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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

When I started my college career as a freshman at Grand Valley State University, I was asked to select a major. As most of us come to find out, selecting a major can prove to be a challenge. I was a fresh-out-of-high-school, 18-year-old female with no idea what she wanted to do with her life. I had taken a marketing class in high school and really enjoyed it, so I at least knew I wanted to choose a major related to business – or something of that kind. That’s why when I filled out an online form for Grand Valley that stated, ‘select your major from the dropdown,’ I selected Advertising and Public Relations.

What is Public Relations?

Public Relations, as defined by Google, is “the professional maintenance of a favorable public image by a company or other organization or a famous person.” I’ll be the first to admit, when I selected PR, I had no clue what it entailed. It wasn’t until I transferred to Illinois State University during my sophomore year that I started to grasp the field that is Public Relations. I had been enrolled in COM 178: Intro to PR, and I instantly fell in love with the course – and the major. My professor did an outstanding job explaining the field and all of its opportunities. Not only did I learn that the major consisted of ‘professional maintenance’ for a company, but also:

  • Campaign Building
  • Social Media Management (content, engagement, analytics)
  • Press Releases, PAS’s, Blog Posts, Pitches
  • Brand Reputation and Management
  • Media Relations
  • Crisis Communication

and so much more … A simple 18-20 word definition could never sum up everything that public relations is and everything it has to offer. I’m sure I’ll be learning new PR functions and tactics for the rest of my career in the field, and I could not be more excited.

What I’ve Gained as a PR Major

I am now a senior at Illinois State, and I have gained a vast amount of knowledge and experience in the field of Public Relations. I have taken courses on media relations, internal public relations, public relations writing, public relations research and most recently public relations campaigns. I have had the amazing opportunity to work with the best professors in the School of Communications – all of which offer their help, guidance and expertise. I have also had the opportunity to intern at Burning Soul Collective, an online publishing firm. While interning there, I have been able to put my PR knowledge into action!

Why Study Public Relations?

Public Relations is a growing field. There will always be new vehicles to connect with publics and new strategies on how to do so. In the digital age we are now living in, Public Relations could not be more important. So, if you’re like me and have a strong passion for social media, writing, problem-solving, using your creativity and most importantly – connecting with others – then PR may be just for you.

Elise Fricilone

Illinois State '23

Hi everyone! My name is Elise, and I am a senior at Illinois State! I am majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Sociology. I have a huge passion for not only writing, but also reading! You can find me with my nose under a book almost everyday. I also have a huge love for all things fashion, cosmetics, health and lifestyle – so you can find those topics in my articles! Feel free to follow my instagram: elisefricilone