To be successful in the arena of communications, it would be helpful to have some knowledge of what the field is all about, even before you start applying to college. When you do apply to college, an activities resume is one of the things that they are likely to ask for. You will want to prove that you have worked hard in high school and have been involved. Presenting your college with your activities resume may help with the admissions process by showing that you are serious about the degree. Having a vague idea that you want to major in advertising because you like to draw doesn’t really prove that you are aware of what the job actually entails.
If your high school has a newspaper or yearbook, join the staff and learn as much as you can about editing, layout and publishing. If you advance to editor, so much the better—it proves to a college that you are dedicated and can work with others to get a job done. Make sure you compile a portfolio of any creative initiatives, writing and editing you have done.
Consider joining the speech and debate team. The skills learned there will be invaluable to you, even if you never participate in college. You will learn to perfect your speaking skills and learn about logic and research, all invaluable skills for your future. Debate also teaches you to think on your feet and to follow someone else’s train of thought.
Gain as much computer knowledge as you can. If your school offers graphic design or advanced computer processing, take advantage of what is offered. The more knowledge you have, the more you will appeal to a college and eventually an employer.
Try to become aware of the community you live in. Being familiar with local events and perhaps even participating in local campaigns will give you an idea if this forum appeals to you. Become involved by joining your Student Council organization to plan and promote special events in your community and on your campus. Being involved in unselfish activities shows a commitment and maturity level that colleges are looking for. It also impresses potential employers.
If you’re looking to eventually do on-air or camera work, consider auditioning for plays either at your school or in a local community theater group. This is another skill set that will become a mainstay of your repertoire. If acting isn’t your thing, volunteer to work backstage on scenery, costumes or lights. If being behind a camera is in your future, volunteer to film for student directors or check with your school or community to see if there are any film festivals you can enter.
Learn about internship opportunities that you can take advantage of. You can directly call a company, newspaper, television or radio station that is of interest to you to ask if they offer a summer internship program. There are also companies that list internship opportunities and will make arrangements for you. There is sometimes a fee involved, so be selective. Check with your high school teachers and counselors for summer opportunities. There are dozens of chances to work (for free) to broaden your area of interest—all it takes is a little research to find your perfect match.
While in college, you will want to build your resume to prepare for your future. Any or all of the above activities would be an excellent place to start. Your professors will have information on internships that might be available for you to pursue. These internship jobs are sometimes highly competitive, depending on the position, so the more there is on your resume to indicate that you didn’t just wake up one morning and decide, for example, to become a talk show host, the better off you will be.
Join professional organizations at the campus level, and participate in planning and promoting your events. If you’ve joined a fraternity or sorority, consider taking leadership roles that prove that you aren’t just content to sit on the sidelines and watch. Companies are looking for people with creative ideas who aren’t afraid to put themselves out there. Joining clubs and organizations shows that you are engaged in your future.