Column Submission Guidelines
Thank you for your interest in writing a guest column for our magazine, which reaches senior-level administrators at two- and four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. Our coverage focuses on leadership and operations. This document will help you write a column that meets our editorial guidelines. Before you write, please contact Senior Managing Editor Melissa Ezarik to discuss your topic. Melissa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Your column should have a strong point, something our readers will want to discuss and share. This point, or thesis, should be clearly established at or near the top of the article. The topic must be of interest to a national audience.
- Your column should be topical, meaning it must address the question, “Why is it important that I read this now?” And it must be sharply focused, meaning depth is better than breadth.
- Examples of recent accepted columns can be found here.
- Provide enough background information to ensure that readers understand the context and relevance of your topic.
- Do not dwell on “the problem;” our readers are already familiar with the problems facing higher education. Instead, focus on solutions, with lots of details and strong use of examples. A good guideline is to devote no more than 25% of your article to describing the problem, with the rest of the piece addressing ideas for overcoming the challenges.
- Back up your thesis with research, examples, evidence and, where appropriate, quotes from authoritative sources. But remember that we are a magazine, not an academic journal.
- If your point is controversial, be sure to recognize and refute the most obvious objections.
- Keep in mind that our readers are looking for “news to use.” Include specific suggestions that they can implement, and possibly resources for additional information.
- Write in a friendly, conversational voice. Avoid cliches, jargon, academic language and acronyms. (And no footnotes!)
- Re-read your article to ensure that it is well-organized and persuasive.
General guidelines for all contributors
- We do not pay for guest columns.
- If accepted, your column may run in our print magazine, in our e-letters, or both. They will also appear on our website either way.
- We cannot guarantee a specific publication date.
- If we have questions or suggestions about the content of your article, we will ask you to make appropriate revisions.
- If your column is accepted for publication, we reserve the right to edit it for clarity or length. If time permits, we will send it back to you for final review. However, in some cases our publishing deadlines may preclude us from sending you the edited version for review and approval.
Additional notes for industry thought leaders interested in contributing
- Columns that directly or indirectly promote or endorse a product or company, either by name or inference—or that present a “case study” about the implementation of a product or service—will not be accepted. References to specific products or services, or general references to “our offerings,” should not be included in the manuscript and will either be edited out or result in our not publishing the column.
- Industry leader submissions should take a stance on a particular education issue or topic. While they may be informative and we welcome actionable advice, that advice should in no way relate to actions that colleges need an industry partner or product to execute. To that end, opinion pieces work much better than how-to pieces.
- Pitches and submissions from advertisers do not have an advantage over pitches and submissions from non-advertisers. Our editors reserve the right to reject any suggested idea or submitted manuscript. In addition, although we try to publish accepted manuscripts in a timely manner, the exact timing of publication (and whether the piece runs online and/or in print) is an editorial decision.
- Although we may choose to share an edited manuscript with the industry leader who submitted it pre-publication, our editors reserve the right to edit as we see fit and are under no obligation to allow edited manuscripts to be viewed. If a manuscript is shared with the writer, suggested edits may or may not be incorporated.
- For full control over messaging and timing of publication, please contact our custom media department to discuss paid content opportunities.
What to send us
- Article length: 650-750 words. We sometimes accept longer pieces, but note that any piece longer than 750 words is unlikely to be selected for print magazine publication.
- Headline: 8-12 words
- Subhead/Deck: Generally a full sentence.
- Bio: 1-2 short sentences. You may include your email address if desired.
- Photo: High-resolution headshot. (Photo file size should be greater than 1 MB and cropped to a square size; note it will run as a thumbnail size so it should be a close-up shot.) If possible and relevant, please also send a horizontal image of your campus, ideally something related to the program or showing students.
- Full contact information: Name, title, phone number, email address.