This Call Deserves An Honor-able Mention

| Learning | May 1, 2017

(I am a university administrator. My job includes managing the application process for the honors programs. Our students are not required to use their official email accounts. The subject line has the name of a scholarship.)

Student: “I need some info. Are you the right person to ask?”

(The student doesn’t sign his name, and the email address is nickname-at-freeemailprovider-dot-com, so I can’t look up whether he has already applied, whether he might be eligible, etc. I also can’t find a phone number. )

Me: “It depends on your question. I am the administrator, but different professors are in charge of the academic side, depending on your major. Let me know your question and I’ll make sure one of us gets back to you. Feel free to email or call me at [number].”

Student: “Can I call you or do I have to spell out my questions in an email?”

Me: “Either is fine. You can email, or call me. Or give me your number and I can call you.”

(Then, I receive a voice mail from an advisor:)

Advisor: “I was talking to student [Student], and he has a question about the honors program. Can you call him at NUMBER? He wouldn’t tell me the question, so I couldn’t help him at all. He says he has emailed you.”

(I call the student and leave a voice mail. Two minutes later, I get an email from the student:)

Student: “I just talked to Advisor who didn’t answer my questions. Can you call me at [number]?

(I call him and he answers.)

Student: “I have the application, but I need more specifics about what they are expecting.”

Me: “I can have the right professor call you. What is your major?”

Student: “I’m not sure, and I might change it.”

Me: “The expectations vary by major, so it would be best if you can figure that out first.”

Student: “I don’t understand what your job is if you can’t answer my questions. Just tell me how many words to write.”

(The conversation just ended up frustrating both of us. I ended up putting notes on his record and letting him know I am ready to help when he knows which honors program he’s applying for.)

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