NCU Your Degree, Your Way Wed, 27 May 2020 21:30:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 NCU 32 32 Watch Out for the Cheater Chasers at Online Schools Fri, 08 May 2020 23:56:57 +0000 When it comes to writing papers and taking tests, the temptation to find a shortcut…or maybe cheat just a little…can be almost overwhelming.

According to an article in U.S. News & World Report, the temptation is even stronger for many students attending school online – no one is standing right in the room with them when they study or take a test, after all.

For international students, there can also be cultural differences that promote plagiarism (considered cheating in the U.S.) that lead students to make authenticity mistakes.

At New Charter University, we have tools in place that not only help to catch “cheaters” but also help us more accurately identify errors (like citations) so we can provide needed support.

Many of these tools are outlined in this article.

For example, New Charter employs online proctoring services for exams.  In fact, there have been instances when students mouth words and the proctor raised a red flag because it appeared the student was talking to someone else. The student verified that no one was in the room by panning the camera around the room.  He was reading aloud to himself.

Content/plagiarism checker:

Before students submit their written assignments for evaluation, they are required to submit their work through  It compares every word written to most everything on the world wide web, AND to all student work submitted to the site.

It generates a report showing all matches!  And yes, the evaluators look at those reports.  And if a paper has more than 30% matching other sources and/or does not properly cite the sources, the student’s work will be rejected.

As the article says, most of the time when there is a problem, it is usually inadvertent and a little bit of training on paraphrasing and citations will do the trick for the rest of their college writing career.

Sometimes, it takes a lot more training. And, though rare, sometimes repeat offenders require more severe consequences.  (Students don’t want that and the university does not want that. )

Human evaluators:  Live people are grading the written assignments.  Many times it is the same person who grades all the assignments for a given course.  They will know when they have seen the paper before.

There are even staff tasked with chasing down cheaters…and they search beyond the confines of the school’s systems.  I promise, you do not want them investigating you.

The main tip from this article?  Just do your own work.  It not only will cause fewer problems as you get through school, but also leaves your integrity and dignity in tact.

And those characteristics will have more power in your career than any diploma ever can.

Think you might be a good fit for an online degree?  Check out our programs at

New Charter University. Your degree. Your way.

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Meet Your Instructor: Deryl Gulliford Tue, 05 May 2020 17:16:42 +0000 Deryl Gulliford has a long history in healthcare, having begun his career as a Respiratory Therapist and Cardiovascular Perfusionist. “I love science and technology,” he explained, “and I love working with patients, so medicine was a natural connection for me.”

Asked about his time at New Charter University, Deryl responded, “I have been with NCU since 2002, before it was even named NCU! I’ve taught a diversity of management and leadership courses over the years, but my favorite courses to teach are those dealing with healthcare leadership. My own career has focused on managing hospitals and leading a variety of different medical facilities. That continues to be my special interest. I love to see students advancing in their healthcare careers, and that has happened often here at NCU!”

Deryl initially studied at Ohio State University and completed his clinical training at Cleveland Clinic. After earning his MHA degree, he moved into administration, serving as CEO of four different hospitals over the years, in Ohio, Kansas, and Oklahoma. One highlight was his experience in building a completely new hospital in Kansas. “What a learning experience that was, from architecture, design, funding, and construction,” Deryl recalled. “It was a five-year process, resulting in a beautiful new facility for the community of Hugoton, KS. My hospital made the Top 100 Hospitals list of Modern Healthcare magazine.”

Another achievement during Deryl’s career was being elected William Newcomer Healthcare Executive of the Year in 2005 by his peers in healthcare leadership. “It is a full-time job keeping up with healthcare, but that is why it remains interesting for an entire career,” Deryl related. “I am nearing 30 years as CEO, and every year has been interesting and challenging.”

Asked about the COVID-19 virus and the widely varying information relayed by the media and other sources across the United States, Deryl explained, “Right now, the guidance we are receiving to help flatten the curve is exactly right. We must break the chain of virus transmission and allow this pandemic to burn itself out. That happens with all viral epidemics; they are self-limited. But we can all play a role in influencing how much harm they do until the self-limit is reached. Stay home as much as possible; wash hands thoroughly and frequently; wear a good quality mask when leaving the home. And use high-quality hand sanitizer when handwashing is not feasible.” He added, “In terms of boosting personal immunity, there is good evidence that supplementing zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Echinacea all do help!”

