Students educating students about UNI

College students typically have a long winter break. It's a time to travel, visit family and friends and relax before starting the spring semester. The University of Northern Iowa is no exception to the long break, and what better way to spend it than educating high school students about all UNI has to offer!

UNI's Panther Push is an outreach program that gives students the opportunity to return to their high schools to offer prospective students insights about life on campus.

"Some of the stories and experiences our students are going to remember for years to come are the things we ask them to share with the high school students."

"Something that we're really pleased about is having so many students from so many different schools participating," said Kyle Burns, a senior majoring in marketing: sales and a member of the Panther Push committee.

Since 1975, more than 2,000 UNI students have participated in the program. This year, 240 students signed up, which broke the old record of 200 students in 1998. The students will reach out to 138 different school districts – just less than 40 percent of the state.

Panther Push is co-run by the Student Admission Ambassadors and Office of Admissions. Any UNI student can participate, you just need to fill out an application and attend a one-hour training session.

"We encourage students to go back [to their high schools] either Thanksgiving or winter break," said Burns. "That's when decision time rolls around for a lot of high school seniors."

"Some of the stories and experiences our students are going to remember for years to come are the things we ask them to share with the high school students," said Burns.

Burns has noticed that presentation style varies from school to school. Some students have given presentations to a gym full of prospective students, while others speak to just one classroom for a couple minutes. Whatever style is used, there's always lots of questions…how far away is UNI, do you have this major, and the most popular question…why did you choose UNI?

"I always try to stay positive, talk about my experiences and tell them why I chose UNI," said Burns.

The Panther Push program is a positive experience for UNI students; the high schools also appreciate the extra effort. "Anytime you can have a former student come back and talk about college and encourage students to move on to higher education, high schools really appreciate that," said Burns.

For more information about UNI or Panther Push, visit www.uni.edu/admissions/.