Graduating from college for many marks the start of their careers. For others, it’s doomsday. When you’re graduating with a bachelor’s degree in something that excited you four years ago but now brings you to tears, the pressure to continue pursuing that career can be destructive.
As someone who cycled through many career choices—marine biology, musical theater, marine biology again, medicine, environmental science—changing my career path after my undergraduate degree was frightening. However, it was the best decision I ever made because now I genuinely enjoy what I do. I no longer dread the post-school job hunt, because I’m looking forward to using the skills I’m developing at Newhouse in the real world.
As soon as I accepted that college had changed me and my interests, the transition was easier. When you start college, you are fresh out of high school and your interests haven’t fully developed or matured. But after college, when more recent experiences have shaped who you now are, you can more accurately predict what you’ll enjoy doing for a career. So, if you’re looking for a career change to communications and are considering Newhouse to achieve this, here’s some tips to guide you through the initial process.
First, find what you love and how you can earn a salary doing it. When I graduated college, I realized I had a knack for writing and enjoyed following politics. I set to work on researching careers that would let me combine those passions. Journalism was the perfect fit and it led me to Newhouse.
Second, find out how to achieve that goal. If your new career path requires a master’s degree, your options are limited. However, sometimes it’s not as black and white. A lot of journalists don’t have master’s degrees but they have a lot of experience from their undergraduate careers. Because I lacked experience, I knew a master’s program would be the best way to learn.
When looking at graduate schools, a number of questions came up. How will I compete with those who have spent years in the field? What if I can’t understand my classes? Undergraduates will have four years of experience over me—how will I ever get a job? I’m here to tell you: the right graduate school can change all of this. I searched for programs crafted beginners. The right program will value your skillset and show you how to transform it for your new career path. Make sure to also research how the program will help you develop once you have the basics down. When considering Newhouse, I knew there were multiple resources for more experienced journalists that would help me down the line.
Finally, you need to apply. This might seem like the scariest part, but it’s actually the easiest. You finally know what you want to do! Now you can start working towards that goal. Find admissions requirements for your selected program and get organized. Think about how the skills you already possess can transfer to your new career path and play those up when putting together your application materials. For me, my environmental science background meant I’d done extensive research—a key part of journalism. I knew I had that advantage and that I wanted to use those skills to do reporting. Don’t think you aren’t qualified. Be creative with how you market yourself to admissions counselors. Pro tip: Get started with the application process as far in advance as possible. Recommenders often need ample amounts of time to work on a letter for you and your essays will be better if you rework drafts through time and get edits from trusted people.
In the first month and a half of my master’s program, I learned 5 different Adobe programs. Within a semester, I joined two campus publications, the TV station, and a long-term reporting project. I’m not here to make up for those four years I spent studying environmental science. I’m here to bring those four years of knowledge and use them to expand upon my reporting. Looking to switch career paths after graduation? Take a leap of faith…at Newhouse.