The beginning of a new school year is prime time to try new things, get involved in extracurricular activities and establish a routine. This time of year, you aren’t yet fatigued by classes and have energy for the semester ahead. If you haven’t already, I challenge you to become a PRSSA member by joining an established Chapter at your college or university, becoming an affiliate member or, if you’re feeling really ambitious, chartering a new Chapter. Here are seven reasons why:
1. You are instantly connected to a network of peers who could become your colleagues after graduation.
PRSSA has grown to include more than 11,000 student members at over 300 Chapters across the United States, Argentina, Colombia and Peru. Your network can expand far beyond your own university, Chapter, city and country if you take advantage of opportunities like our national and regional events. Why is connecting with your peers now so important? Because you could be working alongside them someday.
2. You will be joining the foremost organization of pre-professionals interested in public relations and communications.
PRSSA is not a club. It is the premier national student organization for students interested in careers in the public relations and communications fields. It offers professional and personal development beyond the classroom and the practical experience employers are looking for. We promote and follow the PRSA Code of Ethics, initiate programming that advances diversity in the profession and care deeply about mentorship at all levels.
3. It will help you launch your career in public relations.
As a dues-paying member, you have exclusive access to the PRSA Job Center, the PRSSA Internship Center, career resources and manuals and a broad network of industry professionals. We are more than events and meetings — we are here to help you get the internship before graduation and get the job after graduation. We’ll help you write a great cover letter, design a beautiful resume, provide interview tips and build your personal brand. We want you to discover the variety of career paths public relations has to offer and find what you’re most passionate about.
4. It will enhance your educational experience, no matter where you are in your college journey.
PRSSA is a complement to your education and we help to create and support the standards that define a great public relations degree. We also offer the Certificate in Principles of Public Relations program that can help set you apart from hundreds of other recent graduates in the job search, as well as regular webinars and other educational resources.
5. It will provide you the opportunity to travel the country.
Most of the major cities I have visited have been for PRSSA events. I have had the pleasure of attending three National Conferences (Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Atlanta), two National Assemblies (Portland, Austin), three Regional Conferences (Chicago, Detroit, Waynesburg) and two Leadership Rallies (Scottsdale). Though traveling to these national and regional events can seem daunting financially, most universities are immensely supportive of the professional development they offer students and are willing to help provide funds for these events. And even if you have to save to pay your own way, I promise you it’s worth it. These events include workshops and sessions run by high-profile professionals, networking opportunities and the chance to explore a new city you may have never considered visiting before.
6. You can beef up your resume.
If I still haven’t convinced you to join PRSSA, I’d like to point out a few other resume building benefits. PRSSA has two national publications — the blog, Progressions, and the newspaper, FORUM. As a member, you are able to pitch stories, write stories, get published nationally and come away with a great portfolio addition. You can also gain leadership experience by becoming a Chapter officer or even running for National Committee positions. And finally, you are eligible to apply for scholarships and Chapter awards. All of these benefits will help beef up your resume before you start applying for that dream job.
7. Because I’m not the only one who thinks PRSSA is an impactful student organization — and it’s not just for public relations majors.
If you are on the fence about joining PRSSA, I dare you to jump over it. The best part is, you don’t have to be a public relations student to join — PRSSA welcomes students from any discipline to become members, take advantage of the professional development opportunities and be a successful and productive professionals in the future.
I’m not the only one who thinks this organization is something special. Miranda Hassen, a PRSSA alumna and recent graduate, gave her reasons for joining PRSSA in her own blog and industry veteran Ron Culp encouraged students to join as well on his nationally recognized blog. So the only question I have for you now is, what are you waiting for?
Emma Finkbeiner is the PRSSA 2016–2017 National President. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in public relations and advertising at DePaul University in Chicago. She works for the DePaul Office of Community and Government Relations and SIX 4 Creative. When she isn’t working or commuting on the red line, she is often walking her pit bull puppy Addison or watching the Chicago Cubs.