September 2, 2007
Having dinner at Macaroni Grill today, my wife and I met up with a server named Stephanie. I thought she was a student and she said she was when asked. This began a long running conversation between her serving duties as to her education at a junior college and transfer to a state college, CSUF. She was unhappy with some of the aspects of both experiences at her former junior college and at the state university. Here are some of her viewpoints.
Her main complaint of the junior college was the counselors. They appeared to not understand the state college requirements.
She was held back one year from going to a state college because she did poorly in one class at Fullerton Junior College but took the class again at a second junior college and improved her grade. An admissions person failed to spot the second class and denied admission.
Real large universities are really intimidating. She had the definite feeling that the state university (CSUF) was a sort of dictatorship (her term) like institution. She had the distinct feeling that the university did not care about her one bit. It appeared that the university was impersonal, distant, and uncaring. She cried every day for the first two weeks attending California State University Fullerton.
Stephanie did offer some good advice for other students. She took the tactic of carrying about her education like it was a business. She was a business major which is probably where she developed this tactic. She put all of her transcript papers in folders. She found that she had to become well organized out of her past experiences. She made notation of which she spoke to when conducting business with counselors and admissions personal, and took notes as to what took place each time she had any contact with college officers. She found out that the admissions and records offices of both the community college and state college had problems and she realized that she had to be extremely careful and be able to prove out her academic achievements. State colleges would loose her records (a common complaint). Junior and state colleges would, at times, misinterpret courses she had taken when measured against published official admission guidelines. Admission standards are always changing which might be the root cause of these complaints. She would receive incorrect information from both counselors and admission personnel. At one point, a counselor told her that she would never make it to a state college.
Both the junior college and state colleges are businesses. Many administrators and faculty think their operations are special in some way, not a business – not true. If you are an employee of either a junior college or state college, think in terms of each student as a customer. Try to improve customer relations at all times.
Each counselor and admissions person should make it policy to contact each customer by phone the following day to see if the customer was happy with service and if not immediately take action to rectify any deficiency.
High school, junior college and college counselors must be current with their knowledge of requirements for admission for the customer’s next placement.
My wife and my additions to this story: There should never be a student assistant answering a department phone, only a paid full time staff member who knows how to take care of customer equerries. All department phones must be answered within four rings. It is totally inexcusable find no one to answer a department phone. It is equally galling, inexcusable, for any customer not to receive the information they called to find out about.