Finally, a new student communication plan is being developed to try and improve the way students get their information.
More specifically, the plan is geared toward first-year students, for obvious reasons.
The plan, set to be fully implemented by the 2007-08 admission cycle, would ideally provide clear, accurate and timely information for students. Additionally, information will be presented using a welcoming tone.
All of this sounds great, but I can’t help being selfish: Where was this plan when I was a freshman?
Thinking back, receiving my first DARS report in the mail the summer before starting CSUN was more than puzzling. There were plus and minus signs and “OK” marks everywhere. For a first-time freshman, this was a bit confusing.
Luckily, having friends who already attended CSUN made the process much easier. The last thing a nervous freshman wants is to call the university and have the person on the other end make you feel incredibly dumb for not knowing what a DARS report is.
And then, when you call the university to try to make sense of things, the person on the other end treats you as if your question is bothering them.
On that same note, the schedule of classes booklet is quite intimidating at first glance. Coming from high school, where the academic counselors tell you what to take, it’s scary trying to figure out for hours what each letter or number in the schedule means. It’s like being thrown to the dogs.
There should be some transition phase and a little help should come from somewhere. It’s obvious that attending a university is about becoming an adult and learning to take care of a person’s own things, but at the same time, there has to be something that makes a person feel good about where he or she attends school.
But to be specific: What does “R” mean in that schedule of classes, anyway? The “R” means the class is restricted, so now what? How do I proceed? Oh wait, another “R.” Why confuse a student even more by using “R” to stand for Thursday?
The department in my college has always been good at communicating changes and anything else that I’ve needed to know about. The university as a whole, however, is different.
On a recent trip to the Student Services Building, it was nerve wrecking to hear from an employee that there are new campus identification cards. The one I was using was very old. The new ones had been out for months. Students had been notified by snail mail or e-mail. But I didn’t receive any notification.
If the trip to Admissions and Records had not been made, I would still be walking around with a very old ID card, which I’m told actually means something.
The question this raises then is if I was not aware of this change, then are others in that same situation? What happens to those who do not have e-mail, or just don’t know how to use it “efficiently”? Even now, I have yet to receive information about that ID card.
This plan looks to be a very good one. It is a little ways down the road, but nonetheless, at least it is coming. Better late than never.
Hopefully, it will be helpful to those first-year students who are as frightened as I first was when I first began at CSUN.