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Speech Communication and Rhetoric


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What to Expect

Strong writing skills are key to success in a communications program.

"You can definitely expect a lot of writing," says Darilyn Coles. She took a diploma in communications at a community college.

"You also have a lot of practical training, including things such as speaker presentations, hands-on news briefing experience and other practical experience. The course is based on very strong writing skills."

Coles says there is no typical day in the program. On a weekly basis, however, you can expect writing labs, ongoing work on larger projects similar to the communications projects you would tackle in the working world, as well as event planning, where the entire class works together to put on an event for the college.

Coles says her favorite part of the program is the practical aspects, the hands-on training. "For me, that's way I learn, actually doing the hands-on projects or planning news conferences because you have to think on your feet the way you have to in the real world."

Brandy Van Horn took the television and radio program at Ithaca College in New York. Her concentration was on communications and advertising.

"You have to know how to balance your time because you are going to need to gain outside experience," she says. "You can't learn everything in a classroom and this field is so dependent on learning as you go.

"That's why things like internships are so valuable. If you can get something like that in high school, you will definitely be one step ahead."

How to Prepare

Coles says English and political science courses are assets, as are computer skills.

"You have to have basic personal computer skills in order to get into the program," she says, adding that computer training is provided during the first semesters to help you polish up your computer skills. Coles also says that any background in volunteer work would help.

Van Horn advises taking as many writing classes as you can before you apply. "Even classes like creative writing or anything that gets you writing all the time would really be a big help," she says.


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