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.

Summer in Boston

This is my first summer as a Bostonian, and the final season in my first year here in town. I moved here last fall, I braved the winter and its blizzards, and I sneezed my way through the spring with the help of lots of Claritin. But now it’s summertime, and Boston is a very different place this time of year.

A big part of the difference is that Boston is chock-full of students for 9 months of the year. With over 30 colleges, there are 150,000 students living in the city.  This is what makes living here so much fun during the school year. With so many people of similar age, there is something fun going on 7 nights a week.  But when school lets out at the end of May, the mass exodus turns Beantown into a much quieter city…which is great!! Without actually going anywhere, I feel like I am getting a summer vacation right here at home. There are no lines to get into bars, I never have to wait for a table at restaurants, and the train is so empty I feel like I paid for a first class ticket. What is really great about the smaller crowds, is now that classes are out I actually have time to enjoy all the fun sites the city has to offer. We have been to Charlestown to see Bunker Hill. We have gone to Fenway to see the Red Sox. We went to Maine for a weekend where we saw a moose.  There is so much to see and do in the city and the surrounding area that it’s great to have the summer to explore.

There is work to be done, however. That’s what we are here for after all.

Plenty of BU COM Grad students stay here in the summer for internships. My buddy/classmate Greg works for the Red Sox television broadcast. My friend, and PR student, Emily is interning with a local PR firm. My friend, and Journalism student, Loren is working for a travel blog as their social media guru. I was lucky enough to convince the general manager of the campus radio station, WTBU, to let me do a daily sports radio show for the summer. Two of my fellow broadcast journalism classmates and I do a show Monday-Friday from 3-5 PM. The experience has been invaluable, as I don’t know many students who are getting the opportunity to do a live radio show every day. Between the hours of practice, the interviews we are doing, and the technical skills we are learning, we are getting a crash course in how to do live radio.

I have really enjoyed my first year in Boston, and each season has shown me something that I’ve never seen before. Fall was filled with new experiences, since I was just moving here and starting classes. Winter taught me what it really means to be cold, and that college hockey is amazing. In the spring the Red Sox got off to a hot start and showed me what it’s like to live in a great baseball city. And now it’s summer, and while the heat is giving me a true appreciation for air conditioning, Boston is proving to be a great place to live year round.

 

Finding Your New Home: Boston Housing

As an incoming graduate student at Boston University, one of the major steps that you will take will be finding a place to live. There are a number of options in terms of neighborhood, housing type, cost, roommates, etc. that will play a factor in your decision, but the best thing you can do is to start thinking about housing and working on finding a place as soon as you can.

As a student who just finished up my first year at BU, I will share with you a handful of things that I wish I had known when I was moving here.

Neighborhoods

Brownstone Apartments
BU South Campus

South Campus- is exactly what it sounds like, a portion of the BU campus, located just south of the College of Communication. The housing units are made up of BU owned brownstone apartments (studios and 1 bedroom units) that are about a 5 minute walk from school. The proximity to campus, and the fact that BU owns and operates the buildings are huge pluses. The only down side is that the cost is slightly higher than you will find in other neighborhoods.

Brookline- a very nice neighborhood south of campus. There are bars, restaurants, parks, good access to the C-Line of the Green Train, which runs right near campus, and it’s the birthplace of Conan O’Brien. The area is made up of some students, but mostly young adults and families, and has less of a college feel than other areas close to BU. Brookline is truly a great option for BU graduate students, but is also more expensive than other neighborhoods. If you are interested in Brookline I would suggest seeking a roommate to help split the cost.

Brighton- a couple miles west of campus, and is easily accessible via the B-Line of the Green Train. This area is mostly students, although there are some young

South Street

Quiet Brighton Street

professionals and families as well. Brighton is about halfway between BU and Boston College, so it is a good mix of students from both schools. The prices in Brighton are less than those in Brookline, and there are plenty of grocery stores and restaurants to amuse. Full disclosure, I live in Brighton and I really like it. The only downside is that it’s slightly further from campus than other neighborhoods where students live. My commute is about 25-30 minutes on the train each morning. If you don’t mind taking a little longer to get to school each day, then Brighton is a very nice option.

Allston- the area just west of campus. It is very convenient in terms of location to the school and there are many restaurant and shopping options. Prices are also pretty reasonable. Depending on what you are looking for in terms of your neighborhood Allston might be right for you. We do find however, that some graduate students don’t prefer Allston due to the high volume of undergraduate students and bars. I don’t want to discourage anyone from checking out Allston, or even living there, but for me as a graduate student it didn’t seem like a good fit. I wanted an area that is slightly quieter, which is why I picked Brighton.

Harvard Square

City of Cambridge

Cambridge/Somerville- These two area offer reasonable prices and lots of restaurants and shopping. The downside is that they are pretty far away from BU. You would have to plan for a much longer commute if you decided to live here, but it might be worth it in terms of apartment value.

Now how about roommates

As far as finding roommates there are a number of options. We offer a roommate sign up list in the College of Communication which can be found here.

Some students have found roommates through mutual friends, and others have used craigslist. But we suggest adding your name to the sign up list if you are interested in living with another person.

The process of searching

Once you decide which neighborhood you like, and if you want to live with a roommate, it is time to actually find a place. There are a handful of different ways to go about this. One way is to simply take to craigslist and try to find listings yourself. We have a number of students who have had success finding housing this way, but it can be tough due to the fact that most apartment complexes are run by management groups. What I did to find my apartment was contact a realty company. I used SCS Realty in Brookline, but I am sure other companies are similarly good. These companies work with the management groups to help find renters. The realty company will schedule a handful of apartment viewings for you in your chosen neighborhood and in your specified price range. While they do charge a fee for their services, using a realty company is an effective way to find a place.

We also offer help finding housing through the office of rental property management, which you can find here.

Also, if you can’t make the trip to Boston to search for housing and you are going through this process from another part of the country, we are happy to help. Sometimes realty companies won’t allow you to sign the lease without seeing the unit, and we are happy to go see it for you. We can text pictures and videos of the place to you, as well as offer our opinion of the value.

Hopefully this was helpful. There are a lot of great places to live near BU, now that you are armed with all of this info that I wish I had last year, you should have no problem finding a nice place to live.

 

Why I Choose BU

So squeezable

BU separated themselves by being personable from the very beginning.

When I was searching for journalism graduate programs, I sent out a handful of emails requesting information about the schools, the application process, and any other details that I may need to know. For the most part the schools I contacted replied back, but only BU answered each of my questions individually. It was a pretty small gesture, but for a nervous 27 year old who wasn’t even sure applying to grad school was the right move in the first place, it was much appreciated.

This level of one-on-one communication continued throughout the entire application process. From the consistent email updates, to the stress ball BU sent me as the application deadline approached, to the thank you letter they sent me once my application was completed, I felt like BU made a real attempt to connect with me. This connection continued once I was accepted. The accepted students dinner in San Francisco really meant a lot to me, as I was able to meet with a handful of current students as well as the Assistant Dean. I didn’t know what to expect sitting down for dinner with a group of folks from a graduate school, but very consistent with the entire process with BU, they were all incredibly nice. We chatted for a few hours, and when I walked out of the restaurant I was going to BU.

I’ve been here for 6 months now, and I am proud to say that BU is my home.