April 2003
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Big Difference, Small Wonder: University of Kings College
By: Erin Penney, SNN Editor, Grade 12, St. Mark's School, Kings Cove, NL

Nestled in the bustling campus of Dalhousie University, in Halifax, is one of Canada’s best little educational gems. Yes, the University of King’s College may be small, but through my research, I’ve learned that this only adds to it’s quality, and undeniable charm.

This institution, founded in 1789, offers a four year Bachelor of Journalism (Honours) degree for students directly after high school. Also, it offers a one year Bachelor of Journalism degree for student already holding a university degree.

What I really found intriguing about King’s, was the distinct “Foundation Year Program”, which BJH students are required to complete. Essentially, the foundation year program is an intensive course for first year students, which integrates studies in English literature, history, philosophy and sociology, and satisfies first year credits.

While researching, I took advantage of the opportunity to interview Elizabeth Hanton, journalist, and graduate of the one year Bachelor of Journalism program at King’s. She believes what sets King’s apart from other journalism programs is “it’s unwavering emphasis on writing skills as a foundation of good journalism. At King’s, I learned to write clearly and appreciate the beauty of a simple unambiguous sentence.... I learned to use words to tell stories, to try to make readers see what I saw and feel what I had felt.”

Upon visiting the school’s web page, you’ll be struck by the beautiful campus filled with historic stone buildings, reminiscent of a New England Ivy League school. It’s no mistake; King’s certainly has it’s own character, despite being closely affiliated with much larger Dalhousie. Hanton explains that “it’s small size makes it even easier to meet people and to get to know them well. King’s definitely has it’s own distinct personality.” Still, students at King’s have all the benefits of the sister campus of Dalhousie. King’s students are able to take courses at Dalhousie (which count as credit toward graduation from King’s), as well as have access to it’s libraries, student societies and recreational facilities.

When it all comes down to it, what’s the best thing about King’s? Well, the answer to that question will, without a doubt, vary from student to student. But, when I asked Hanton, she answered that it was “the sense I had of having finally found my niche. I spent a year surrounded by other "word geeks". I discovered that yes, there were indeed others who looked at the Reader's Digest strictly for the It Pays To Increase Your Word Power feature, who were crushed when they couldn't finish the Globe and Mail's cryptic crossword, who knew the names of the Dionne quintuplets. Academically, I loved learning to write headlines in Gene Meese's copy-editing class. (That's also where I learned that no sentence is so good that it can't be improved.) I loved studying magazine writing with Stephen Kimber, learning what it takes to sustain a reader's interest through a long story.”

I’m willing to bet that other alumni of King’s would talk as fondly as Hanton does of their alma mater. From the insight she gave me, I’ve been inspired to book a campus visit during my family’s vacation this summer. For all high school students searching for the right journalism school, I encourage you to check out King’s. Academic excellence, beautiful campus, unbeatable student life; all right here at home in Atlantic Canada!

Check out the University of King's College website at www.unkings.ns.ca


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