Students go through a rigorous placement process in the quarter before they’re scheduled to do their residencies. They attend a mandatory information session during the second week of the quarter that walks them through the JR program and placement process and also presents JR veterans.
At the session students receive a detailed, descriptive list of JR sites available the following quarter. To assist them in identifying their top choices, students also have a chance to examine reports filed by students who have done their residencies at these sites.
After doing their research, students submit an application with the JR coordinator. Among other things on the application, students describe what they hope to gain from their JR experiences; and they identify their top six site choices, explaining why they believe that these sites are particularly well-suited to them.
Students meet with the JR coordinator between the fifth and seventh weeks of the quarter in one-on-one appointments to discuss these choices. Students should not become fixated on a particular site, as there are typically a number of sites where they could derive similar benefits and skill development.
The JR coordinator assigns and posts a placement for each student in the eighth week of the quarter. The placements take into account a number of factors, including students’ training, internships and campus journalism and communications-related experiences. Placements are also based on students' specialized interests, career goals and grades as well as insights from Medill faculty.
Students will not be placed at sites that they haven’t indicated in their application or discussed with the JR coordinator. Sites not already vetted by the JR program may be considered, but students should discuss such alternatives with the JR coordinator before the placement quarter begins. Only sites that meet Medill’s requirements for JR (providing a substantive editorial experience, good mentoring, etc.) will be added to the program.
While students may not get their top site choice, they are assured an assignment that will allow them to develop their skills and grow professionally. Students should consider their skill level, experience and the demands of the sites when making their selections. They can schedule a meeting with the JR coordinator before turning in their applications, if necessary, to discuss suitable selections.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION: WHAT DO I DO ABOUT HOUSING?
Students will be required to secure their own housing accommodations while on JR, but the JR team provides guidance and information for finding housing. Many students use craigslist.com, but other sources include site supervisors, students who have been to the same JR site, local university housing postings and student housing services.
Students should make sure that the housing arrangements they make at Northwestern for the year that they will go on JR allow flexibility so they are not bound to leases and housing contracts for the quarter in which they are on JR.
NU dormitories allow students to leave without penalty during their JR quarter, although they are not guaranteed space in the same dormitory when they return. Students in sororities and fraternities should check with their houses for policies on leaving for a quarter, as these rules vary. Students who live in off-campus apartments should try to sublet during the quarter they are on JR.