What is the Collegiate Correspondent Program?
The Collegiate Correspondent Program will achieve two objectives:
1. It will provide USA TODAY College readers with hard news content, written by their peers.
2. It will give a select group of students a chance to improve as writers. Correspondents will be writing articles weekly, on developing topics and on a deadline.
Will topics be given to me or can I choose my own topics to write about?
You will be choosing your own topics — as long as they are current, relevant news topics. Your articles will be inspired by a story or event that appears in USA TODAY (either print or electronic). Most stories will be written from one of the following angles:
- Why XX topic matters (or should matter) to college students
- XX topic from the perspective of a college student
- XX topic inspires an original article with a local angle, but national implications
- XX topic occurred in one geographic location, but there is national interest
What do I need to do to apply?
When the application opens, you will need to submit the following pieces of information:
- A resume
- A cover letter
- Two writing samples.
- NEW! Optional letter of recommendation
- NEW! Optional multimedia sample
Who should I address my cover letter to?
Please address your cover letter to McKenna Grant, USA TODAY College editor.
Where will my articles be published?
All articles will appear on the USA TODAY College website (usatodaycollege.com).
Additionally, USA TODAY College staff will pass along exceptional articles to the USA TODAY editorial staff for consideration on USATODAY.com and in the print edition of USA TODAY.
How long will I be a correspondent for USA TODAY College?
If chosen, you will be a correspondent for one semester. For the spring term, the writing period is January 13 through May 9.
Do I have to be an undergraduate?
Yes, you must be enrolled as an undergraduate student (either at a four-year college or community college) during your time as a correspondent. However, we do have opportunities for other writers. Sign up here to be included on our general call for pitches. This call generally goes out every five to six weeks.
I am studying abroad – can I still apply?
Yes. As long as you are pursuing an undergraduate degree at a North American-based school, you are welcome to apply. However, we do require that you submit one article a week for 16 weeks. As long as you feel you can maintain that workload, you are more than welcome to apply.
Do I have to be a journalism major to apply?
No. We welcome students pursuing any major to apply.
I do not have any published pieces of writing — can I still apply?
Yes. As long as you can provide samples of your writing, you can still apply.
Am I expected to relocate to participate in the program?
No. The program is designed so that you can participate while taking your normal course load on your campus.
Will this opportunity be available in the future?
Yes! We will have fall, spring and summer versions of this program.
I’ve applied – now what?
The USA TODAY College staff will begin reviewing all of the applications, writing samples, cover letters and resumes.
After this, you will be notified via email if you are selected to move on to round two of the application process. Writers selected to move on to round two will be notified December 6.
During round two, all writers will be given 48 hours to write an article for USA TODAY College. This will demonstrate that potential correspondents have the ability to pull from current events and write on a deadline.
After the deadline of round two, USA TODAY editorial staff will make final selections for the spring 2014 USA TODAY Collegiate Correspondent Program.
The writers selected to participate in the spring program will be notified on or before December 16.
How will I be compensated for my participation in this program?
Once selected, all correspondents will receive a subscription to the electronic edition of USA TODAY for the duration of the program.
Throughout the course of the program, USA TODAY will host several webinars with USA TODAY editorial staff members to provide guidance and writing support.
Exceptional articles will be provided to the USA TODAY editorial staff for possible inclusion in the print edition of USA TODAY and on USATODAY.com
Upon the successful completion of the program, each correspondent will receive $350.
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