Friday, December 30, 2011

Journalism requires persistence

Friday, December 30, 2011

Bradshaw College Consulting
(219) 663-3041

Dear Mr. Bradshaw: I am a college junior majoring in journalism and hope to find an internship in New York City or Chicago. The only internships I have found in my search expect you to work for free. I estimate it would cost at least $6,000 to live in one of these cities for the summer and question if the expense is worth it.

Internship Hopeful

Journalism requires persistence:  866-687-8129

Dear Internship Hopeful

You don’t have to tell me, but I can hear your parent’s refrain ringing in your ear: “Study finance or medicine so you will have a good paying job after you graduate.”

However unimaginative you may have thought them to be, it should be clear by now that they were just being practical. Finance and medicine have pretty clear-cut career paths and are largely meritocratic professions. A career in journalism is governed more by lucky breaks and personal connections. If you don’t have these connections it is unlikely you will find a paid or unpaid internship at a large city newspaper or magazine.

Don’t misunderstand, nearly all publications are willing to read a résumé or email of inquiry. However, you had better include a brilliant cover-letter demonstrating some practical experience in journalism to catch their attention if you expect to have a fighting chance for an internship.

Many of my clients who interned last summer at top banking and consulting firms have already accepted jobs following their graduation in 2012. Only two clients found work in journalism and those jobs were at not-for-profits, not major print media publications.

You have chosen a profession where you have to be doggedly persistent and expect a lot of rejections. I have a client from Moscow who was published in the New York Times while still in high school in the United Kingdom. His story will give you an idea of what I am talking about.

Ilya was at home in Moscow last summer and decided to attend a criminal trial that was being covered by the international press and the New York Times. He met a journalist from the Times and asked him about opportunities for a summer internship. Ilya kept going back to the trial every day and pestering the journalist until he relented and told him to go out and find a newsworthy event, write it up, and submit it to the NYT.

His persistence paid off handsomely. That piece of advice would eventually lead to Ilya being published in the NYT. (See his article, “In Belarus, Just Being Can Prompt an Arrest.

You have to be aggressive and willing to take risks. Being a pest (sometimes it pays to be an obnoxious pest) is part of it. When it comes to the working world no one is going to take you by the hand and guide you. To find an internship you will have to hustle just like Ilya did and pay your dues.

The rewards are there if you don’t give up. Is it worth the money to live in a big city to get that experience? It all depends on you.

College Admissions Consulting Articles - Journalism requires persistence

High school freshman thinks ahead

Bradshaw College Consulting

Dear Mr. Bradshaw — I am finishing the first semester of my freshman year in high school.

I have straight A’s, and I want to know what you suggest as the best way to get into a top college or university. My grandmother cuts out your columns and sends them to me. Based upon your experience, what classes and activities do top-tier colleges look for in an applicant? — Freshman

Dear Freshman — It is always best to start with your high school counselor when planning a four-year program appropriate for you, one that reflects your interests.

Inevitably, there will be difficult choices to make about what courses to take and how to balance your schoolwork and your extracurricular pursuits.

Should you take a fourth year of math or begin a second foreign language? You might like to write for the student newspaper, but that means you won’t have time for Advanced Placement chemistry.

Here is some advice to help guide you through such decisions.

I suggest taking an inventory of your academic interests. Try not to take classes only in the areas you find interesting now.

It is highly unlikely schools will downgrade an application simply because of the absence of a particular class. However, transcripts reflect the broad range of interests that have shaped a student’s intellectual curiosity and personality. In other words, let your transcripts tell your story.

Colleges review high school transcripts as a whole, plus recommendations, test scores and extracurriculars. They consider each application a comprehensive overview of that student.

Colleges primarily are concerned with what kind of student you will be. They look for consistency and intellectual rigor. The best way to show a commitment to academics is taking the most challenging classes and a full course load all four years of high school.

If you push yourself to excel through your senior year and beyond, it is a good sign you will do the same in college.

