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) Know what the program can do for you (and check out other programs, too).
Students tend to gravitate toward their strengths and interests--but they don't always know what those are when they start. If you're interested in advertising and public relations, take a look at the ADPR program and see which concentrations and courses interest you most. Enroll in a couple of those classes early to find out if the field is right for you. For example, 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. Feel free to explore in your early semesters.
2) 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, students get ideas for how to turn the most unlikely projects into show pieces. Similarly, a research paper you thought was just for a grade could become an important blog post on your portfolio site. You really never know what's important until the end. That's why saving all your work is vital in both your academic and professional career. See item #9 about backing up your work to the cloud.
3) Choose an advisor who's right for you--and reach out for help when you need it.
Your advisor can offer career advice and opportunities, help you plan your classes, and provide personal support and resources to help you succeed. 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."
4) Plan your path, but be flexible.
Your advisor will help you plan a path in the very first semester. Some students want to finish all their baccalaureate courses first. That means they might not even know whether they like their major until their junior year, and they could get backed up on the prerequisites they need to complete their degree. You might want to start with introductory courses in advertising, public relations, and digital media. These skills will help you with all the other courses in your major. Mix these courses with those required in your baccalaureate program--and with your exploratory courses (credits you can use to take anything you like). Consider travel-abroad courses as well. You never know what new interests you might find! Be flexible about changing direction if you discover new interests. You can revise your plan as you go, with your advisor's help.
5) 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.
6) "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.
7) Join clubs and organizations.
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.
8) 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 3.0 GPA or higher are eligible for Communication credit for internships.
9) 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 backed up to the cloud (both) 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.
Don't wait until "later" to back up work after you've created it. Instead, keep all your digital files in a folder that continually backs up to the cloud, even while you're working on it. To do this, you can get the folder icon on your desktop for whatever cloud server you're using, and keep all your files inside that folder icon. For example, Google the term "Google Drive Desktop Icon" to see how you can download it to sit on your desk like a master folder. If you're not sure which cloud server to use, you can start with the one that offers you the most free space. If you have MS Office, OneDrive is a service that's bundled with it, for example.
10) 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.
11) 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.
12) 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 of luck! We're here for you.