President Milliken tells students, “Go. Visit. College!”
University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken and other leaders of the Nebraska P-16 Initiative have joined Gov. Dave Heineman in launching a new campaign to encourage high school students to visit Nebraska’s college campuses.
The P-16 leaders unveiled the campaign – Go.Visit.College! – Sept. 28 during a tour across Nebraska. The group – which included Heineman, Milliken, Sen. Greg Adams of York, chairman of the Legislature’s Education Committee; Roger Breed, Nebraska education commissioner; and Liz Koop, president and CEO of EducationQuest Foundation – visited Lincoln, Omaha, Scottsbluff and Grand Island.
Go.Visit.College! urges Nebraska’s high schools and postsecondary education institutions to collaborate in organizing opportunities for high school juniors and seniors to visit the state’s college campuses, including public universities, private schools, state colleges and community colleges. The campaign is especially focused on first-generation students, who don’t always know how to take this critical first step in the college-going process.
“There is a growing consensus among local, state and national leaders that the key ingredient to economic competitiveness is a college-educated workforce,” Milliken said. “College visits are an important early step in choosing the right school, earning a degree, improving one’s quality of life and contributing to the economic competitiveness of Nebraska and the nation.”
The P-16 Initiative, chaired by the governor, will be critical to increasing the level of educational attainment in Nebraska. While Nebraska’s high school graduation rate ranks second in the country, its college-going rate – about 64.5 percent – ranks 19th. Increasing Nebraska’s college-going rate to the top 10 nationally is among the goals of the P-16 Initiative.
“The key to becoming a top-10 college-going state is for students to visit a college or colleges of their choice,” Heineman said. “The likelihood of a student attending college increases dramatically if that student has made at least one college visit.”
Milliken pointed to a recent Georgetown University report that ranked Nebraska seventh in the nation in the percentage of jobs that will require postsecondary education by 2018. “In Nebraska, the importance of postsecondary education is clear,” he said.
National and local studies show college visits are one of the most influential sources of information for students as they make their college choice. In one recent P-16 survey of Nebraska high school admissions counselors and college admissions representatives, tours of college campuses received the highest rating among 16 different college access strategies.
At the University of Nebraska, college visits are an important part of the recruiting process. About 68 percent of prospective students who visit the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will enroll at UNL – well above the national average of 45 percent. Additionally, about 60 percent of new freshmen at UNL, the University of Nebraska at Kearney and the University of Nebraska at Omaha visited campus. The university also has made new efforts in recent years to increase college visits among students of color, who are historically underrepresented in campus visit programs.
Each of NU’s undergraduate campuses offers a variety of campus visit options to fit students’ schedules and interests. Learn more at the UNL campus visit web page; the UNK campus visit web page; and the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus visit web page.