How might we help undecided undergraduate students find career resources and connect with other career-focused students to increase the probability that they may choose the appropriate college major?
Ball State University has an average of a 32% 4-year graduation rate over the last decade. Additionally, BSU had over 500 students who were undeclared or undecided on a major in 2015. Though economics, college preparedness, and college selection are the largest issues affecting graduation rates, mentors, a sense of direction and purpose, and connection to peers are some of the ingredients that succeed in creating driven and focused students and may help with overall satisfaction and completion of a college degree.
While BSU has numerous resources to assist students in finding the right major or career, the process of seeking information or even attempting to find an area of study can by intimidating and daunting to new students.
Progress Bar: a student resources and connection event and awareness campaign
Progress Bar was a student-outreach campaign coupled with a student event. A “web” was placed in high-trafficked department buildings across campus. The web contained postcards pinned with clothespins to lines of twine. A poster invited students to take one of two actions: If they were an undecided student, they could ask questions of students who loved their major or careers, and if they were declared students, they could leave advice for undecided students or discuss why they loved their major.
The webs were displayed for two weeks. Throughout the week, the postcards would be digitized and uploaded to the Progress Bar website and social media. Progress Bar additionally provided interviews and resources with on-campus experts on finding a passion and preparing for a career.
At the end of the two weeks, Progress Bar invited all students that contributed to a web to attend the Progress Bar Mixer. The BSU Career Center co-hosted the event and provided food, games, and giveaways for students to both advertise their services and register undecided students for career counseling sessions.
Though Progress Bar was a proof-of-concept project, the Career Center at IUPUI implemented Progress Bar during their career outreach campaign in the spring of 2016.