Archive for June 10th, 2015

Islands in the stream

The Snork Maiden and I went over to NCC today and had an extremely pleasant and efficient experience.  Admissions & Records has moved into the new student services building (funded, like a number of other higher-ed projects in the state, by a pre-recession bond issue), and it’s a much nicer, more welcoming space than it was when I taught at NCC seven years ago.  Then, it was a big, noisy, shabby room with lots of open counters, paper and boxes stacked everywhere, peeling-up linoleum, and harsh fluorescent lights.  Now, it’s several nicely demarcated spaces for the different functions of the department.  The admissions area is quieter, with softer lighting, industrial carpeting, and individual service windows.  The line was short (it’s the week before the first summer session) and the worker whom the Snork Maiden timidly approached was friendly and helpful.  She was able to pull up the application, verify the SA paperwork, and give the Snork Maiden the student ID number she can use to register online.

I was amused to see a large, colorful, easy-to-read sign explaining how to get into a course that’s supposedly full, both via the waitlist and via an add card from the instructor.  It provided exactly the information that’s missing on the website.

The mysterious island

The Snork Maiden is hoping to take a community college class at Nearby CC this summer, and submitted her application to the college online last month–in advance of the deadline to enroll for summer, though just by a few days.  She got an emailed confirmation with the promise of more info within a few weeks–which may or may not be before the class actually begins.  So we’re looking through the college website to figure out her next steps.

The college website isn’t that easy to navigate, and pieces of similar but not identical information are available in different parts of it.  The schedule of classes is easy to find, but not so the information about concurrent enrollment for high schoolers and the exact timeline for turning in the pieces of documentation she needs.

One page implies that, having applied, she can pop into Admissions to hand in the paperwork from SA, but I think there’s a fifty-fifty chance they will tell her to wait until the system generates her student ID number, which it may not before the first day of classes.  I am pretty sure, based on my own experience as an instructor, that she can (and should) still show up for the class she wants to take and do the waitlist thing (especially since, as a HS student, she has lower priority than all the regular CC students), but I have only found one glancing and indirect reference to this practice anywhere on the new-student pages.

And I worked there.  If I’m finding it difficult to help her locate the information she needs, how hard is it for a parent who didn’t go to college themselves, or went to college 30 years ago in a different era and has had no experience with CC bureaucracies since then?