Admission Essay

October 20, 2011
April D. Norris
Entrance Essay
UNCG Masters of Liberal Arts
(Download as PDF)

Please accept my application for acceptance into the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies and Graduate Certificate in Global Studies at UNC-Greensboro. After reviewing many distance and continuing graduate level programs offered by the UNC School System, I’ve determined that the UNCG MALS Distance Education program matches my goals for enhancing my professional career. In addition, the program outlined is ideally suited to my personal learning interests. I have always been fascinated by the literary, historical, and philosophical perspectives to the understanding of one’s place and role in the universe. Enhancing my creative thinking skills is also a primary goal, and I believe that the UNCG Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies program will provide me with a heightened level of thinking, working, and living.

My organization represents over 200 newspapers in North Carolina with a goal to protect First Amendment freedoms, further journalistic endeavors, promote literacy and finally to further the business interests of newspapers in North Carolina. As one might imagine, lobbying for the newspaper industry involves a great deal of personal and political savvy. I am confident that the UNCG Masters of Liberal Arts program will heighten my critical-thinking and problem-solving skills while also augmenting my interpersonal communication skills. My goal is to collaborate and communicate effectively with individuals at all levels from publishers to legislators all while fostering cooperation among diverse organizations to further my company’s end goals. Of course, in addition to being an ombudsman, I also am charged with generating revenue with advertising."MARKETING" Sketch Notes (advertising strategy online business)

Advertising and Marketing in the non-profit industry has many layers of complexity. I’ve been in the marketing industry for over 12 years, but have just recently moved into this area within the non-profit sector. One of the most important tools for success is creativity and understanding the end client. Days are spent grappling with questions about how to help my clients figure out find their target market, and how to reach that target market effectively and efficiently. When I was researching graduate programs, I learned that the study of liberal arts can enhance ones knowledge and level of understanding about the world around them. I believe that people form their views in life about what to buy, where to buy them, how to buy and how often to buy are formed from thousands of influences. How does watching a specific TV program inform their buying decision, or perhaps their political leanings: does that impact how and advertisement or message will come across? Earlier this year a perfect example of creativity and connecting to your target audience through a life influence came to light. The “The Power of the Force meets the Passat” TV ad that featured a pint sized Darth Vader using “The Force” tugged at the hearts of those that grew up watching Star Wars. Volkswagen was targeting Generation X; tapping into a shared Generation X memory was creative genius, and nearly 2 million YouTube hits in a day says they got it right.

In addition to furthering my career goals, the Masters of Liberal Arts program also interest me on many personal levels. The study of literature, history and art has always been my most favored pastimes’. Early in high school many I became captivated with “Romeo & Juliet”, much like today’s teenagers are rabid “Twilight” fans, I have always been spellbound by William Shakespeare’s work. Of course, Mr. Shakespeare was only the beginning of my passion for literature, and then came Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and many more that occupied most of my spare time for years to come. Fast forward to my mid and late twenties, I had the incredible luck and opportunity to travel Europe on several occasions to visit the author’s hometowns and in Shakespeare’s and Dickens’ case the very homes they lived in! It was exhilarating for me to become part of their world for a small moment in time.

Shakespeare's birthplace, Stratford Upon Avon. April Norris personal image file.

Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford Upon Avon. April Norris personal image file.

In addition to having the opportunity to visit my literary idols important locations, I also trekked to many historic places that have always interested me. I spent many weeks in Rome, Edinburgh, London and other small European villages soaking in their history, culture, and food. I’ll never forget my time in Italy specifically as their culture is so, unlike America, and the Italians were very open about discussing American politics! Cultural awareness is an important skill not only in life but also in my career, and I look forward to learning more about UNCG’s Certificate in Global Studies program. Today more than ever, organizations have to think on a global level. Thanks to the Internet and the many communication channels it provides, if your brand or company is visible online then most likely someone in a foreign market can see it. I feel it is important for organizations to understand how they resonate in a global market.

When I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Business of Administration from North Carolina Wesleyan College, I was also working full time during the day. Going to school and learning at night, enabled me to implement lessons during the work day, and it proved highly beneficial. I believe I am uniquely qualified for UNCG’s distance and continuing education program as that is how I have always learned. I earned a 3.56 GPA while working full time, and I truly believe that my ability to pragmatically apply everything I learned helped me go above average.

After reviewing the programs offered in UNCG’s Masters of Liberal Arts program, and comparing to my professional and personal endeavors, I believe the program is a perfect match for my learning style and goals. I have many years of professional and personal experiences that are relatable in much of the program, and I look forward to learning more and enhancing both my analytical and creative thinking skills. I look forward to learning and sharing with others my experiences, as well.

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