Join Me at Iowa, High School Seniors
Join me @ Iowa helps undecided majors to choose career paths
Graduating high school seniors and undeclared college majors are faced with an enormous amount of pressure daily to decide their career path.
Unsure of what they want to become, students are making decisions with a certain lack of knowledge. Hoping to improve upon that deficiency is the Join Me @ Iowa campaign. Join Me @ Iowa is a program flier directed at students who have not made up their mind on their focus area.
David Schwartz, a program associate in the J-MC School and director of the Iowa High School Press Association, said the program is for prospective journalism students who are either considering coming to Iowa, or already committed to the university.
“[The potential students] knew they wanted to be in Iowa City, they knew they wanted to be part of the University, but they weren’t quite sure what they wanted to major in yet,” he said.
Schwartz said the initiative is overdue, and the need for a program like this is tremendous. Each year, the Office of Admissions receives information about people who are undecided, and in need of more information.
Comprised of photos of the school, outlets of information and real students sharing their opinion on the J-MC School, the flier is a great way to highlight the best aspects of journalism, and introduce the curriculum to potential applicants.
“It’s a really nice way for us to show them what we’re doing without overwhelming them with too much information,” Schwartz said.
Ron McClellen, the art design director at Hancher and adjunct instructor in the J-MC School designed the flier. He said the concept was originally driven by Director David Perlmutter, and that his idea was to put students on the flier and have them share their experiences.
“I think the appealing thing here is that these are real University of Iowa students,” McClellen said. “It’s their own words, and I think that is pretty compelling.”
Even though this initiative has just begun, Schwartz said the school has already noticed a difference.
“This just started, but the way you can tell [success] is by non-verbal communication when you give it to prospective students,” Schwartz said. “You show them this, and you see the exact words of the students. We didn’t write this for them, we approached these students and said ‘tell us what you think of the school, and why you would want to come here.’”
Schwartz said there’s somewhat of a generational gap with students and adults. He said based on previous knowledge, students are more likely to actually use advice given to them by their peers. As a program associate and director of IHSPA, sometimes his job is to give a tour to a proposed student.
While he might be successful in convincing them to come here, he said it may be easier to hear the information from one of their peers.
“When I was 18 I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do,” Schwartz said. “If some department had come forward like this one, and said I’m going to make the decision a little more easy for you, I would have been more receptive to that.”
However, J-MC alumni can rest easy, knowing the program is not recruiting due to lower demands in the area of journalism, or because of disinterest in the program. Schwartz said interest and competitiveness are still present, because they do so much in terms of careers in communications.
“We are always looking for the best students, we have some of the highest expectations and some of the highest standards,” Schwartz said.
"We are the major that, people in other majors wish they would have majored in. We are so marketable. We produce the skill set to make you successful in so many different industries.”