It’s that time of year again when high school seniors and potential graduate students are anxiously waiting to hear back from their university of choice. Yesterday, in fact, I saw this tweet from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. (Full disclosure: That is my alma mater.)
Seeing lots of excited tweets from newly-accepted @NewhouseSU students. Congrats, all! And welcome!
— Newhouse School (@NewhouseSU) March 15, 2012
It made me think back to when I was applying to college and realized I wanted to major in journalism. The problem I encountered then, and still find exists today, is that there aren’t any definitive rankings for journalism schools. (As we saw yesterday, the debate still rages over whether journalism is a worthwhile academic pursuit.)
If you are interested in studying English, business or library sciences, U.S. News & World Report has your back. True, the rankings are flawed and geared toward graduate students but they still give you a vague idea of which schools have strong programs. But if you are trying to decide between University of Maryland, College Park and Northwestern, for example, you have a lot less to go on.
Recently, two websites have come out with their own lists. In December, in an issue of NewsPro, its magazine geared to news professionals, TVWeek.com published the top 25 journalism schools in the country.
According to the TVWeek and NewsPro survey of more than 400 participants, many of whom are news professionals, the top 10 J-schools are:
1. Syracuse University
2. Northwestern University
3. Columbia University
4. University of Missouri at Columbia
5. University of Southern California
6. Arizona State University
7. New York University
8. University of California at Berkeley
9. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
10. George Washington University
CollegeMagazine.com also just posted its own list of the 10 best journalism schools. While TVWeek’s was ranked by professionals and included journalism schools that only offer graduate degrees, like Columbia University, this one focused more on undergraduate programs.
The list, which was given in alphabetical order, was based on “admittance criteria, distinguished faculty, ranked campus media outlets, available technology and internship opportunities.”
Here are College Magazine’s top choices:
- University of Florida
- University of Georgia
- Indiana University, Bloomington
- University of Kansas
- University of Maryland, College Park
- University of Missouri at Columbia
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Northwestern University
- Ohio University
- Syracuse University
There are some overlaps in the two lists but they are by no means comprehensive. If you Google “top journalism schools” a whole slew of results pops up but ultimately, nothing tells you which school is better than another.
The TVWeek story mentions that it’s not easy to find polls ranking journalism schools, with one main reason being that “they are subjective, for instance, as many of the respondents would probably be alumni.” That may be true but it doesn’t stop other types of schools from getting ranked by “impartial” groups.
Of course rankings aren’t the only reason to consider a school but sometimes, having that little bit of information can help an undecided student make up his or her mind.
Should journalism schools be ranked? What would your list of the top 10 look like?