Media Studies Department accepts 77% of 175 applicants – The Cavalier Daily
The Media Studies Department announced its acceptance decisions for the spring application cycle on March 1. The department received 175 applications, of which 135 were accepted, representing an acceptance rate of 77%. This is a decrease from last year’s acceptance rate of 81%.
The February application is normally restricted to second-year College students – however, an exception to the process has been made this year to allow current third-year students to apply due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19.
The application includes two essays, the completion of the Introduction to Media Studies and a transcript. Essays focus on the candidate’s interest and passion for the interdisciplinary work done in the Media Studies major and are designed to see the unique experiences and talents prospective students can bring to the table.
After the department decided to reduce registrations by 200 in January 2020, only 160 places were available this year. This decrease in capacity was the result of a staff shortage, as the department expected faculty to be unavailable this academic year due to requests for sabbaticals and to go and work on scholarship programs. . The limited availability of resources, such as professors, also explains why the department is unable to offer a minor.
Assoc. Media Studies Professor William Little explained the department’s struggle to keep up with a growing number of students interested in media studies.
“We started as a major in 2007, and so relatively speaking we’re still a young major and for a number of years… we had a very small major because we only had six or seven teachers. [members] and so we had 25 to 30 majors,” Little said. “We’ve grown exponentially over the past six years, but we still can’t keep up with the demand.”
The high demand for specialization in media studies and the limited number of professors are the main reasons why this is an application-based major. In response to this high demand, Little pointed to the need to dispel some misconceptions about the program as a major media practice.
“The program is focused on the study of media,” he said. “There is a misperception in some quarters that this is a media production department… The majority of courses are study-based courses.”
The department launched a master’s program in media studies in the fall of 2020 and plans to offer a doctoral program in the near future.
College sophomore Jaelyn DeGuia was accepted into the program in the February 2021 application cycle. DeGuia said she was excited to take courses related to journalism and media representation.
Regarding the application process, DeGuia said she expected a more academically-focused application, but was pleasantly surprised.
“While he asked about GPA and Media Studies courses, it also gave me the opportunity to express my interest outside of the academic setting, which I really liked” , DeGuia said. “To me, it showed that they didn’t want someone who was only qualified by numbers but by their desire to be there and [their] genuine interest in media studies.
DeGuia also said she believes the media studies department has gained a reputation over the years as a “communications” major.
“The media studies major is something that could be seen as an umbrella for the things students choose when they don’t know what they want to do,” DeGuia said. “I’d like to see the department grow, not necessarily in numbers, but for people to see that it’s something important and worthwhile.”
Little also emphasized the importance of the major, pointing out that the skills learned in these courses can be applied to a range of fields.
“Almost all professions are now involved in assessment, assessment [and] media production,” Little said. “There really isn’t an organization I can think of that isn’t invested in media systems and technology in some way. They are concerned about [their] audiences.
For those who applied but were not accepted into the program, they can try again in the August 2021 application cycle, which generally accepts applications from rising third-year students. This is usually a small group of accepted students.
“You can also take media studies courses that aren’t limited to majors,” Little said. “We encourage them to take these courses. There are also courses through the university that have some sort of media studies… complexion, whether it’s a film studies course in another department, maybe including English or East Asian studies.