1406-09 182 1406-09 Communications Comms Classes Empty Classrooms in the BRMB Brimhall Building Teachers, Professors, Students, Labs, Offices June 9, 2014 Photo by Meagan Larsen


EVERY student admitted to the Advertising program beginning Fall 2016 will be required to take one advertising class during a spring term.  If you are accepted into the advertising program during the Fall 2016 application period, you will be REQUIRED to take the senior strategic research class, Comms 417, during Spring 2018.  If you are accepted in the advertising program during the Winter 2017 application period, you will be  REQUIRED to take Comms 309, the first strategic research/account planning class, during Spring 2017.

In addition to meeting the School of Communications’ application requirements, each student must complete the steps listed below in order to apply to the Advertising program in the Communications major. When you are ready to apply, click the “Click here to apply online” button at the bottom of the page and you will be directed to the online application site.

Applications to the Advertising sequence are weighted as follows:

101 Grade 5%
230 Grade 20%
Entrance Exam 10%
Portfolio 30%
Video 35%

1. Take the Advertising entrance exam.

You must take an exam covering the major ideas, theories, terminology, concepts, and information in advertising. Specifically the exam will determine if you are prepared with the basic knowledge and understanding of advertising to move into the upper level advertising courses. The information on the exam will have been covered in your Comms 230 class.

The test is available in the testing center and there is a small fee to take the exam.  Check with the testing center, as fee amounts vary. You will need to ask the Testing Center for the COMMS 000 exam. The test consists of 80 multiple choice and true/false questions.

You may take the exam one time and only one time – so study in advance. However, if you apply a second time, you may take the exam once more with that second application.

The advertising faculty will get these scores directly from the testing center, so you do not need to include your score anywhere in your application.

Click here for the exam study guide

2. Complete a 7- page student portfolio as follows:

Each student will upload a 7-page portfolio (ONLY 7 PAGES) that will include personal information and examples from your advertising campaign experience in Comms 230. You are encouraged to use as much creativity as you can in the writing and design of this portfolio – remembering that the purpose of this requirement is to introduce yourself to the faculty and show them the work you were responsible for in your COMMS 230 class. You must submit an electronic version of your portfolio. Your electronic version must be saved as a PDF, compressed to 10 MB or less, and uploaded with your online application.  The upload must be complete before the application deadline, so allow yourself plenty of time to accomplish this.  You do not need to submit a hard copy of your portfolio.  The portfolio must consist of the following 7 pages:

  • Page 1 – Cover page – with your name and your Comms 230 teacher’s name.
  • Page 2 – Your picture and response to the following scenario: Tell a true childhood story that expresses something unique about you. It should have a beginning, middle and end. Then summarize how this story shows promise about your future in advertising. Use humor in your story and wit in your summary. Call it your Personal Manifesto. (Use 1-150 words).
  • Page 3 – Your resume and a statement answering the question – What will you tell your teenager someday when he/she asks you why you majored in advertising? (100 word max.)
  • Page 4 – Describe your COMMS 230 project – Include the following: Who was your target market? What was your strategy statement? What was your role on the project? Provide examples of what you did on the project.
  • Page 5 – Here we want to see the examples of the creative executions from your Comms 230 project.
  • Page 6 – Respond to 4 of the 5 questions/statements below so the faculty can see your writing skills and your creative thinking. Please, please, please remember this an exercise in creative writing (that means don’t be dull and boring or too overly serious).  THERE IS A STRICT 100 WORD LIMIT FOR EACH QUESTION.

Answer/respond to 4 of the following 5 questions:

1) You’ve been hired to write fortunes for fortune cookies.  What’s the first fortune you write?

2) Write a headline for a story about your life.

3) Why do “fat chance” and “slim chance” mean the same thing?

4) We say something is “out of whack.”  What is “whack?”

5) Why is it that doctors call what they do “practice?

Defend your answers.

  • Page 7 – Lucky Page 7 – This is a free-for-all page. You may put anything on this page that you wish. Again, remember the purpose of this portfolio is to introduce yourself to the faculty – to show them your personality – to show them your creativity – to let them know just a little more about you.

REMEMBER: Distillation is extremely important in advertising. Long, wordy, drawn out responses to the above statements/questions can only hurt you in the evaluation of your portfolio. Be concise.

Click here see a sample Advertising Student Portfolio

3. Create a sixty-second video self-portrait advertisement and then upload it as instructed below.

This video assignment is done to ensure that the advertising faculty know who you are, that they know the passion you have for advertising, and so they can see the creativity that is inside you.


The advertising faculty are a diverse group; some are scholars in their field while others are advertising professionals; however, all of them are creative thinkers and they all have the same goal: to make sure the very best students are admitted into the advertising program. They are looking for the most devoted, most capable, and most talented undergraduates who will add luster to their program.

Your Assignment:

Create a sixty-second video portrait. The Library has a multi-media lab that can help you if you haven’t shot and edited video before. Because you will do a lot of video production once you’re in the advertising sequence, this is your chance to be prepared for that eventuality. You will upload your video as part of your online application. You will need to create a digital file of your video in either .mov or .mp4 formats (all of the advertising teachers use Macs). Your video must be under 250 MB. The file MUST be uploaded before the application deadline or your application will not be considered.  You should allow at least an hour for the upload if you need to compress your video, so plan accordingly.

Things to Consider:

1. Show us that you are creative – Don’t tell us you’re creative.
2. Let your personal brand show through.
3. Keep it single-minded. The best commercials communicate one main idea. What is the one thing about you that you want to communicate? One of the biggest problems students have with this video is trying to fit too much information into 60 seconds. Choose one quality or facet about you and make your video about that one thing. We don’t need to see a long laundry list of qualities that you have – choose one that makes you stand out from the rest of the applicants (just as if you were selecting a benefit for a product). Remember – advertisements are not created with multiple benefits and neither should your video.
4. Break through the clutter. How can your portrait stand out? What special talent or ability do you have that will assist you? What do you have to share that is “like no other,” your USP/brand insight/benefit?
5. The advertising faculty see a lot of these videos. In one semester we watch between 60 and 90 of these self-portrait videos. Of those, 80% are the same old thing. So when we see a video portrait that has a strong premise and a fresh perspective, is well designed, thoughtfully executed, and is conceptually conceived with a creative twist, we tend to favor that applicant – A LOT. Videos we’ve seen way too many of • Political ads • Lawyer ads • Telling us about your leadership qualities • Hiking to the Y • Family endorsements • Friend endorsements • Newscasts • Walking to or into the Brimhall Bldg. • Helping a child advertise his/her lemonade stand • A list of adjectives telling us who you are or what your qualities (this is certainly not single focused) • Talking head videos where you retell us your portfolio • Videos about your feet Videos that rarely work: • High “cheese factor” videos. Unless it’s really funny, it’s not funny. Find the sweet spot. • Bad acting kills an application video (unless that’s what you’re going for). • Fashion videos. (Yes, you are pretty/handsome. But, how does that make you right for the program?) • Your spouse/mom/roommate/fiancé telling us about your many virtues. Get the idea???
6. Make it relevant. More important than making it clever or funny is making your message meaningful. How are you going to touch your target emotionally?
7. This is visual medium. Show us—don’t tell us. Remember, we will read your portfolio that tells all about you. This video is your chance to show us something that isn’t in your written application. Does your video reflect the kind of advertising you want to do? Important: YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO GET PROFESSIONAL HELP. You may use other students, however, to assist you.

Please remember that if you are admitted to the major, you make a commitment to remain in the program for a minimum of four semesters.  There are no exceptions to this requirement. Advertising and PR also require you to attend one spring or summer term.

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