As VP of Student Services, I’m passionate about supporting student success. Our team helps people from all walks of life access high-quality graduate education by helping students find, apply and attend great programs.
Through our collaboration with great universities, we’ve had the ability to fundamentally change lives. We’re overjoyed by the stories we hear from our students and want to take this opportunity to share two experiences that not only highlight the drive of the students we support, but also the passion of our Student Services team.
Finding the Motivation to Succeed
Valerie L., Student Services Specialist
I was working with a student a few months ago and he was extremely overwhelmed. At first it seemed as though he was having technical issues, as well as not understanding the work that was being assigned. As we worked through those issues, I began to realize his struggles were far greater.
One day he called and stated, “I am done…I can no longer continue with this program. It is a lot of work and I quit.” I remember my goal was to keep him on the phone, ensure he felt supported, and to ask questions. I asked why he was pursuing his degree and what motivated him to succeed.
He shared that in his neighborhood, people aspired to become drug dealers; education was frowned upon, and his peers believed in order to get ahead in life you needed to sell drugs. Even at a young age, he knew this was not the path he would travel.
He recently started a family of his own and had welcomed a baby girl. I told him that his little girl would be proud to know that her dad took a different path and that she was very fortunate to have him as a father. I knew he would be such an inspiration to her in the future.
He was very appreciative that he had a safe place to express his concerns and wanted to remain successful in the program. My favorite part of the call was when it was coming to an end, and he thanked me for being his “spark plug” during a time of need.
Support Without Bounds
Wendy K, Student Services Specialist
The student was living in the Middle East and extremely frustrated with another department that kept telling her that she was going to be withdrawn. The student was unavailable by phone due to the time difference, so only email communication was happening with the other department.
In her frustration, the student sent an email stating that she was going to kill herself if the issue wasn’t resolved. Regardless of the time difference, I took the student seriously and stayed after hours so I could call her in the Middle East.
The student was surprised by the call. I let her know that I received her email and was concerned and take statements like that very seriously. The student apologized for the statement, but explained her frustrations with the other department. I assured the student that she would not be withdrawn and that I am always here to support her with any issues and can work with the other department on her behalf.
The student just wanted to feel assured that there were real people on the other side of the computer and people who cared about her situation. I let the student know she could email me or call me at any time and I would get back to her, regardless of our time difference, and even if it was about something unrelated to school.
I also asked her to check in with me every week so that I knew she was OK (she lived in a dangerous area), and the student did so until she graduated from the program. She sent a thank you email after she graduated and completed a testimonial about her experience at the university.
Our Student Services team is at the core of HotChalk’s business. Each day, these dedicated individuals make sure that the student experience remains central to everything we do. Where technology has emerged to replace many aspects of the educational experience, HotChalk continues to value the human-to-human relationships in all parts of online learning.