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The applied focus of journalism schools can sometimes be stressful for students.

"Sometimes, just the daily rigors of being a student and reporting are daunting," says Catey De Vito, who studied journalism at the University of Missouri. "It seems that, at times, it would be easier to be one or the other, student or full-time reporter."

Still, De Vito recommends the program to anyone who loves writing and language and is looking for a practical, hands-on program of study.

"The training we get is in the real setting. Not many people have the opportunity to work while in school at an affiliate station," she says. Her school works closely with the local NBC station, so students get real-life reporting experience.

Amber Ryder's initial plan was to go to university, but after taking time to travel, she was eager to get some career-related training right away. She decided to get a two-year diploma at a community college instead. Ryder recommends a two-year program for anyone who wants to learn the career in a short time, and who likes a practical, rather than an academic, focus.

"It just seemed like [it was] a more practical, more hands-on program that would give me an idea of what it was really like to be a journalist, as opposed to being at university and just getting a lot of theory first," she explains.

Not that she's ruling out university for the future. "I don't think it's a bad thing to go to university," she stresses. "I would like to do more intellectual study, French courses and literature courses and stuff like that. You don't get that at [a community college.] It's all very practical and hands-on."

Ryder warns that getting used to real-life deadlines can take time. "They really try to enforce deadlines....Deadlines are very important in this business," she says.

"The photo part of it is also really challenging," she adds. "We have to do manual photography for the entire first year, and we do all the developing process. I found that really challenging, because it wasn't something I'd done before."

Students recommend programs with an internship component. Ryder feels her six-week newspaper internship was invaluable. "The reporters there were very helpful in giving me advice on contacts and how to ask questions, and who to ask, and things like that," she says.

"It's sort of intimidating sometimes, the idea of being in a fast-paced newsroom, so it was really a confidence builder."