AP Classes To Take If You Want To Be A Journalism Major
Do you like talking to people about current issues around the world? Do you see yourself working as a broadcast reporter for CNN, NPR, or MSNBC? Or maybe as a writer for a newspaper like The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then majoring in journalism is the right step to take.
I knew that I wanted to be a journalist since high school. I loved writing, interviewing, and informing people about current issues. I was a part of the journalism class, writing news articles and editorials. Then during senior year, I was promoted to Editor-in-Chief.
While I did gain the experience of being a student journalist working for my journalism class, I still thought I could do more to prepare myself before I began college.
I checked on the College Board website for AP classes that would benefit me to take. After checking, I was happy to see that I had already taken most of those classes. Here are some of those courses.
AP English Language/Literature and Composition
AP English Language and AP English Literature are essential classes that prepare you to become a journalist. AP English Language and Composition teaches you to write an argument using rhetorical analysis strategies. This is beneficial for upcoming journalists, especially those who want to write more opinionated articles.
While AP English Language teaches you how to argue, AP English Literature and Composition teaches you how to pick apart a text to understand the writer’s message. This is another essential strategy to have because it will allow you to better understand other journalists’ points of view and perspectives.
AP U.S. Government/Comparative Government and Politics
At some point in a journalist’s career, they will likely write about politics. To prepare yourself for that, AP U.S. Government or AP Comparative Government and Politics are necessary to take.
The difference between the two AP Government classes is that one analyzes the politics and government systems of the United States specifically, and the other analyzes the politics and government systems of six different countries: China, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and the United Kingdom.
If you want to become a journalist who writes about international relations, then AP Comparative Government and Politics is the class for you. However, if you are interested in writing about politics in the United States, AP U.S. Government and Politics is the better class.
If you are like me, you may be questioning why AP Psychology is a necessary AP class to take since it doesn’t seem like it relates to journalism at all. But it does.
In AP Psychology, you learn how to analyze research studies in psychology and interpret the data from those studies. This is an essential skill for journalists.
Suppose a journalist wrote about a new medicine that supposedly cures you. In that case, the journalist has to analyze the data from the study and convert the analysis to words that their audience will understand.
This is a vital skill for journalists who want to report on medical news or any type of news that has to deal with research.
Though journalism is considered a liberal art, there is still some math that journalists have to understand. AP Statistics teaches you to collect and analyze data, describe patterns or trends in specific data sets, and use statistical reasoning to make conclusions and justify specific claims.
If you are interested in data journalism, then AP Statistics is a must to take. Still, even if you aren’t planning on becoming a data journalist, statistics is an important class to take to analyze data in other journalism topics.
AP Research and Seminar
Sometimes, journalists have to conduct research when covering a topic and present it in a matter that their audience will understand. AP Research and Seminar teaches you these skills.
In AP Research, students learn how to conduct research, analyze data, sources, and evidence, and apply context to their writing. AP Seminar teaches students how to come up with an argument based on evidence, see issues through multiple perspectives, and analyze evidence gathered from different types of texts.
These two AP courses teach you the basics of presenting information, essential for journalism. Journalists present information through various forms of media like articles, radio news shows, or news channels.
AP Foreign Languages
Finally, any type of AP foreign language is recommended to become a journalist. A journalist’s job is to inform the public about current issues that may affect their audience. By having another language under your belt, you will inform more people.
I took AP Spanish Language and Culture and AP English Language and Composition during my junior year of high school. I passed both exams, and I received the California Biliteracy Seal on my diploma when I graduated.
That biliteracy seal allows me to create content in both English and Spanish. Therefore, I can communicate news to both communities.
It isn’t necessary to learn another language if you don’t want to. Still, it is a benefit, and most journalists who can report news in two languages are usually paid better than those who speak one language.
Not only do these AP classes help in learning necessary skills journalists have to have, but these classes may also help eliminate some general ed classes in college too.
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