GPA and Photojournalism

Discussion in 'Education' started by elizabeth_zeigler, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. So I am trying to find a college for photojounalism. I was pushed into college by my dad when I graduated High school. The only problem is I was pushed into Education and now I really want to go into photojournalism. Because I didn't want to go into education my GPA is barely passing and I have failed most of my classes at my current college. This is a field I have been looking into but I just couldn't afford and I know it sounds like I'm slacking on my school work but it was only the matter I had to do something that I didn't like and it caused me to fail. I do love photojournalism and I just need something to bring more of that out.
    So my question is, are there any good colleges out there for photojournalism that don't focus too much on your GPA but more on your portfolio?
  2. Even a university that place more emphasis on your portfolio than your GPA is going to be reluctant to admit someone with a barely-passing GPA and F's in most courses. If you want to improve your chances of getting accepted, you need to demonstrate that you are capable of handling the coursework involved. You might try taking courses related to photojournalism (photography, writing, media, etc.) at your current college in order to improve your background and demonstrate your abilities.
    Also, when writing an application letter or essay for another university, you absolutely do not want it to sound like your post in this thread. You don't come across as a victim of your father's tyranny who could thrive in another field. You come across as someone who won't accept the responsibility for the consequences of her own actions (or inaction) and who lacks the self-discipline to do anything other than what she enjoys doing. No major (and no job) is going to consist entirely of things that you enjoy doing or find interesting. Being competent at the stuff that's not interesting is just as important as being good at the stuff that is interesting.
  3. I was going to write a post, but Mike already wrote mine.

    But he was nicer.
  4. Welcome to photonet Elizabeth.You will get lots of advice here. How about posting some work of your P>J> so far. ? regards miken
  5. I was going to say something not unlike Mike D, but in a softer way.
    Everybody makes mistakes in their life; you'll have to work to overcome yours, and I hope you do. You are presumably young yet! I wish I had a suggestion for you regarding PJ schools, but as Mike N. said, you've come to the right place for photography advice. Please stick around!
  6. Mike D. only got one part wrong:
    Being competent at the stuff that's not interesting is just as important as being good at the stuff that is interesting.
    The stuff that you don't like and which you're not naturally good at is more important than the rest. Never mind the "photo" part of photojournalism. First and foremost, it's journalism. It's professional communications, usually about real-world things that actually matter. And to get paid actual wages to work in that capacity, you need to be a top-notch communicator, a well-rounded student of history and current affairs, reasonably familiarized with the sciences and technology, and completely in tune with the larger business issues that face your prospective employers.

    And increasingly, you're going to be writing much of your own companion prose, probably editing video, and dealing with a lot of other production-assistant-type-stuff that is increasingly being asked of media people in the field. All of that demands a person who is a serious self-started, someone who is resourceful, and someone who understands that the vast majority of the work is not with a camera in front of one's face.

    The point is: you need to show hustle and not only a willingness but a certain perverse delight in doing stuff that doesn't seem appealing - including the hideously boring stuff. The classes that are currently choking you, essentially, a dress rehersal for exactly that sort of stuff - which will occupy most of your waking hours, in between sporadic moments of actually using a camera.

    If it were easy, everyone would do it, right? Just like fashion and sports work. Working pros deal with a lot of unpleasant, non-camera chores. It's just how it is.

    Man, what I'd give right now to only have classes I don't relish as the main thing about my life to dislike! :)
  7. I wouldn't bother racking up a loan tab in college for a photojournalism degree, especially with the industry in upheaval at the moment (and it was already in that state before the crash of 2008) and the economy. There are two types of successful photojournalists: 1) The fast learners and adapters. They were the first in their field to embrace video and social media, and learned to integrate them into their photojournalism practice well before most other people did. 2) The ones who are passionate about certain causes or issues, and just happen to prefer communicating their stories through photojournalism. Generally, both of these types have educations in diverse fields, from anthropology to political science.
    The ex-photojournalists I know who are now coffee house baristas got into the field thinking it would be a free ticket to travel, or an opportunity to own lots of cool gear. These people had nothing substantial to contribute to the profession or anything significant or original to say about the way they saw the world.
    This is where you have to be honest with yourself. What kind of "photojournalist" are you? Or are you merely in love with the idea of being a photojournalist? The myth and the reality are two entirely different things.
    Your father sounds like the pragmatic type and most of us would be lucky to have one like that. An education degree would be a great back up plan in case the photojournalism thing doesn't work out, as it often doesn't, and would actually be useful should you decide you want to teach photography or photojournalism one day.
    My advice to you would be to take advantage of any re-take privileges your school may offer and start paying attention in class. There are people, of certain cultures, far worse off than you whose parents push them into fields like medicine, for example. Imagine having to do that against your will. Comparatively speaking, education is a cake walk. While you're at it, the college you got "pushed" into may in fact offer you the best possible opportunity as a student photojournalist, and that is your campus newspaper.
    I hope I'm wrong, but it doesn't sound to me like you're someone who will make it in the tough, competitive field of photojournalism since you seem to prefer displacing blame onto other people instead of taking responsibility for yourself. In photojournalism, nobody is going to hand you anything. You're going to have strict deadlines to meet, you'll run into people won't want you to take their picture, and none of your editors will want to hear excuses. No matter how good your portfolio is, if you can't change your attitude from "it's not my fault" to "I'll do the best I can with this," you're not going to make it.

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