What are the requirements for admission to PAR?
To be admitted into the Public Affairs Reporting program, a candidate must have completed his or her undergraduate work, possess solid writing skills, and have a strong desire to work as a reporter covering news of government, politics, and other public affairs (as opposed to writing film reviews or covering professional baseball.)
A candidate need not have majored in journalism, communications, or some related field, but he or she should have some journalism experience, such as that gained by reporting for a student newspaper or for a campus radio or TV station. Most students come to the program directly from their baccalaureate work, but each year the program benefits from having several students with previous professional experience who can bring “real world” insights into the classroom.
The University requires graduate school applicants to have a grade-point average of at least 2.50 on a 4.00 scale for unconditional admission. PAR candidates with lower GPAs may be admitted conditionally, with the stipulation that they do “B” work in the fall semester. In evaluating a candidate’s academic record, the PAR Admissions Committee goes beyond the GPA itself and reviews the transcript paying particular attention to the candidate’s level of achievement in journalism or communications courses and in other related courses, such as English composition, history, or political science.
Applicants who appear to have the necessary qualifications for the PAR program are invited to the UIS campus in late April to interview with the PAR Admissions Committee, composed of faculty members and journalists from the Illinois Legislative Correspondents Association (the Statehouse press corps.) At the time of the interview, candidates also are tested for spelling, grammar and punctuation skills and knowledge of current events and will complete a news writing exercise.
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required.