|photo credit: ter-whenigrowup.blogspot.com|
I've decided that college these days is rough.
And surprisingly, I am not referring to the classes.
I'm referring to the advisors, counselors, cashier's offices, registration processes...pretty much everything to do with college is a confusing mess, except the classes.
I am a college educated (okay so it was a few years ago when I went off to school) person. But what I don't understand is how they expect kids to navigate their own way through the college system nowadays.
Institutions of higher learning now have some privacy thing where the parents are not allowed to know what is going on with their kids. I still don't get why, or why a student can't sign a form that says "Yes," please let my parents assist in advising me. After all, the majority of the parents, pay the bills. So why can't we know. It frustrates me to no end.
Yesterday I may have figured this scam out.
I offered to help a friend of mine who has been struggling for a couple years to understand her options at a local university, and before she throws away 6 years of college and starts something completely new, I wanted to help her get the whole scoop. So, I went with her to her advisor meeting.
Let me preface this by saying, I was prepared to sit and listen, and only intervene when my friend did not understand something. What was interesting to me is that once introduced, the advisor suddenly began talking directly to me...and for lack of a better word, backpeddling. She started pulling up documents, checking records and then, as she looked at these documents, she began to visibly panic. She even went so far as to ask my friend if she'd ever even met with her before.
Um... yes she has. With you, here, twice, maybe three times already.
"No that can't be, why I wouldn't have advised you to do this, I would have told you to do this...."
I thought it was a very interesting reaction, seeing as how I hadn't yet said a word, except hello and wow you must have went on spring break because you are really tan.
So why the panic? Well, like I said, I think I have figured out the scam.
Colleges don't let parents in on anything, so they can then make more money. That's the scam. Because kids don't ask good questions, or are afraid to, they only undesrtand half the info advisors throw out, and then as a result things like what happened to my friend, happen.
My friend had been advised to retake the same class 4 times by this advisor. (Well 5 really but we won't count that one time because she dropped it in time to get a refund.) Yep, 4 times. And guess what?...there is apparently a rule that in college if you take a class over again, they take your most recent grade even if it was lower than the first time you took it. Yep, you can pay again....and again...and again...and again and still not get back to the first grade you got. Crazy, right?
I finally spoke up....why is this, I asked? Oh, the advisor said, it's always been this way.
Um no, pretty sure it wasn't that way back in the dark ages when I went to college
...And then she likened the process to double dipping?
Double dipping... How?
Why? Even the ACT test lets you take the test over and over again, if you want to pay for it, and they take your best score, not your most recent.
How can it possibly be considered cheating to take a class again, and pay for it, but not be allowed to use the best grade you got, whether or not it was your most recent?
Moving on... okay let's consider the notion of cheating. I believe that some advisors are cheating students out of hard earned tuition money or forcing kids/parents to take out big loans for what really amounts to bad advice. Or how about we call it, not very well researched advice.
Now I get that advisors are busy people. But there is no way you are going to tell me that this advisor was doing her job to the best of her ability when her advice involved taking a class over 4 times, while each time the grade went down, getting my friend farther from her goal. Something is rotten in Denmark.
If advisors are not going to help our children, then we, the parents should be allowed back in the loop to do just that. I figure if I have been confused in the last two years by the various processes at three local colleges and universities helping other kids/friends, then how can students be expected to navigate this system alone?
I'm no brainiac but I am fairly intelligent and old to boot. Wait... I meant seasoned and wise and experienced. I have a pretty good head on my shoulders. I figure if I can't grasp something, then it hasn't been sufficiently explained or presented correctly, and I can almost guarantee that I am not the only one who doesn't get it.
People, I think there is a problem with our institutions of higher learning.
My friend is still trying to figure her situation out. The advice she received at the end of our meeting was to talk to a professor in the department of that pesky class, to see what could be done. She did that today.
That professor's answer was to suggest that she take a different class, not the one she has taken 4 times already, and casually mentioned she will need to get an A- in the class in order to proceed.
Really? First off, I think this advice comes just a little too late. And second, can you say s-c-a-m?