert in one fell swoop during a late night thunderstorm, I began to rethink my decision to drive to Los Angeles. I never reconsidered moving to Los Angeles, only my choice to drive there in three days.**

Still, since I’ve arrived, I’ve never doubted my decision. For filmmakers and screenwriters, Los Angeles is Mecca. While the city is filled to the brim, if you’re worth your weight in precious metals (and I believe that because of my time at Boston University, I am), the transition will be easy. Like me, you’ll almost certainly take an internship writing coverage, but the opportunity to work alongside production executives and writers is not to be missed. The BU in Los Angeles program, too, has enabled me to meet industry professionals. The first week of classes, for example, my class sat down with one of the script reviewers for NBC’s new show “The Blacklist” in order to
further explore what script development looks like as a career.

After almost a month in Los Angeles, I feel more than prepared to call myself an expert on this smallish coastal village. Given your devoted readership, I hope to further regale you with my experiences as I continue to unlock the few-and-far-between mysteries of this charming town, including, but not limited to:
• The logic by which Del Taco has determined that chili-cheese fries are a topping for every item on their menu.
• How a city of four million people can navigate on every street using a simple textmessaging service.
• The location of–please–a Dunkin Donuts chain restaurant.
• The forbidden secrets by which a Korean BBQ can provide you with unlimited meat for the low, low cost of $19.99 (and the time it takes you to cook it.)
*Del Taco is German for “Whale Taco.”
**Assistant Dean Micha Sabovik requires me to tell you that not only are there many affordable flights between Boston and Los Angeles, but also that there are many conveniently located hotels across the country. Just, really, pick anywhere. Forty-nine of the fifty United States of America. No promises about Seward’s Folly.
(P.S. I can see the Hollywood Sign from my house’s front balcony. I just want you to know that.)

Jack Falla Speaker Series: Mark Feinsand

On Monday afternoon I had my first experience with the Jack Falla Speaker Series, as New York Daily News Yankees beat writer Mark Feinsand came in and spoke. Having never been to a Jack Falla Speaker Series event, I didn’t know what to expect, but was very pleased with the event.

Let me first give a little background to the speaker series. Jack Falla was a sports journalism professor at COM, who sadly passed away five years ago. Jack was known for many things; among them were his 8:00 a.m. classes (to make sure only dedicated students enrolled), the great contact he kept with his former students (or his “mafia” as they came known as) and the great speakers he would bring in, many of which were COM alums. To honor Jack and his dedication, the series was started to continue the tradition of great speakers.

Getting back to Monday’s speech, I was very impressed with Mark. He began by mentioning how nervous he was about speaking, but you would never have known this wasn’t a regular occurrence for him. He did a great job of going back and forth between stories and lessons he learned at BU (and Jack in particular) and advice from his years working, leading up to his current position with the Daily News.

The stories were funny and relatable, the advice was helpful and honest (especially since we share majors: sports broadcast journalism), but what made the biggest impression was how emotional he got when talking about Jack. Mark had to take a minute to compose himself at one point, which showed the amazing affect that Jack Falla had on the people he touched.

That’s what makes this series great. Not only do you get experienced, passionate speakers with great stories and advice, but you see the affect that a single person can have on so many. From Mark’s speech I learned things that will help me as I embark on my career in sports broadcast journalism, but it also was a reminder to take advantage of all the resources I have here, and that includes the amazing people. I am very happy I was able to attend Mark’s speech, and cannot wait for the next Speaker Series event.

 

Fall Events

A new school year is upon us here at COM.  And while that may conjure thoughts of cramming for tests, agonizing over group projects, and struggling to meet deadlines for some, for me it brings one of my favorite parts about the fall: grad events.  Don’t get me wrong, I am very enthusiastic about another semester in the classroom, but to me nothing beats a good old grad event.  Not only are these a chance to explore the city that makes BU so unique, but it is also a great way to get to know your classmates throughout the COM community.

I know the list of the events can be daunting to look at, and knowing which ones (if any) you should go to can keep anyone up at night.  So here is a guide to this fall’s grad events from a grizzly veteran to make everyone’s decisions easier.

Tavern in the Square Reception- Monday, Sept. 2 : 6:00pm- 8:00pm : Free The Tavern in the Square event is a great way to begin the semester.  First off, it’s right after orientation (which is mandatory for new students) so you might as well come by with everyone else.  Second, you get a chance to get to know fellow COM students in a setting that isn’t in a classroom setting.  And finally, the first drink is on COM.  Even if free drinks aren’t your thing, it’s a great way to rewind after orientation and prepare for the start of classes.

The Hyatt Event- Friday, Sept. 6 : 7:00pm-11:59pm : Free (with ticket) Ah the Hyatt, so many wonderful memories.  For those of you not familiar, the Hyatt is the hotel across the river from BU.  At the Hyatt event, COM rents out the top floor for an evening of food, drinks, dancing and one of the best views of the city.  Oh and did I mention it’s space themed?  Costumes are not required (though always appreciated), but it’s a great way to relax after your first week of classes and show your moves on the dance floor.

The Maine Event- Saturday, Sept. 14 : 10:00am-7:00pm : $45 Lobster.  That should be enough to get most of you to pile up for this event, but there’s more.  Not only do you get to travel to Maine for delicious lobster, but there is a stop at the outlet malls as well. Shopping and shellfish?!?!?! Sign me up!

Pub Trip and Red Sox Game- Tuesday, Sept. 17 : 4:00pm-6:00pm & 6:30pm-Game end : $10 & $28 Two separate events, one great time.  You can do either or both.  It all starts with a trip to the BU Pub, located a block from COM.  Stop by for a drink or two before heading to Fenway to watch the Red Sox take on the Orioles.  Seeing a game at Fenway is a must for anyone who lives in Boston, so why not go with your fellow COM grads?  Adding to the excitement of the game will be the fact that the Sox will be in the home stretch of the season looking to win the AL East.  A luxury the event did not have last

Freedom Trail Pub Crawl- Saturday, Oct. 26 : 1:00pm : Free Peanut butter and jelly.  Macaroni and cheese.  Rocky and Bullwinkle.  Sometimes things are just destined to be together.  So combining a walking tour highlighting 17 of Boston’s most significant historic sites and drinking at bars just makes sense.  It’s learning about the history of the city with a few drinks, or hitting the bars while getting an education of Boston.  Either way, it’s a great way to spend a Saturday in October.

Bell OUT of Hand- Wednesday, Dec. 11 : 8:00pm-11:00pm : $20 The final event of the semester is always a great one.  Classes are done, and before people head away for greener pastures or just winter break, it’s always nice to be able to see everyone for a last time.  It’s the perfect way to close out the semester, at America’s oldest bar.

There you have it, an easy to follow guide of the great grad event offerings this fall.  If you haven’t gotten tickets yet, email comgrad@bu.edu for more information.

Before you finish reading, I leave you with one final piece of advice: go to as many as possible, you won’t regret it.  Take that advance from someone who knows.