News and Events

Fresh Eyes Please

October 25, 2013
Written by Mark Keller, director of college advancement
Featured in"On Campus" in the Medicine Hat News

Dear parents of college students:

Please tell me how we could have helped more as your son or daughter stepped from high school to our campus.

Fresh eyes and opinions are helpful and I’m quite interested in what parents have to say. Even after working in one college or another for over 25 years I learned quite a lot as members of my own family navigated the post-secondary system.  

This fall, for example, my son moved into residence at a university, yes, with two years of transfer credit from MHC. The smart, helpful people at the university had predicted our confusion and helped out by using portable signs to point the way to the residence office and various building. That was nice.  

But a few years back, my daughter had surfed another school’s website looking for a particular program. When she reported that it was no longer offered I checked the site myself and found they simply hadn’t changed the dates from the previous year. My daughter’s assumption was reasonable and it almost cost that school a student.  

And I know that my son’s first choice university lost him as a student because by the time they sent a letter of acceptance, he was accepted, registered and booked into residence someplace else. One school’s processes provided information and support; the other’s left him in limbo.  

The common thread in these examples is the challenge that comes from trying to meet the information needs of people who can’t possibly have our campus ‘insiders’ knowledge of dates, times, processes, people to see and places to go.  

All of this has me attempting to look at MHC with fresh eyes. I felt pretty good seeing our signs when I returned to campus after helping my son move, but on the other hand, I already know where to look to find the signs. If I don’t know something, I at least know who to ask. If the website is outdated I can do something about that. My insider eyes do a very poor job of seeing the college clearly for the first time.  

What I really need is the perspective of parents who entrusted MHC with a student or two this fall. Did we confuse you, help you, assure you or worry you? I really would appreciate your thoughts because a parent is a vital part of the support network that prepares a student for college, and helps them thrive, too. You matter.  

Feel free to share your thoughts with me.