June 20, 2009- As a growing company, our Vice President of Human Resources has the opportunity to meet a variety of candidates from entry level applicants to prospective senior managers. Essentially, she gets to introduce these folks to all that is ConnectEDU. And of course, after each interview, she routinely receives a note or email of thanks. One recent candidate delivered more than the perfunctory thank you note, which got our attention for a few reasons. I wanted to share it:
I wanted to thank you for asking me to interview for the position at ConnectEDU yesterday. I hope you’ll agree that my experience and qualifications make me well suited to help the company further its mission among the high school market. Whether or not I am asked to move forward in the hiring process, I wanted to let you know how I value the efforts that the Company is making to change what can be a confusing process for young people. Coincidentally, after we met, I was speaking to my stepsister about the job and I learned she used ConnectEDU this year for her college planning.
Beth and I discussed how different our processes were and, although we briefly discussed this in our interview, I wanted to elaborate and let you know that I understand the problem ConnectEDU is trying to solve on a personal level. I graduated in the top 10% of my senior class and ran cross-country for four years; was captain my senior year. I also wrote for the school newspaper. I had decent SAT scores and my counselor told me that Syracuse had a good communications program; evidently his wife’s cousin went there and had a great job at a daily newspaper. After reading through countless guidebooks and checking out websites, I made it my goal to get admitted into the Newhouse School at Syracuse.
When it was time to apply I filled out a hard copy of the application, wrote a touching essay about some personal issues going on in my life at the time, and ordered my transcripts through my counselor’s office. I did the same thing six more times for six other college applications. That was in December. Then I waited.
The holidays passed and my friends who applied early decision were celebrating, and some were crying. In January, someone from a loan company came to our school for a financial aid presentation. I scrambled to fill out the FAFSA. February came and I still waited. In March I started to receive letters in the mail from the six schools who accepted me. They were all state schools in New England so I was pretty confident I’d get in and actually relieved when I did. Newhouse (Syracuse) was my reach school.
By April, I was tired of opening the mailbox looking for something from Syracuse. I decided to call someone there to check on my status. After about a week of phone calls back and forth, I learned that materials were missing from my application file. The reason it took so long to get an answer was someone had entered my name as Connor not Conner and I was not showing up on the computer. With that fixed we were able to determine that my mid-semester transcripts had not arrived even though the counseling office secretary said it had been mailed. I have no idea where it got lost on its way, but I ended up having one sent (over-night, priority). I saw the receiving signature so I know it got there.
Long story short, I did get admitted. Unfortunately, for me it was too late as I was told the institutional aid had already been distributed and my parents were not willing to take out the giant loans I would have needed for my first year. I went to University of New Hampshire instead and ended up transferring as a sophomore to Syracuse. It was a winding path, but I guess it all worked out in the end.
Before I interviewed with ConnectEDU and talked to my stepsister, I thought what happened to me was just the way things were. Then Beth logged onto Connect! on her laptop and pulled up the search schools section. Now I know why she didn’t need my 4-inch thick guidebooks. Every college in the country was catalogued and accessible with a click. She already had a list of schools that matched her personal criteria and each school had personal comments and suggestions from her guidance counselor. My jaw dropped.
Then she clicked onto something called the “application manager”, she showed me which schools had received her application documents and when… these were the same documents that, for me, got lost. Another jaw-dropper.
I always wondered why Beth never asked me for help applying to college, and now I know. I just wanted you to know that I wish I had Connect! when I was going through this process. I’m glad Beth and high schoolers like Beth have this technology to change the process and make a complicated task, less complex…and less stressful. I hope I can become a part of that change. Thank you again and I look forward to hearing from you soon.