Admissions: My Year in Review
My name is Jen, and I work in Admissions at the Minneapolis Media Institute. I started here back in May of this year, so I am still relatively new. Prior to coming to the Media Institute, I was working at a video production company. I loved working in video production, and before that I had been working in the film industry. Media Arts is not new to me, but working in Admissions is. As 2016 is coming to an end, I wanted to reflect on some of the lessons I have learned while working here - and some insight on what I hope 2017 will bring for our school!
1) It is not only what you do, but who you do it for that matters every day. Reflecting back on this year, I have had over 100 interviews with students and future students. In my role, I get the opportunity of meeting with students and learning what they want to do with their lives. I have cried with students who have shared their life stories with me. Many times they are the first person in their family to come to school. Some are the sole earners in their family. Others are following a dream they’ve had since they could walk. School isn’t the easy choice for them. It means sacrifice and hard work. I get up every morning, motivated. I never know who is going to walk into my office and who is looking to change their life. I work for those students. They are my reason why.
2) Passion drives success. We are a Media Arts school. Students who come here are coming for specific careers. Whether it is Recording and Live Sound, 3D Modeling for Gaming, or Animation and Motion Capture - our students know what direction they want to go in. Our classes are hard. Our instructors are tough. The projects that the students spend weeks on can be grueling. From what I’ve seen, our Minneapolis campus has some of the most determined and passionate students out of all of the campuses we are associated with. Our students are driven. When the going gets tough, our instructors listen and help the students to refocus. I think back to when the student first came and toured with me, and what they said their “why” is in that very first interview, and it comes down to passion and following through on their dreams. I am constantly re-inspired everyday by the students who are fighting for their passions.
3) Not all for-profit schools are the same. I repeat. Not all for-profit schools are the same. Prior to starting at the Minneapolis Media Institute, I had no idea the difference between a for-profit school and a university (like the one I went to). This summer when ITT shut its doors is when I first started learning about the industry. It was overwhelming. I turned to my trusty old friend Google, and starting researching. It did not look good. All I could find were negative articles slamming the for-profit industry and what they stood for. I immediately called my VP of Admissions and told her my fears. Much of the for-profit news was surrounding the Admissions departments. Was I a bad person in a slimy industry? She shut me down, immediately. I was trained by her to always do what’s best for the student. Always. Even if it means encouraging them to go to our competitors. Although there are some bad apples in the bunch, the for-profit industry is here for a reason. A lot of the times, our schools are smaller and more focused than the big universities. Our class sizes are roughly 10-25 students, whereas many universities have large lecture classes that can have 300+ students in them. Our schools are more focused in specific trades and industries, which without those trades what a sad world our society would be living in. At our school, we want students to WANT to come here. We want students who will be successful in our type of environment. If it is not a good fit, we let them know. The individual is more important to us, than the number. We are a family here, and the students are treated as such. Our tuition is in line with Gainful Employment laws, which the Obama administration put in place. Our students graduate with a manageable amount of debt, where Universities are not held to that same standard. I have learned to be more aware of news outlets, who sometimes write biased articles without gathering information from all sides.
4) Find a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life. Like I mentioned before, I went to a big university. When I graduated, our “career services” was basically non-existent. I had a lot of jobs after I graduated, and even more interviews - with no help from my school. In one interview I had right after I graduated, they told me I had too much energy and was too positive. Seriously. I guess telling people they would be getting declined from their insurance claims wouldn’t have been a great fit. The point is, in my current role - they celebrated me for the very same attribute I was denied a job for at another place. I even won an award! I love what I do, I’m great at what I do, and it is in line with what I’m passionate about - which is people and communication. I encourage all of our students to go get turned down for jobs, and learn about what their passions and strengths are. Go meet with Debbie Young in career services day 1 of classes, and start to build your relationship. She has helped so many students find careers that are perfect stepping stones into following their dreams. I wish I would have had Debbie in my corner rooting for me after graduation, it would have made the journey a lot less discouraging!
5) The Future of MMI. If this year has taught me anything, it is that if you work hard and give your all every day, good things are bound to happen. Our students, staff, and faculty work their butts off all day every day. As a school, we have grown so much over the past year. Our new shorter diploma programs are just finishing up their first year. If the hard work we put in 2016 is any prediction for our future - watch out 2017, MMI is coming for you!