My niece just finished her first year of college and was ready to fly home and enjoy the summer with her family, when she was notified she would need to take a Math Placement test to determine readiness before she could sign up for a required College Algebra class in the fall. She didn’t have a place to stay since her dorm lease was up and the apartment she had leased with three other girls would not be available until August. Therefore, the Math Placement test needed to get done quickly as it was not allowed to be completed online, but could only be done in person and that meant living arrangements could get costly.
My niece went to the website for the Math Placement test and signed up; however, as soon as she clicked on Submit, a response popped up “The data you submitted is wrong. Resubmit.” She resubmitted. Same response popped up. So, she emailed the site to see what was wrong with her data and received a communication that said someone would respond in one to two days. Now, she was worried because she knew only a certain number of people could be confirmed to take the test on this day and time and she already had booked her flight home for the following day. Plus, it meant another day of expenses in living arrangements.
She tried calling, but the specific number for the Math Placement department responded with a voice mail stating that the department doesn’t take calls, only e-mails. This meant she now needed to drive out to the school and try to find someone in person she could talk to. This she did. When she arrived at the department office, the person in charge of the testing was at lunch and no one else had access to the information she had submitted or the sign-up log. She waited.
When the woman in charge returned, my niece explained the situation and all that had occurred. She was informed that there was a problem with the system at the time of her submittal. The problem had been resolved, but her data was not received and now there was no more availability for the time she had wanted to be tested. She was given the list for next dates and times in the future.
Looking through the lens of the student, this is very frustrating. Not a good way to end the year. Not a good way for the college to show they really care about helping and supporting a student to be successful. Not a good way to make it easy to navigate the system of attaining the credits one needs to graduate. There were no offers of help and/or advice, the attitude communicated was “too bad this happened.” Will my niece go back to the college in the fall? Yes. But, the incident whittled away at the spirit of emotional love she felt toward the school at the beginning of the year. And what do you think she will talk about to her friends when she finally gets to go home for the summer?