FOR NEW MAJORS
Welcome to the ADPR program!
The faculty is here to help you succeed now and after graduation. Here are some "life hacks" that will help you prepare.
1) Dive in and Experiment.
The average college students changes majors three times before graduation. Jump into some courses that interest you, early on, to see what interests you most. If you think you might be interested in creative advertising, take an introductory advertising or digital media course. If you think public relations might be for you, find out. If you're not sure what's involved in these fields, see ADPR Fields and Careers. Odds are, wherever you start, your courses will "count" toward your major.
2) Find a mentor.
Find at least one professor or staff member you feel you can reach out to when life feels overwhelming (and sometimes it can). This person might be your advisor or it might be someone else you bond with. You will be assigned an advisor automatically when you enroll in the university, and you can change advisors at any time, using this "Change of Advisor Form."
3) Save all your work from all your classes, starting on the first day.
You might not think a particular class project or exercise is important--until it comes time to develop your portfolio. By the time you're a senior, you have new eyes and new knowledge. Suddenly, you might get ideas for how to turn a "C" project into a spectacular portfolio piece. Similarly, a research paper you thought was just for a grade could become an important blog post on your portfolio site. See item #9 about backing up your work to the cloud.
4) Keep your ADPR Advising Worksheet up to date.
Your ADPR Advising Worksheet helps you track your progress through the major. You'll cross off courses you've taken and highlight courses you're planning to take in the next registration. Before you know it, you'll be throwing your cap in the air.
5) Join clubs and organizations--and consider travel courses.
Student clubs and professional organizations can help you meet new friends and jump-start your career. There are many ADPR-related organizations on campus. Find out what these and other clubs have to offer.
6) Plan for at least two internships during your academic career (recommended).
These internship experiences will help you network and acquire valuable experience to develop your path beyond graduation. You can take internships for credit or non-credit. In the Communication Department, juniors and seniors with a 2.8 GPA or higher are eligible for Communication credit for internships.
7) Consider Travel-Abroad Opportunities.
These can include special two-week media experiences in another country, guided by U.T. profs for course credit--or an entire semester abroad at another university. Travel can change your perspectives and open new opportunities.
8) Balance your work loads.
It's a good idea to balance digital production courses with others that are less labor-intensive. Similarly, balance writing-intensive courses with others that require less writing. You also have course credits that allow you to explore. Try a course you might have never thought of before or consider a course that addresses wellness of mind and body. Balance is key.
9) "Work backwards" on your resume and career.
Some students believe resume development starts when they enter the job market. By that time, they might realize they're missing particular skills or experiences they could have gotten, with a little foresight. Learn about careers of interest early. Then, continually imagine and re-imagine the ideal resume for advertising, public relations, or related fields. Then, plan to take the courses, internships, and other experiences you need to fill in your resume with those qualifications.
10) Back up all your work to the cloud.
This is one of the most important pieces of advice we can give new students. Whether you're using OneDrive, Google Drive or Dropbox (or all three), all of your work should be on a hard drive and automatically back up to the cloud at all times. That way, when your computer dies (and they ALL do at some point), your work will still be in the cloud, ready to download onto your next computer. You will also be able to access all your work at any time from any computer or mobile device.
11) Save many versions of your work as you go.
(e.g., logo.ai, logo2.ai, logo3.ai). You will probably have 10 or more versions of each project as you go so that you can go back to a version if you need to. This is an important professional practice to learn early, before you get on the job.
12) Organize your files in a logical way so you can find them for your portfolio development.
This is another professional practice to start right away. You might have a folder for each class, but it's also a good idea to start a "Portfolio" folder that collects work by type (Photoshop projects, News Releases, Video projects, Page Layout projects, etc.). This way, you won't have to dig around in class folders to find your work.
13) You're always networking. Remember that your classmates, professors, guest speakers, etc., are your future network. The person sitting next to you in class today could easily be in a position to hire you soon, so make a good impression. Your reputation in the business has already begun!
You're on your way! If you need help, reach out to an advisor or the Advising Office. If you're unable to find a solution there, consult with your program director or chair. Best wishes! We're here for you.