Are students too connected...?


Rachel Gebhardt

North Country CC
Endeavors contributor

In this day and age, electronic communication has become the primary form of communication for most students and colleagues. It's fast and easy, and can even be accessed almost anywhere. Laptops, Wi-Fi, and now cell phones have enabled all of us to be constantly connected to each other (or to at least have the option). For Admissions Counselors, this means being able to work from the road during the hectic travel season, check in with the office between high school visits and college fairs, and be in constant contact with students to assist in whatever daily crisis that they may have that day. But when the greeting contains a small thumbnail picture of a cheetah and the signature is an actual signature that the student must have done using the drawing tool in their word processing software it is a little difficult to take it seriously. Please see the example below.

Silly Signature

We probably all have received those strange e-mails from a prospective student (or even a current one) that have time stamps of 2:08 a.m. and felt as though you needed some sort of urban dictionary or filtering device to de-code the message and figure out what the student is trying to say or ask. All computers have spell check and will even correct grammar, punctuation, and provide a thesaurus. When responding to questions that were submitted on the prospect portal, or e-mailed from some e-mail address like wondering when they will find out if they have been "excepted" to the college or if we have "recited" their transcript yet, I wonder if they know that the actual admissions counselors receive and read what they have so un-thoughtfully sent in to the Admissions Office.

 How many times do you wonder if students realize what those brightly colored squiggly lines mean that show up under the most common misspelled words, and some of the more obscure combination of letters. If spell check says No Spelling Suggestions, do they just skip over it and assume their computer just doesn't recognize that they are correct in spelling what appears to you as some new made-up word? There are times when I am not even sure of what the student is saying or trying to say. At that point, it could be anyone's guess as to what is being asked or requested and a second (or third, and fourth) opinion is 100% necessary.
But what can we do to fix this common occurrence in the daily life of an Admissions Counselor? Probably nothing, except to become well versed in translating the current generations' dialect of the English language and continue to add these sometimes ridiculous requests and e-mails to the long list of things that we receive from current and prospective students.