Kate: COM Classes to take before you graduate

As Fall 2016 class registration rounds the corner (for those of you not graduating #blessed), many COM students turn to friends and older classmates to ask what classes to take and which professors to take it with. Here’s a round up of some favorite COM classes, from a graduating senior (me!).

Media Relations (CM441): I took this class in the spring of my junior year with Professor Joseph. It was one of the first classes I had taken in PR after CM301 (Intro to PR) so I was really going in blind to what media relations meant in the PR industry. I learned so much about the variety of PR tactics such as news conferences, feature placements, special events and media tours. We examined famous PR campaigns that portrayed effective and ineffective media relations. For one project, we had to actually pitch to a real-life reporter which was a first for many of my classmates (including me). For another project, we held a fake press conference for a client of our choosing who was announcing a new product/service for the company and were taught how to stay on message and navigate tough questions. This class really taught the basics of media relations and made the PR professional role more approachable.

Design/New Media (CM323): I took this class, with Professor Walsh in the fall of my senior year, because I had no graphic design knowledge and knew college may be my only time to sharpen my skill set before entering the PR industry. Prof Walsh also teaches in CFA so it was really cool to experience her artistic expertise in a COM setting. The entire class was based on 4 projects that introduced and refined our skills in Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign. These projects included a creative lyrical piece, a candy advertisement, a brand logo creation, and a music launch campaign. We also learned how to talk about graphic design and notice it in the world around us. Although the class was challenging because I am the opposite of artistic, I left the semester feeling confident in my beginner skills in the 3 graphic design platforms. To learn more about Professor Walsh, check out her BU website.

Crisis Communication (CM522): I took Crisis Comms in the fall of my senior year with Professor Joseph. In this class we learned about the stages of prevention and response for corporate crisis. We examined real crises that companies were facing in real-time during our class (think Chipotle and Volks Wagon) and wrote a crisis communication plan on a company of our choice. We learned how to address media in a press conference post-corporate crisis. We also analyzed how social media impacts corporate crises. This is a very interesting and fun class for those who like to problem solve and strategically think through issues a brand is facing.

PRLab (CM473): I took PRLab with Professors Shanler and Joseph in the spring of my senior year. I loved it so much that I wish I had taken it sooner! PRLab is the nation’s oldest student run PR agency and allows students to gain valuable industry experience in an agency style setting. There is a diverse array of clients so some students may work in the corporate, non-profit or governmental sector. The class is set up as an agency would with account executives, supervisors, directors and agency presidents. Students enrolled in the class as account executives gain experience in media relations, event planning, branding, copy editing, content creation and social media management. They also make a professional portfolio that they can show off at interviews! Students can also enroll in CM475 which is the PRLab executive board. These roles vary but students serve as high-level resources and strategic managers for account teams. For more info, check out the website!

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