If This Is Too Complicated, Is College Right For You?

, , , , , | Learning | July 18, 2020

I work for an online university assisting people with their applications. If a student has transfer credits, they can submit a transcript request form, which gives us permission to request their transcripts on their behalf so they don’t have to pay the transcript fee. Some schools will require this form to be signed by hand as a means of fraud prevention. In this case, the student has to print out the form and do the full thing by hand; they can’t fill it out on the computer then just print that and sign it, which is what some try to do. This student, however, takes that to a new extreme.

We start working together two months before the registration deadline, so I feel confident that we will be able to get everything in on time. She submits all of her documents except for one — a hand-signed transcript request form. I send her an email with the form attached as a PDF and explicit instructions on how to complete it and send it back to us. For two weeks, I call her about twice a week, as is our policy, and every time, she says she’ll get to it later. 

Finally, I receive a notification that she sent us a form that cannot be processed. I check, and she sure did print out the PDF… and only signed the bottom, leaving the entire rest of the document blank. 

I give her a call to explain that she needs to do the whole thing by hand. She says she already completed it, and I tell her that yes, we got the form with her signature, but she needs to put in the school’s information, too, so we know where to send that form. She seems to understand and I hope she’ll turn it in.

Cue several weeks of me calling her, her insisting she already did the form, and me explaining how to do it over again. Finally, it’s two weeks before the deadline and the form still isn’t in. On top of that, she needs to complete some additional forms before her financial aid can be awarded, so I send her clear instructions on how to complete those forms. A week passes, and she hasn’t even logged into her financial aid account to get started on the forms.

I’m out of the office for a couple of days, and while I’m away, my team lead reaches out to some of my students who still need to complete documents. She tries to connect with this student, who neither answers her phone nor responds to her email but resubmits the transcript request form. It is the exact same form, blank except for her hand signature at the bottom.

At this point, it is the last week before the deadline and I am so frustrated trying to help this woman that I ask one of my coworkers who’s been here for five years to reach out to her to see if maybe she can make the student understand. She sends an extremely detailed email instructing how to do every step, from writing down the school name to noting the present date. I think that will be sufficient and wait for the completed form to arrive.

Two days later, I receive another notification that the student uploaded a document that cannot be processed. It is the exact same form, completely blank but for her hand signature. 

Thank God I’m working from home so no one could look at me funny while I throw up my hands and scream.

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