Newhouse Insider: This Goes out to the Underdog

This is the story of finding out I was accepted into the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

Kaitlyn Tambasco


Just by hearing the name once, I get chills.

The Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University is one of the most prestigious communication schools in the country. It is a school that receives hundreds of applicants each year, and only accepts a couple hundred for their master’s programs.

Back in high school, I remember hearing that a friend of mine looked at Newhouse for undergraduate work, but I don’t think she ended up applying. That was the first time I heard that name, and since then, it’s sat with me.

Even though I ended up not applying to SU for my undergraduate, I decided to give them a chance for my graduate work. However, it was a last minute decision. It wasn’t until one day in one of my communications classes, I heard “Newhouse,” again. That sparked something in me and on that day, I decided to go on their website to get more information. Wow. I was absolutely amazed. However, I was a little bit frightened. I noticed that more than half of the students that apply there are rejected and that some programs have as few as five or six students. After seeing that, I knew I wasn’t going to get in, but in a way, still wanted to see what the school was all about.

A month later, I found myself on Syracuse University’s campus. I was absolutely amazed. We got to meet all of the program directors that day and some of the current students. I noticed that a common theme among the students, was this thing called “boot camp.” Now I have a lot of respect for our military, but after watching “Cadet Kelly” at a young age, I was a little bit afraid. The boot camp program was obviously nothing like it is in the military, but from what the students said, it is very intense. They said that it is basically an extended orientation where students just jump right in. After hearing that, however, one of the things I thought of after visiting was “am I good enough?” I thought about how I tend to be overlooked and am someone that kind of just fades into the background. That’s when I really thought about not applying again. I had it in my head that I wasn’t going to get accepted. However, when senior year finally came along, I decided to take a chance and apply. I had applied to both the Public Relations program and the Magazine, News and Online Journalism program. I had met faculty from both programs, and after that, knew that I was going to study one or the other. After sending in my first application, I shook. I had done it. I had taken a chance on a very prestigious program. Once all of the recommendation letters were in and the two interviews were complete, the waiting process began.

I would check my email just about everyday. I had also emailed Professor Chessher, the chair of the MNO program, to let her know that I had applied. She emailed me back telling me she remembered me well from the open house, and that she looks forward to reviewing my application.

On the morning of Jan. 24, Newhouse had emailed me an infographic that best described their current graduate students. I looked at the infographic and quickly realized that both the PR program and the MNO program had 26 students. That was it. That was about the size of a normal class at Utica College. I was really nervous at that point and then found myself in this “overthinking” mode.

Well, at exactly 2:29 p.m. on that same day, I had received an email from Newhouse. I did not even read the entire email at first and just saw “Congratulations!” I blacked out quite honestly and slammed my computer down. I then stood up and got myself back together. I then looked on my phone to make sure I saw what I saw. Sure enough, there were two emails there. The emails were both accepting me into the PR program and the MNO program. That was when I ran right into my suitemate’s room to let her and my roommate know that I was accepted into Syracuse. According to them, they didn’t understand me at first because I was so excited. The tears that were streaming down my face, were in fact happy tears. I had worked so hard to get in there, and despite my own self-doubt, I showed myself I am worthy. That night, my suitemates and I went out to celebrate, as they knew I had wanted this for a long time.

I just kept going, and surely enough, I accomplished a big dream of mine. I was accepted into the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.