This month two years ago I was accepted into a prestigious high school journalism program at Northwestern University. The Medill Cherubs program accepts only 84 students from across the country to spend a summer in Evanston, Illinois learning all things journalism, from videos to design to web to writing. The five week intensive program prepared me for Mizzou journalism in a way I never anticipated. Today I share with you my experiences as a 2014 Medill Cherub.
The application process included portfolio samples, a resume and an essay. The program itself cost $5200 but I was fortunate enough to be awarded a scholarship that covered most of the expenses. Regardless of your financial situation, I highly recommend applying for a scholarship.
From a social perspective, it took me a while to get acclimated. It was the longest I'd ever spent from home and away from my family but I formed friendships and connections that I still maintain today. One of the biggest benefits of the program is meeting other highly motivated students going into the field of journalism. One piece of advice I would give is to take the initiative to talk to those students around you and learn about them and from them. I've even met former Cherubs at Mizzou who have taken me under their wing and mentored me within the school of journalism and beyond.
I would argue that the biggest strength of the program is the professors that run it. Our faculty leaders consisted of journalism professors both from Northwestern and elsewhere. The knowledge and experience than imparted upon us was invaluable and serves me today as I continue with my career in journalism.
The amount of hands-on work we were given is the best thing I took away from the program. We did man-on-the-street interviews, created a website, wrote weekly blog posts, took weekly photos and more. The trend story we wrote is to date my favorite piece of journalism that I've ever written. All the assignments forced me out of my comfort zone and truly immersed me in the field I'm pursuing. While it was daunting, the rewards of producing great journalism ensured me that I was pursuing my passion.
So for any young high school journalist aspiring to better themselves as a writer, videographer, photographer, designer, or web designer, I truly feel like the Northwestern Medill cherubs program is a great place to start and grow.