Did you know that UCSB offers a minor in professional writing?
I sure didn’t until I took a magazine writing class for fun during my Junior year and my professor told me about it. I always had a passion for writing and saw myself pursuing a career in marketing, design, or anything that involved writing and that allowed me to express myself creatively. So, when I discovered the professional writing minor, I knew I had to apply.
The professional writing minor, as described on its website, “is an opportunity for undergraduates to expand their communication skills through two capstone courses and a writing internship during their senior year. Students considering the minor should think of it as an apprenticeship in the world of professional writing, not simply as a set of courses in which someone will tell you what to do.”
The professional writing minor has different tracks, allowing students to be able to apply to one area of focus. These tracks include:
- Professional Editing (Writing 151 A-B)
- Writing and Civic Engagement (Writing 153A-B)
- Multimedia Communication (Writing 155 A-B)
- Business Communication (Writing 157A-B)
- Science Communication (Writing 159A-B)
- Journalism (Writing 152A-B)
All these tracks will provide you with hands-on learning opportunities and allow you to start building your writing portfolio. So if you have been thinking about adding a minor and have a passion for writing or are interested in pursuing a career in business, media, law, the nonprofit sector, etc., then you should apply. Honestly, this minor sets you up with the skills for a variety of careers. As an added bonus, the minor helps you get an internship that you can take instead of another writing course and it’ll be an automatic pass.
If you’re looking into applying for this minor make sure you’re staying on top of the due date. The application is due during the fall quarter of your senior year and you apply to three tracks: one being your top choice and three being your least desired choice. You find out if you got in and which track right before winter quarter and spend your last two quarters completing three courses, including your internship if you have one.
That being said, you need to make sure that you take the three prerequisites before the application is due—around your Junior year. You also want to make sure that these prerequisites align with your top track. For example, if you want to go into the multimedia track you can take a writing for public relations course or a writing for magazines course. But also don’t stress too much about this as these courses could also apply to the business track or journalism. That’s the great thing about the minor: you learn skills for a variety of disciplines and if you want some guidance you can always visit the advisors.
Now, the actual application is a portfolio of some of the writing work you have done for past classes, organization/clubs, and internships, along with your resume. Make sure to include your best work. It is best that you get involved in extracurriculars early so you can stand out among the other applicants, but you can also use class work. What matters is that you showcase your skills and a passion for writing.
Now although I didn’t get into my first choice, I’m still content with the civic engagement track and have learned so much. I highly recommend this track for those wanting to work for non-profits, in government, or who wish to go to law school. I’m personally still looking at working for a company in marketing whose beliefs align with mine—perhaps a fashion or makeup company that promotes sustainability.
I truly believe that all of these tracks will provide useful learning experiences. I personally learned how to write and create flyers, grant proposals, explainers, emails, a professional online portfolio, and more during my time in this minor. I also learned the importance of deadlines and how to improve my writing and take criticism; all of which have helped me with writing articles for HerCampus and The Women’s Network. So, once more, I encourage all who are interested in the professional writing minor to look into it further and apply!