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Feb 27 / Advanced Programs Team

Advice from successful APSM candidates on how to pass B/R’s educational program’s application

Bleacher Report’s paid Advanced Program in Sports Media offers participants an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of digital sportswriting, boost their 21st-century sports reporting skills and test their knowledge while covering stories they care about.

But admissions standards are very high. A vast majority of those who apply don’t get in. So we decided to ask graduates of the program for their advice about the best approach to the application process.

From personal blogs to nationwide columns and everything in between, ideal APSM candidates already have publishing experience and have done their due diligence by shoring up the most objective parts of their writing. They bring more to the table than a garden-variety interest in sports and a talent for writing. Good storytelling requires conflict, so the ability to identify tension and translate it into an interesting narrative is crucial. Additionally, applicants must have a strong grasp on the fundamentals of journalism, such as attention-capturing ledes, accurate attribution and thorough proofreading.

But all of that is merely the foundation from which successful APSM candidates build their content.

To that foundation, strong candidates add a mix of analytical prowess, voice, visual storytelling and novel perspective. Since writing is such a subjective medium, the right mix varies from writer to writer. The common thread is a polished finished product that stands apart from the crowd, but there is no perfect recipe that will guarantee success.

Here are some of the most common responses we got when we asked graduates for their advice:

  • Check your ego at the door and treat the application as your only chance to make a good impression
  • Be professional
  • Study the B/R Stylebook, Writer Tutorial, Content Standards and Playbook: The Basics of Writing for Bleacher Report prior to submitting your writing sample
  • Read some B/R content to get an idea of what is considered feature-worthy
  • Leverage social media to make sure your information is up-to-date and double check it to ensure accuracy
  • Don’t be afraid to show some personality in your writing or to make bold statements
  • Emphasize your strengths, but be enthusiastic and willing to learn

Ultimately, the right approach will depend on the individual. What works for some won’t work for others, but by using this advice as a rough blueprint, applicants will be able to make their best case. If you’re interested in the program and decide to apply, we hope this helps. Good luck!