What to Expect
Advertising students are encouraged to be creative and think out of the
box -- way out of the box. But it's not all creative development. Advertising
is a business.
Students learn about media planning, account management, integrated
marketing communications, advertising sales and marketing.
"I am looking forward to being successful in an exciting, fast-paced career.
Advertising has endless creative possibilities and communicates to so many
people in a unique and important way," says Elena Sotirin. She is an advertising
student at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. She's also the communications
director of an ad club.
Advertising teaches the creativity of communication. "It explains
how to appeal to people's interests by finding out what consumers want in
their products and their lives. Since these interests are constantly changing,
the field of APR [advertising and public relations] is always changing and
adapting," Sotirin says.
Dan Giusti and Sarah Thornley are advertising classmates. Their three-year
program is very business-oriented. The faculty at their college are industry
professionals, and both students have found that very helpful in terms of
Homework will include projects, reading, reviewing notes and preparing
for classes. Project work is important to ad students so they can develop
Students are often assigned to work in groups. You have to have good time
management skills, be able to handle stress and work well with others. Group
work means completing the project even if some of the members don't pull their
Some students spend long hours pouring their all into the finished product.
"I put extra work into projects in order to learn more for myself and put
my best work out there for people to see," says Sotirin. "The most difficult
thing for me to deal with is having too much to do at once. It is important
to do one thing at a time and not get overwhelmed."
Textbooks are the main expense related to the program. Try sharing texts,
buying used books or shopping online to trim your budget. Depending on your
programs focus, you might need some creative supplies.
How to Prepare
Sotirin counsels future advertising students to know their own skills and
how you can apply them to your interests.
"You have to learn how to market yourself before they will believe you
can market a product," she says. Start building your resume early by getting
some experience in high school.
Giusti and Thornley both stress the importance of presentation skills,
including public speaking. If you have trouble with public speaking, practice
in front of a mirror or a small audience. They recommend taking drama, art,
photography, English, writing and graphic design.
Sotirin encourages students to belong to professional organizations and
attend their social events. Networking is priceless in advertising.