State U and State Network bring the campus to the high school

January 13, 2005

The University of Iowa (UI) takes its message via the ICN to those students who may not be able to personally visit the campus early in the school year. The Hawkeye/Iowa Communications Network High School Visit Program started three years ago with approximately 15 pilot schools selected from western Iowa. The program has grown with over 80 high schools planning to participate in the broadcast-quality, full-motion video visits this fall.

“This program provides live, interactive access to Iowa high school students about the University of Iowa and what it has to offer, which they might not otherwise have the opportunity to receive,” says UI Director of Admission Michael Barron. Likewise the university is able to reach students simultaneously at multiple high schools in the hour-long ICN sessions.

Gathering in their respective high school ICN rooms for the Hawkeye High School Visit, students receive a welcome from Barron, watch a multimedia show about the Iowa campus, and receive additional information such as admission requirements, financial aid, and scholarships. There is also a UI student panel that interacts with the high school students.

Traditionally Iowa colleges and universities schedule a specific time in a high school guidance office to visit with students who may be interested in that particular college. A college admission counselor may visit several high schools in one day and see several students or see no students. Scheduling conflicts often cause high school students to miss college admission counselors’ visits or not be able to visit a college campus as early as desired.

Barron says the Hawkeye ICN High School Visit Program is a great tool to introduce the student initially to UI and provides a tremendous service to Iowa’s students. “We have the ability to get information to students without their making an expensive trip to Iowa City first.” The university would still like the student to visit the Iowa City campus, but Barron says the ICN high school visits are the next best thing to an in-person visit.

Shenandoah High School is four and a half hours from Iowa City and one of the schools that has participated in the program for three years. Shenandoah guidance counselor John Davis says his students have responded positively to the program.

“I think the biggest benefit is the number and variety of people The University of Iowa can bring into the presentation. I have found college representatives to be very well-versed and very good communicators, but it makes a big difference when you can actually have key staff on the screen to talk about their program and answer questions.”

Davis, also president of the Iowa School Counselors Association, says many smaller high schools are losing contact with some colleges because tighter college budgets mean less money for travel. So he sees a big benefit from a program like the Hawkeye/ICN High School Visit for college-bound students in these small schools.

“An Iowa resident in Stanton or Farragut or South Page may never get an opportunity to hear from an admissions rep. Even more so if they happen to live all the way across the state from the college or university.”