A common misconception in the aspiring broadcaster’s search for some of the best broadcasting schools is that studying broadcasting in big markets is the only way to gain the experience and contacts needed to succeed. Massive metropolises like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago thus become the main focus for prospective broadcasting students to hunt down their dream school.
However, don’t make the mistake of limiting yourself to large cities. Of course great opportunities can be found in large cities, but limiting your search to studying broadcasting in big markets could limit you in a few ways: first, it can shut you off to excellent programs in smaller towns, and second, if the small-town college experience appeals to you, the above limitation can prevent you from considering a school that would make you happy. So what exactly are some pros and cons of studying broadcasting in small markets versus heading to big cities? Let’s take a look.
One widespread misconception is that big-city schools are the only ones that will have the resources to equip their broadcasting programs with the up-to-date technology and experienced professors necessary for a good broadcasting education. However, this isn’t always true. Plenty of colleges and universities in small-town or even rural settings are prestigious enough to attract quality faculty and draw in the money to pay for high-tech equipment.
Granted, studying broadcasting in big markets offers the advantage of countless local television and radio stations that provide the opportunity to gain real-world experience through internships. But even the smallest of towns are likely to have a local station or two, and the competition for internships will be less fierce than in big cities. Also, keep in mind that any school with a quality student radio and television station can provide all the hands-on experience you need in broadcasting, regardless of the size of the city.
A key benefit of studying broadcast at a large school in a major city is that given the sheer number of fellow broadcasting students and professionals in a large city, they are better places to network and set oneself up for a career. While the number of networking opportunities is certainly greater, that isn’t to say they will be more meaningful than the connections made in a smaller-town setting.
Studying in a large city can have advantages- just the same as studying in a small town. Make sure to evaluate more than the population of an area before you make your decision. Check out the school’s broadcasting program, local internship and employment options as well as how you feel about the campus environment- each of these items combined will give you a better understanding of which school, big or small, is best for you.