All posts by abunker

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.

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.

Be Well Read

As an applicant to the masters in journalism program at the BU College of Communication, one of the essays that you have to write, along with life narrative and professional experience, is called “Periodicals”.  This is the part of your application where you get to show the admissions committee how engaged you are in the current media landscape as a consumer. The thought is that folks who are interested in becoming journalists are likely inspired by professionals who they have encountered along the way. One of the defining characteristics of a great journalist is a constant thirst for news and information, and in the periodicals essay you have the chance to share with the school how you quench that thirst.

There is a major focus here at BU on electronic media and social media, so in writing your periodicals essay be sure to make it very clear that you not only frequent a variety of online news sources, but that you have at least a working knowledge of the social media scene.  If you don’t have much experience with social media, I would suggest getting a little acquainted with the ways of Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. While you may not use these tools every day while studying here at BU, you will undoubtedly need to use them from time to time.

Listed in the required reading for every jounalism course you take here at BU will be a number of daily newspapers. Being up to date with The Boston Globe, the New York Times and USA Today is expected in the courses you will be taking. Therefore in this essay the ability to demonstrate that you are already in the habit of staying up to date will bode well for your application. And much like I suggested in the social media section, if you are not in the habit of reading daily newpapers, you would help prepare yourself for life at BU by starting.

The fact is that journalism is just as much about reading and staying informed as it is about writing and reporting. In my Journalism Principals and Techniques course in the fall our professor had what he called “The 3 R’s”:  Reading, Reporting, and Writing. In order to be a better writer, it’s vital to be an avid reader. So while you are writing your periodicals essay, be sure to express just how much reading means to you.

Meet Andy Bunker

Hello prospective Boston University students.

My name is Andy Bunker, and I am a current broadcast journalism graduate student at BU. This blog is designed to give you an inside look at the school through the eyes and words of someone who is going through the program. We are constantly working on interesting projects, covering big news stories, and holding fun events, and this blog will help keep your finger to the pulse of the BU College of Communication. Right now the biggest item on your radar is most likely applying to the school. I realize that you may be getting a little stressed while in the midst of the application process, so I wanted to offer a bit of advice since I was in your shoes at this time last year.

Here is a short list of helpful hints to make applying easier.

1. Getting started. If you haven’t already done so, start the online application by clicking here. If you haven’t started, don’t fret it’s not too late, but you do want to get going soon as many of the requirements take time to complete.

2. Check things off. Once you get going with the online application, you will not only have the application information packet to help guide the process, but you will also start to receive progress updates from our graduate services office. Every time you complete another step in the application process, you will get an email confirming your progress.

3. Ask questions. If you have questions, about anything, email the school. There is a very helpful team of students and faculty, including myself, that is happy to help answer any questions you may have. Ask anything, we’ve heard it all before so don’t hesitate even if you think it’s a weird question. The email address is comgrad@bu.edu.

4. Keep up the pace. Take care of all the steps that you can control as quickly as you can. That means contacting your recommenders, scheduling your tests, finding your best writing samples, editing your essays and sending your transcripts. You can’t control how quickly your recommenders write and send the recommendations, all you can do is contact them as early as possible so they don’t feel pressured by a deadline.

5. Manage your time. Set aside time to work on the application. If you are anything like me, the thought of the unfinished application requirements will hang over your head like a rain cloud if you don’t know when you will work on them next. Do yourself a favor and reduce the stress by scheduling a few hours a week to just fine comb your application.

6. Remember the date. Circle December 15th as a goal. If you really want to help reduce your stress, try to meet the priority admission notification deadline. This deadline simply requires that you have your online application finished, and that you pay the $70 application fee. But again, if you are anything like me, completing this step helps in a number of ways. First, you will get your admissions decision before applicants who don’t meet the early deadline. Second, it gives you a month and half to complete the remaining admission requirements. And most important, getting things done early feels good!! Instant stress reduction!!

I hope these hints help in the process. The most important of these is #3. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to email the graduate services office. Comgrad@bu.edu is a great way to get quick answers that will help you in applying. BU is a great place, you have made a smart decision in applying here. In the next blog I will talk more about the things you will get to do once you get here. That’s when the fun really starts!