Ask college students about their biggest hopes, and you’re likely to hear about finding a good job and earning a good salary.
In fact, The Princeton Review 2016 College Hopes & Worries Survey Report found that students feel the No. 1 benefit to attending college is getting “a potentially better job and higher income.”
With such hopes come some understandable fears, not coincidentally key among them money and employment worries. One recent national survey found that seven of 10 college students are stressed over their finances, while another by Kelton Research reported that 60 percent of recent college grads feared they wouldn’t find a job, or were having trouble landing one.
To boost their hopes and allay their fears, JU’s Admissions and Advancement teams have joined forces to demonstrate to prospective students in a very concrete way how their goals can be met and exceeded with a Jacksonville University diploma.
The new program introduces high school seniors to local employers — even those students who haven’t settled on JU as their college of choice. That’s a unique new offering designed to make prospective students more comfortable and highlight the advantages of the University’s tremendous connections to employers in the region.
The inaugural “Networking and Admissions” reception was held last month at the Bank of America Financial Center in downtown Jacksonville. About a dozen students and their parents, siblings and close friends met with Gregory Smith, Northeast Florida market president of Bank of America, who discussed the company’s strong ties with JU and its long track record of hiring JU graduates. JU Presidential Ambassador Danielle Keeler then opened the floor for the students’ questions.
“Bank of America explained some of the reasons why JU is in the top 10 percent for return on investment nationally, and why choosing a university whose graduates have such solid earnings potential is a very relevant factor for prospective students to consider,” said Taira Campbell, JU Admissions Events Coordinator. “We stressed the importance of finding a college or university that can help foster a career. The parents attending seemed to particularly value this aspect.”
Invited to the event were select Jacksonville area students with GPAs of 3.5 or higher. Afterward, they joined members of the Admissions team at the nearby First Wednesday Art Walk downtown. More networking events are planned in the near future.
“The purpose of attending college is to find a job and start a career, so why not hear directly from an employer who hires JU alums for full-time and internship positions?” said Jessica Swick, JU’s Associate Director of Donor Relations.
Sarah Jewell, a St. Augustine certified career coach and Davis College of Business alumna, said JU’s early job connection program lets prospective students gain a better understanding of the marketable skills desired by employers, brings potential employers visibility and can aid students in solidifying their college major earlier in their studies.
That, she said, facilitates improved chances of easily transitioning from student to employee.
“In addition, the opportunities gained from meeting with business leaders can aid students with their networking efforts, and potentially lead to mentoring, informational interviewing and career advice situations,” Jewell said. “For the students and their parents, knowing employers regularly recruit and hire graduates is invaluable; while there are a plethora of colleges and universities out there, they don’t all equally prepare students for the employment world.”
Parents and students attending said they were impressed with the effort JU is putting into educating prospective students about their college choices, and praised the University for making one-on-one connections a priority.
“My leadership team and I were very impressed with the caliber of honors students we met,” said Smith of Bank of America. “We were honored to host them and their parents and be part of Jacksonville University’s recruitment effort. Supporting education is one way Bank of America can help build stronger communities and stable economies.”
Michele Querry, JU Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, said Jacksonville University enjoys a robust relationship with its corporate partners.
“This type of meaningful engagement demonstrates a commitment to attract and retain the best talent to the region. We look forward to working with our corporate partners to continue this innovative initiative and further strengthen our ties to the business community.”
For more information about Jacksonville University Admissions events, please visit www.ju.edu/visit or contact JU Admissions Event Coordinator Taira Campbell at (904) 256-7428.