Hi.. apologies as this has turned out longer than expected, but I'd really appreciate some advice!
I'm due to go to Uni in 2008 (so currently y12), and I live in SE London. I've decided for several reaons that I want to stay in London for Uni, and intend to live at home, for the first year at least. I went to the UCAS fair yesterday and now feel even more unsure about what I want to do.
I'm interested in doing a Public Relations degree, or something similar, such as PR & Marketing etc. The thing is, I feel like I'm letting down parents, and more so teachers etc because of this. I've always been pretty bright (not amazingly intelligent), but have always done well academically, am doing English, History, Sociology and Media and so am more in to written subjects and would say I'm quite capable. I got all As and Bs at GCSE and am predicted the same for this year and next. I wanted to go in to law for years, and then changed my mind to teaching, and all the while, felt like people assumed that I would go in to something like that.. do a degree or go in to a career that was quite 'academic'. Some of my teachers assume I'll be applying to top Unis etc..
However, I'm really determined not to go to Uni and get a degree for the sake of it.. I want to get a degree which will be helpful to my career, will put me a slight step ahead and which will prove that the three years of studying for it will have been worthwhile. I don't think I'd cope with a history degree (don't think I'm good enough to be honest, and don't want to struggle for three years and end up with a crap grade) and if I did a social science degree, I'm not sure I want to go in to anything related to this as a career. That's why I'm steering towards PR (or something similar), as I feel this is possibly more beneficial career-wise and won't be so work-heavy (as in lots of writing and essays etc). However, I feel that loads of people expect me to do something better than this and I feel as though people will think I'm throwing away great opportunities and not fulfilling my potential.
The Unis in London I looked at yesterday that did PR or similar were: London Met, Greenwich, Westminster, Thames Valley, Middlesex, Kingston, Roehampton and Southbank. None of these are apparently great Unis, and I got lots of frowns when I mentioned going to London Met, and have been told I could do much better than any of these.
So, my questions are:
Where else in London does a good PR (or at least marketing/media related) degree?
Would I really be not aiming for my full potential if I do PR at one of these Unis and is this such a terrible mistake?
Would I be better to try and exert myself and try and get in to a better London uni doing something like Sociology or a social science degree, even though I'm not sure what sort of job they'd be great for and lead me straight in to?
Which of these Unis is the best generally? (apart from Southbank, as I live 10 mins from here and know it's not the best!)
Well I can´t offer any advice about a marketing/PR degree, but if you do decide to apply for a more academic subject, why not Management? A lot of management degrees involve marketing modules, and you would be able to apply for King´s and QMUL for this subject too
If you want a media degree then you could go for Film Studies at King´s or QMUL (plus UCL does Russian with Film Studies I believe).
Thanks for that! I've looked at management, but didn't know whether it was a bit generic? And possibly not the best degree to go in to PR with? Also, i thought business was a requirement in order to do management (I haven't ever done it)?
Oh God no, I applied for Business last year and didn´t have a single related subject for A Level!
Management is a good subject for working in the city. Sure it´s not intended to produce people to work for a specific job, but it´s a good grounding in business. Also I´d imagine that people going into PR/marketing would mostly have a business/management degree as opposed to a PR/marketing degree (obviously there are people with totally unrelated subjects too but you know what I mean).
Anyway management would be better than a PR degree in that it would offer broader career prospects (I know you´re set on a career in PR but you never know what can happen in 3 years, you might decide on something else).
No problem. If I remember correctly management can be combined with quite a few subjects at QMUL, and at UCL it is only offered with other subjects (information management, a language, science, maths and statistics I think). LSE offers management too but they would want you to have Maths at AS Level at least.
Have you been able to get any work experience? I know it's competitive, but it does really open your eyes. Try and find out what the top firms look for - I think like most graduate jobs the degree is secondary to experience. You might want to consider something like sociology at LSE, where you'd be able to dip into a few business/management style modules, as well as get some experience at relevant student societies. That's not to say there's anything wrong with the uni's you've mentioned, but if you're not being stretched academically then you might get bored!
I don't think you should worry about doing a degree that's specifically a PR/Marketing degree in order to become a PR person or work in marketing, generally most people enter that industry with general degree's like English, History (these are just examples- I'm not saying you should do them if you hate the subjects) etc and since it's a pretty competetive industry people have usually graduated from good redbrick universities. Also you should consider the fact you might change your mind about PR whilst or after your studying- this was one of the reasons I didn't want to do a vocational subject.
Thanks for the advice.
I'm not going to do a straight PR degree now, I think I'm going to do something media-related, perhaps Marketing/communications/media/journalism type degree, perhaps with options to dip in to public relations topics. It also widens my choice of Unis a bit. Thanks!! This advice has been greatly appreciated. I emailed a few PR firms and the CIPR on Saturday regarding degree advice and work experience, and am just waiting for any feedback now, so hopefully I'll start to get a clearer picture of what I want to do.
I'm a PR and Corporate Communications officer for a French comany in Asia and from my experience, It would be much better if you study either Communication or PR for your first degree rather than a general one. Companies want their potiental employees to be well-trainned and skillled and could apply the knowledge to their work straight away so they don't have to spend budget to train the staff again. My advice is: do a BA in PR either at Westminster or Uni of West London.
Westminster is well-known for Communication studies and Uni of West London's PR degree enables you to have up to 1 year work placement. Many of my co-workers studied there.