Grady survival tips from seniors

Photo by Vasily Koloda on Unsplash

By Abby Clark

Grady College is recognized as one of the best journalism schools in the nation; it is no secret that working towards your degree at Grady can be a challenge. Seniors have been through it all – the Grady application process, challenging classes, group projects, internship applications, interviews and more. Here are some tips from Grady veterans to help you survive the ups and downs of the journey to that fateful day in Sanford Stadium. 

Statement of Interest

The first challenge prospective Grady students face is the application process, specifically the infamous statement of interest. Each student applying to Grady has to write out a statement of interest at the testing center to be accepted into each major. Many students find this task daunting, unsure of how to approach it. Though the statement must be written without notes in the testing center, students can prepare beforehand to make the experience less intimidating. 

Emily Woodward, a fourth-year entertainment media studies major, offers the following advice. “It’s definitely important to practice writing out your response before you go,” Woodward said. “Before writing the statement, reflect on why you want to go into that profession, and be specific.”

Even if you’re not sure what specific aspect of that field you want to go into, expressing one or a few specific aspects can set you apart and demonstrate a deeper knowledge of the field. 

Kate Everett, fourth-year public relations major, found that asking peers ahead of you in Grady to be helpful. 

“I got tips about how to make my statement stand out from someone who had gotten in the year ahead of me,” she said. “It really helped me feel more confident about my own writing.”

“It’s also important to include what you would bring to Grady College and your peers,” Woodward also said. 

If you’re unsure what unique qualities you would bring, ask family and friends about some of your strengths. You can even take an online personality test and determine how the results would intersect with your future career. 

Group Work

“First off – know that nearly everything in Grady is collaborative work,” warns Everett. 

Once you get into Grady, many of your classes will involve group projects. Collaborative work is a must in the communications field. That being said, understanding your role and getting acclimated to the dynamic of each group project can be a challenge. 

“Working in groups can be difficult,” said Abby Hellman, a fourth-year advertising major. “You have to be open to new ideas, carry your weight and be honest with people. It is important to have check-ins with your group as a whole if people are not doing their part, and it can help everyone be more productive if you try to pick convenient times for in-person group meetings.”

“Stay on top of your deadlines, ask your group for ideas or questions if you’re unsure about something, and do your best to have fun with it! In addition to getting a good experience and grade, you can build relationships,” said Alafia Adeleke, fourth-year public relations major.  

Each group project under your belt makes the next a little bit easier. Though every group project will operate differently and bring unique challenges, understanding yourself and where you thrive will help establish a healthy rhythm for your group. It is important to recognize, though, that there will be unanticipated challenges that must be dealt with when the time comes.

Internship or Job Prep

One of the most stressful times in a Grady student’s life is internship or application season. Scrolling through LinkedIn can make it seem like everyone around you has something lined up for summer or post-grad, which has potential to be disheartening and curb motivation. 

“I think it is important to stray away from comparing yourself to your peers,” Woodward said. “Though the position you land may not match your dream internship for the summer, it is still extremely valuable and can be leveraged for future positions.” 

Kevin Hunter, a fourth-year public relations major, also says that it is important to get to know your professors and make connections through them. Many students land internships through connections arranged by professors. Hunter also underscores the importance of evaluating your skills, so that you can speak to them in interviews. 

Abby Hellman also offers some advice on how to make your interview stand out. 

“One of my friends will bring a slideshow to her interviews,” Hellman said. “She assumes they will ask about the two major points on her resume and brings work from that to show while she talks about it in this engaging, fun format. Another option is to make a video and speak the audio to fit the video timing.” 

Though these are some pretty creatively extreme examples, they can help you brainstorm how to stand out among your peers. Think of ways that come naturally to you, but still set you apart.

“People are really drawn to passion and excitement, and love to see what you care about and why it’s important to you,” said Adeleke. Though it seems cliche, it pays off to be yourself. 

These fourth-year students know Grady better than anyone, with experiences fresh in mind as they round out their time in college. Taking these pieces of advice to heart can really help prepare those of you who are starting out the Grady path.