An Open Letter to a Prospective Student of PR

Dear possible student,

While deciding on what I was going to study PR barely took my notice. I always believed that I would do history or politics of a combination of both. They were my favourite subjects in school and I automatically went for them when attending any university fairs and prospectuses in lower and upper sixth. I had grand thoughts of becoming a political aid and have access to some of our countries best political minds. I wanted to be the C.J Cregg from ‘The West Wing’ for Northern Ireland. Then I remembered I lived in Northern Ireland and that thought is a bit far fetch.

But the idea of communications then stuck and I moved onto how to work in this world of press briefings and facilities. What I didn’t know was the breath of skill I was going to acquire while doing my degree. To be honest I didn’t know any of the skills I was going to gain from doing PR.

PR encompasses so many faucets and you need to be quick to adapt to these skills as they are throwing at you fast. In the past four years I have honed my writing skills, learnt many new ways of writing from press releases to speech writing. I have finally figured out how to use a camera, my blurry photos in the past are no more. I’ve learnt how to strategies and what makes a good campaign. How the best of the best have done it and why they are called the best of the best. I even now can read body language, a skill I never thought I would ever want to know or need but I grew to enjoy reading people before they even speak.

Then comes placement year, which I truly believe is one of the best experiences any one studying in this industry should try as the difference of between learning about public relations\communications and actually putting this into practice is vast. Placement teaches you to think on your feet, be exposed to real time practitioners, campaigns, issues and life is thrilling and gives you a real sense of purpose in this chosen field we area all in.

Public Relations is all about the promotion of a product, service or person. But let me promote PR for a minute. It is a specialist field that requires dedication, creativity, solid relationships and knowing your audience well enough that you are able to communicate to them in a very specific manner. Public Relations is all around us. It is required in everything we do. The most powerful person in any country tends to be the person running it, the Prime Minster, Monarch, President etc. Every single one of these will have a dedicate circle who guides and advises them and one of the key advisers will be the head of communications as they are in charge of message. This is public relations in work.

I hope you chose Public Relations as not only is it a brilliant learning experience, its fun and the opportunities are endless.

All the best.



Rosa O’Farrell is a final year BSc student in Public Relations. Rosa can be found on LinkedIn at or on Twitter: @rosaofarrell