It might surprise students to know that many top colleges do not have specific entrance requirements, and it is best to research each school. For example, Yale does not require a foreign language in high school, but, as a general rule, admissions people there look for students who try to take courses each year in English, science, math, the social sciences and foreign languages.

Be honest with yourself when deciding among courses. Are you choosing a particular course because you truly are excited about it or are you motivated by a desire to avoid a more difficult subject?

Yale offers the following advice to high school students planning their class schedules.

† Am I taking a well-balanced academic program that will provide me with a good foundation for college?

† Am I prepared to take college-level math, writing and science?

† Do I feel challenged by the courses I am taking?

† Are my courses among the more rigorous ones available to me at my school?

† Am I seeking a challenge or avoiding it?

† Overall, is my four-year high school program among the most challenging available at my school?”

Keep these questions in mind when planning your high school schedules, and continue to strive for academic excellence.

A healthy balance between course work and extracurriculars will be looked upon favorably by all top colleges.

College Admissions Consulting Articles - High school freshman thinks ahead

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

College Admissions Consulting Articles - Scholarship or elite school?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Bradshaw College Consulting

(219) 663-3041

Dear Mr. Bradshaw: I will apply to several top colleges next year, and I have a question that, so far, no one has answered to my satisfaction.

If I am offered a full scholarship to a state college, should I accept it? If I gain admittance to a top college like Harvard or MIT, is it worth the extra money and debt to attend one of them over a state college?

My parents are encouraging me to stay in state and apply for a full scholarship, which I probably will get. That sounds reasonable, but my concern is what I would give up if I turned down the chance to attend a top-tier college. --Student

Scholarship or elite school?

Dear Student

— Each year, some students turn down the chance to attend a top-tier college because they feel the academic pressure to perform or the financial burden would be too great. Others might prefer to attend a college closer to home.

Whatever your decision, there are tangible benefits if you attend Harvard or MIT. Keep in mind, these are my personal views and may not represent the majority of college advisers.

A recent article in The Harvard Crimson carried this headline: “Dropping out of Harvard: A standard to aspire to.”

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg had returned to his alma mater for the first time since dropping out in 2005. He came back dressed in jeans and a sweat shirt to recruit students for his company. He also visited MIT on his trip in an effort to find more of the best and brightest students for his company — arguably the gold standard by which other companies measure their ability to attract the best candidates.

With Facebook starting salaries averaging $150,000 per year and a work environment built around brilliant and talented employees, Zuckerberg selects only the best. It doesn’t hurt that the popular movie “The Social Network” added to his celebrity.

Zuckerberg recruits at top colleges, he said, because he wants to have “the first crack at the stars before they graduate.” The Crimson added he was looking for “the next Bill Gates, who might be right in this room.” These comments often are not made about other universities.

In the tradition of other famous dropouts like Gates, Zuckerberg made no bones about being different. He encouraged students to take time off from their studies to explore what they really want to do. His talk was limited to only 200 students who were selected based on resume submissions.

Why did he stop at Harvard? Because Harvard is the most selective college in America. It accepted only 6.1 percent of all applicants last year. Harvard students ranked at the top of their classes in high school, and many turned down full scholarships at other schools to study there.

Gates and Zuckerberg charted a new course when they dropped out of college to become entrepreneurs. Their actions have influenced a generation of students to think differently about computer science.

Gates said computer programming lured him away from Harvard, but an early 1990s biography says he dropped out when Harvard objected to his use of university computers for private business.

I know my clients want to succeed and use what they learn in college to start businesses, and they write openly about their entrepreneurial goals in their applications. These are the students Zuckerberg wants for Facebook — before Google and Apple get there.

What would you give up if you turned down the chance to attend a top-tier school? Perhaps a chance to work at one of the greatest companies in the world, surrounded by the best and brightest students of your generation.

College Admissions Consulting Articles - Scholarship or elite school?