1. What is the significance of my "catalog year?"
You will be held to the specific requirements of the catalog to which you are assigned—freshmen are under the catalog for the year in which they enter Chapman. Transfer students are under the catalog for the year before you enter Chapman, working on the assumption that before you transferred you were planning your courses at your first school to work with what was being offered at Chapman. If you change catalogs because the requirements in the major may have changed while you were at Chapman or you wish to choose another major, you will also be held to any changes that may have been put in place in regards to GE. It is best to run a “what if” scenario with your program evaluation before you decide to change catalogs for any reason.
2. Can I mix and match PR and Advertising classes?
Yes. Although the program offers unofficial “tracks,” you are not required to choose one or the other.
3. What minors work well with PR and Advertising?
Truthfully, any minor will work since PR and advertising people can work in a wide variety of fields, a broad education is useful. Follow your passion or pursue a secondary area of interest. That said, certain minors can help you prepare for specific fields. For example, political science would be useful if you want to get involved with communications for a political candidate. Journalism, psychology, graphic design, television or leadership studies are also among programs that pair well with a PRA degree.
4. How many PRA elective classes are available and how often are they offered?
There are a good number of PRA electives, however we are limited by the university as to how many classes we can offer. Given the size of our majors and minors, we need to offer the required courses to serve our students first, which can limit how many electives we can offer in any given term. Typically, we offer Advanced Public Relations Writing, Storytelling for Business, Business Presentations, Student Advertising Agency and Producing Commercials on a regular basis.
5. What are PRA majors required to take Visual Storytelling and Film Aesthetics? Why can’t I just rent the videos for Film Aesthetics instead of taking the lab?
The vast majority of communication today includes visual components—from YouTube videos to professionally produced commercials. In order to work successfully as a PR or advertising professional, it is essential that you understand the language of visual communication—how things such as camera angle, editing, sound, narrative arcs etc. shape a story or corporate communication. You may or may not be directly creating visual communications, but you will certainly be involved in supervising, requesting or critiquing these tools as they support your work. Hence it is critical that you know what works and what doesn’t and why. (As far as the lab goes, faculty provide context for the screenings and this insures that students see films as they were intended on the big screen and that they do, in fact see them.)
6. What is the difference between PR and Advertising and Strategic and Corporate Communications?
Although these degrees are similar in their focus on communication, the PRA degree is more focused on a hands-on program using media tools and developing creative strategies to support the communication goals of all kinds of organizations—PR firms and ad agencies, businesses of all kinds, non-profits, educational and arts groups etc. and to handle media relations, event planning, social media, the creative work behind ads and PR campaigns and so on. Strategic and Corporate Communications is more focused on theory and research, with more business classes, preparing students to work in a corporate setting.
7. What’s the difference between Media Strategies and Media Relations?
Media Relations teaches PR students how to pitch and deal with the media—how to build strong media relationships for the benefit of PR clients. Media Strategies covers the process of buying space and time for advertising. We have recently renamed that course Media Planning and Buying to eliminate the confusion.
8. What do I need to know technically? What programs should I be acquainted with? InDesign? Photoshop? PPT? WordPress, etc.
The more computer programs you know, the better, although certainly Microsoft Office, particularly Word and Excel, InDesign and Photoshop can be particularly valuable. But don’t stress too much about these programs because what’s most important in general computer literacy and knowing how to teach yourself new or updated programs. Whatever programs you know now will undoubtedly continue to be revised, so you just need to do your best to master the basics and keep learning.
9. Is there a resource outside the classroom to learn some of the programs (Photoshop, InDesign)?
Yes, Chapman students have free access to the online software tutorial at Lynda.com You can access this resource at https://webfarm.chapman.edu/lyndacas using your Chapman user name and password.
10. What is the difference between “capstone course” and “senior project”?
The senior project is the culminating campaign created by students who are following either the PR or the advertising track. Entertainment Marketing and Promotion is often referred to as the capstone course because it brings together all of the elements of the program in one class.
11. How can I get a course substitution or a course at another school approved?
You need to send the name, course number and catalog description of the course at the other institution to the Division Chair, Janell Shearer at firstname.lastname@example.org along with the name of the school where you plan to take the course, a copy of your program evaluation, and the name and number of the course you suggest that the outside course be substituted for. She will review the request and let you know whether the substitution is approved.
12. Can I take a course in the major or minor pass/no pass?
13. How do I get into a class that's full? How does the waitlist work?
Show up on the first day of class to see if there is room available. However, be advised that which students are admitted to a class is entirely up to the instructor. Typically, students are admitted on the basis of class standing, thus seniors have preference over juniors, juniors over sophomores etc. In addition, majors have preference over minors or non-majors. Your position on the waitlist does not guarantee you a place in the class once the first day of the semester begins. The waitlist only places students in a class when a previously enrolled student drops the course before the semester begins. Once the semester begins, the instructor can choose whom to admit, regardless or any student’s previous standing on the waitlist. Basically, the waitlist means nothing once the term begins.