College is challenging, especially the very first quarter. For some students, it’s their first time in a classroom in nearly a decade. At Rasmussen College, the staff knows each student is a unique individual with a very different set of course requirements and goals. That’s where a Student Advisor comes in – to help students manage all their obligations.
“The first thing I do is get to know my students and ask about their typical day,” said Joshua Erickson, Student Advisor at the Rasmussen College Wausau campus. “That way, I know what kind of course load they can handle, and together we can create a schedule that will lead to success.”
It’s called My Degree Plan – a roadmap detailing a student’s quarterly course schedule for his or her entire degree timeline. It wasn’t that long ago Erickson put together his My Degree Plan at Rasmussen College. Erickson graduated in September, 2011 with a Business Management Bachelor’s degree. Following graduation, he applied and was selected for the Administrative Assistant position at the Wausau campus. Then, last fall he moved into the student advisor role.
“I’ve experienced the highs and lows of being a student,” said Erickson. “I know what they are going through, and it’s my passion to help them earn a college degree because I know what a difference it’s made in my life.”
Erickson remembers meeting with one of his students who was on the verge of dropping out of college. The student told Erickson he was too stressed with school and work, but at the same time he didn’t like his job.
“I told him with a college education you don’t have to work in that job,” said Erickson. “It was like a light bulb turned on in his head. We talked about how many quarters he had remaining and re-worked his course load to better accommodate his schedule. It was my first feel-good moment as a student advisor.”
A student advisor stays with their students throughout their college experience, making sure they know what resources are available to them.
“I’m basically their lifeline from the time they create a schedule until they graduate,” said Erickson. “If a student is struggling, I’ll help get them a tutor. If they don’t understand APA style, I’ll get them in touch with a librarian. Hopefully, after their first quarter, they will know what resources are available to them.”
Erickson says he knows the first quarter can be the toughest for many students. If he can help them get through it, he says his students will have a better chance of finishing college with academic success.
Technical Support Specialist
Have you ever wanted to throw your computer in the garbage? College is hard enough without having to deal with a slow Internet connection or assignments that won’t open.
In this high-tech world, students can’t be successful in college without a working computer and the appropriate software or programs needed to complete their coursework. At Rasmussen College, a Technical Support Specialist is on hand 24/7 to help fix all of those frustrating technical issues.
“We are here to fight for the student,” said Robert McKinney, Support Center Lead at Rasmussen College. “If something is wrong, we try to make it right.”
McKinney is one of two support center leads and works with 13 other technical support specialists at Rasmussen College. They answer or respond to anywhere from 120,000 to 145,000 calls, chats and e-mails every year. McKinney says the beginning of each quarter is usually the busiest as students begin logging into classes for the first time and submitting assignments.
“We get a lot of questions about where to find books, how to use an eBook, schedule confirmation questions, ‘what’s my username’ etc.,” said McKinney. “We also give Microsoft® Office to every student. With their permission we can actually takeover their computer and help them download the program correctly.”
The technical support team tracks every call, so no question or concern goes unanswered. If they can’t resolve the issue, the specialist will pass a student’s question on to the appropriate team. From there, the correct team will send notes back saying the issue has been resolved. Technical support specialists also have a list of phone numbers, so they can transfer a student to the appropriate person right away.
“We are the single point of contact for students,” said McKinney. “Our phone number is all over the student portal and the online courses website. It doesn’t matter what they need. We will get them talking to the right person and in a timely manner.”
McKinney has been at Rasmussen College for three years. He says he loves solving problems and is proud to work for a college that provides such a unique student experience.
“I went to a brick and mortar school,” said McKinney. “If it wasn’t business hours, you were not talking to anyone. Some colleges even have students manning the phones. At Rasmussen College, we’re all college graduates and know what students need.”
McKinney says some calls last two minutes. Others can take hours. One time, he sat on the phone with a student while the student delivered an entire speech.
“He tried five times to record his speech, and every time he finished the file was too big and his computer would freeze,” said McKinney. “I sat on mute and watched him do his speech, so in the end he could submit it on time and get his grade.”
That one-on-one support extends beyond the personal support center. Up next in our five-part series on student support, you’ll hear from a librarian and academic tutor on how they work to ensure every student reaches his or her goals.
Did you miss part two? Click here to read how program managers and student financial services advisors support students.