When I first came to JMU, I had no idea I wanted to be involved in PR. As a WRTC major, I haven’t had much PR experience but I joined Bluestone on a whim my junior year. I felt confused and lost compared to my peers who were mostly SCOM majors who had taken multiple PR classes, but I pulled through.
I managed to learn more through Bluestone but in the beginning, it was tough. And even once you learn how PR works, it can be hard to expand your skills. Well, it turns out that JMU has some great resources that will help the most experienced or inexperienced PR students deepen their skills.
University Writing Center
The University Writing, which is located in SSC, offers both in-person and online sessions to help you with any writing project. On their website, they have a section that specifically helps students with journalism and PR writing. This section includes helpful tutorials and guides that teach you how to write news articles, feature articles, and press releases.
JMU’s Communication Center is also located in SSC and aims to create informed and ethical communicators on campus. At the center, you can record presentations, talk with a tutor to develop your interview skills, and prepare for the MREST or other SCOM tests. On their website, they offer help with creating a presentation, delivering a presentation, overcoming speech anxiety, and presenting visual data. Currently, you can book in-person or virtual appointments with a tutor for any communication help you might need.
Communication Studies Library
The Communication Studies Library is an online resource that can be found on the JMU Libraries website or you can get to it through the SCOM Department’s website. The Library offers links to communications-related databases where you can look up informational articles about any topic you want. This is a great resource to learn more about how the PR world works.
The JMU chapter of PRSSA is a student organization that offers students a chance to get a look at how to be a PR practitioner. The club offers professional development, networking, mentorship, and leadership opportunities. PRSSA also takes visits to PR agencies so you can see how an agency functions and if that career path is for you. If you are questioning a career in PR, this group is a good opportunity to check out how PR works and to expand on the skills you already have.
PR is a tough field to be in but luckily, JMU offers plenty of resources that can help you in your journey. From online resources to in-person centers, to student orgs, there are plenty of opportunities for you on-campus to grow your skills as a future PR practitioner.