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Focus on Enrollment to Boost Your Journalism Program

August 5, 2014

By Michael Bugeja, director,

Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication,
Iowa State University of Science and Technology

A recent report noted declining enrollments nationwide in journalism. The Greenlee School has enjoyed two years of record incoming enrollment, recording a 24% increase in 2014. Current data show the School is likely to break that record in August at the 10th day of classes.

Here is what we do to focus on enrollment.

1. We created prospective student informational packets for high school advisers. These included copies of award-winning student media publications along with other literature about our program.

2. We created videos of our exemplary faculty, staff and alumni and sent them to prospective students.

3. We also sent regular e-mail blasts to prospective students, keeping them informed about student awards, financial aid, media organizations and other news of interest.

4. We created the Greenlee School Ambassador program, training and assigning our top majors to meet with prospective students and their families.

5. Our advisory council created a PowerPoint about successful journalists and advertisers from our school, which we show to all pre-majors.

6. We hosted ice cream socials to welcome new students to the program and give them the opportunity to interact with faculty, staff and student organizations.

8. We focused on recruitment and retention during our signature events such as our nationally recognized First Amendment Day, inviting busloads of prospective students to our celebrations.

9. We made student scholarships and internships a priority, raising more than $1 million in academic year 2011-12 in direct funding, bequests and apprenticeships with high-visibility media companies like Meredith Corporation and the Scripps Foundation.

10. We also feature a transparency page, with vital statistics about average student loans and debt for our majors as well as updated graduation and placement rates, among other assessment data essential for students and their parents to be prudent consumers of higher education.

These strategies worked for us. They can work for you.


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