#Collegemedia17 is finally here!

We’re getting excited — the ACP/CMA National College Media Convention is Oct. 25-29 in Dallas. We bet you’re excited too, but there’s still a lot to prepare for. What is it like? Who will be there? And how can you make the most of it?

Here’s how you can make your five days in Dallas really worthwhile.

The basics

The convention is held at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. That’ll be the hub of our events, so that’s where you’ll find the workshops, keynote addresses, awards shows, on-site critiques and more.

The hotel is conveniently close to the DART system, and you’re free to travel and explore when sessions end for the day. Here are 11 things you can do in the city.

What to expect

First off, there will be a lot of people — more than 1,000 students come from across the country to represent their newsrooms. You’ll have a chance to mingle, discuss problems and ideas at roundtable talks, learn at hundreds of sessions on a variety of topics and, of course, listen to our four remarkable keynote speakers.

We’re excited to welcome speakers Dale Hansen, Hugh Aynesworth, Bob Schieffer and Stella M. Chavez. Learn more about them here.

And we know you love research (right?). We’ve compiled a list of 10 things you can read or watch to prep for the convention. (Note: Since we’ve had a change of keynote speakers, a couple of these ideas are out of date — but they’re still worth looking into).

You can also look forward to the CMA Film Festival, sign up for an on-site critique, submit your work for the ACP Best of Show competition and more. And if you have any questions, our front-desk staff will be happy to help.

How to make the most of it

  1. Articulate your goals: Try to pinpoint exactly what you want to learn and write down your goals. One study found that people who regularly wrote down their goals were 42 percent more likely to achieve them. It certainly can’t hurt. Talk about these goals with your team, and check in each day to see what each of you learned, how you can apply it to your organization and what questions you still have.
  2. Take notes: You’re going to get a ton of information at this convention — probably more than you can remember. Improve your chances of retaining all the tips you learn by bringing a notebook and pen and simply writing them down. (Plus, this is a great place to write down your goals and review them before sessions start.) Write down how things can apply to you as you think of them. Jot down ideas and questions as they come to you. Use the notebook as inspiration throughout the school year, when you feel stressed or stuck. You might remember something brilliant you learned at the convention.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help: Conventions can be intimidating, but the entire point of them is to help newsroom thrive. Get what you need — sign up for a critique, introduce yourself to workshop speakers and take advantage of every opportunity at the convention.
  4. Branch out: It’s easy to stick with your close-knit group of friends from the newsroom, but we can’t stress enough how important it is to spark conversations and connections with other student journalists. Chat with your peers during session breaks, or grab lunch with a new group. Vent about your frustrations, work to find solutions to common problems and pick their brains — some newsrooms do things totally differently, and another student might have the answer to the problem you’ve been facing. All you have to do is ask.

So get excited to learn, meet some of the brightest students in college media and, of course, have fun in Dallas!