Student Run Agencies: Much More Than Your Average PR Class

Written By: Taylor Burbank

With graduation ahead for many Central Communication Agency (CCA) members, one particular issue seems to be a roadblock in the post-college job search: How does experience in a student-run agency, like our own, fit in on the resume?

Is it technically a class? Or can it be counted as PR experience? Where is the line drawn?

I cannot speak for any other agencies, but I can tell you the experiences gained from CCA are not like anything gained from the average PR class. Here’s why:

The Leadership Opportunities

CCA isn’t a class lectured by a professor. The majority of class is spent in student led teams, working on client material. The Account Executive (AE) team has direct contact with clients, are responsible for all material leaving CCA, and providing projects for his or her team. Nothing about CCA is routine, and the AEs are responsible for that.

Community Impact

Many classes provide hypothetical situations for students to work through. CCA, on the other hand, continues to leave its mark in the community. Students are seeing the impact of their work with real clients, and because of that, are striving to provide exceptional service. CCA currently manages 11 clients, 10 in the surrounding community and one nationally, and each team can speak on behalf of their community impact.

The Consulting Skills

Any interaction with real clients will involve consulting. You must consult with your client to determine needs, and strategies to fulfill these needs. This skill is one only brushed upon in the average PR classroom. AEs are able to adjust their campaigns to the clients needs at any point in the process. The power to do so, and to do so efficiently is a great skill.

Overall, experience in a student-run firm is as close to PR experience as you can get in college. The amount of skills gained and opportunities explored are endless. Without a doubt, any student-run agency experience should not be treated as “just another class.”

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