When Deryl is not working, he and wife Terrie love to travel. They have visited 22 different nations so far, and every U.S. state except Alaska. Deryl said, “More trips are planned. That is certainly shut down at this time, but we will be back on the road in 2021. We also love to golf and cook out together.” Deryl and Terrie have “three great kids in their 20s, Jacob, Carrie, and Lorrie. And three awesome grandkids, Makina, Eva, and Kendra. I am so fortunate to have this happy, healthy family,” Deryl shared proudly. He said they also have numerous dogs and cats – “too many to name!”

Deryl expressed that students should seriously consider a career in healthcare, saying “The healthcare community is making the most of online learning as a way to earn credentials and advance in the field. So take full advantage of the opportunities there. And you will never be sorry to be in the healthcare profession. The need is great and growing; the aging of America’s baby boomers is driving that and will continue to drive it for the next 30 years. If you want a job you will love and continue to love, pick healthcare!”

New Charter University. Your degree. Your way.

Think you might be a good fit for an online degree?  Check out our programs at

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Our Favorite APA Writing Style Shortcuts Fri, 01 May 2020 01:57:36 +0000 Since college is often the first (and only) place that many people will need to use the writing style set forth by the American Psychological Association (APA), the method is often new…and can be rather confusing.

In the U.S., one ubiquitous method for determining a student’s comprehension of concepts is written essays. Papers. Along with original thoughts and explanations of concepts, students are required to support their analysis with outside resources.

APA style not only guides the tone and formatting of the page, but deals heavily with how to properly cite the relevant resources. For many students, the precision of APA style can make the production of a paper downright painful.

Albert Einstein is credited with saying,

“I do not have to know everything. I just need to know where to find it when I need it.”

In that spirit, let us share a couple of our favorite resources for assisting students with APA style for their papers.

1. Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab)

Purdue is excellent at teaching writing styles and this web site is loaded with answers to all your APA questions. Prefer video? While their web site is more comprehensive, you can also check out their tutorials on Purdue’s YouTube Channel.

2. Citation Machine

There are few different reliable citation generator applications out in the cybersphere. Whichever one you choose, this is a quick way to get the citation information ordered correctly – for both the reference page and in-text citations.

But even with this tool, students still have some important responsibilities:

  1. Be sure you have all the relevant information from the source (author, title, publishing date, access date, etc.)
  2. Be sure you enter the title according to APA capitalization rules. (Hint: Not every word in a title is capitalized. Check the rules first.)
  3. Be sure to place both the in-text citations and the full citation in the appropriate places. For example, the full citations are to be listed in alphabetical order on the References page of your paper.


Feel free to use these shortcuts on your papers as you work toward your college degree.

Check out our programs to see which is best for you.

New Charter University. Your degree. Your way.

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Are YOU right for Online College? Mon, 27 Apr 2020 05:18:21 +0000 When people want to improve their lives, getting additional training/education in something (whether it is a college degree or a trade certification) is often an integral part of that path.

Online schools are becoming increasingly popular due to their convenience of time and place for education.  Who wouldn’t want to be able to learn more, become better qualified for the dream job or promotion without having to sacrifice what is already in their lives?

So while you may be scouring the Internet looking for the program that is right for you…you might also want to consider whether you are right for online schooling.

What?!  Yes!  Because online college is not the best choice for everyone.

Here are a few things to consider.

1.  Will you have access to the technology you will need?

This includes a computer with sufficiently current software and adequate Internet connection speeds. Be sure to check the college’s technology requirements in advance.

2. Do you have and can you operate the software programs required?

How skilled are you at navigating the Internet,  using word processing software, spreadsheets, presentations?  Creating videos?

While Microsoft Office is most commonly used, you can get these same types of applications for free when you download Apache’s Open Office.

Can you learn software programs with a little training? You will need to learn how to use the university’s course management software so you can access assignments, submit work for authenticity checks, turn it in for evaluation, take online exams, or even participate with online exam proctoring.  Just some things to keep in mind.

3. Do you reasonably have the needed time (5-10 hours/week) to study? 

You want to be painfully honest about this one.  If you cannot consistently make this kind of time in your schedule, you may want to wait until you can.  There is no sense spending money on an education when it is not feasible for you to commit to it.

Contrary to skeptic misconception, not every university is in it for only the money.  If they cannot produce graduates, they risk reputation and accreditation. So, they are very interested in helping students complete their degrees in a timely fashion.

4. How motivated are you to stick with your program?

Can you stay motivated for a few years?  For most people, that goal that is just beyond getting their degree or certificate carries a lot of weight.  Is it enough to carry you through those late night study sessions (and the ensuing sleep deprivation)? Or going to school during the summer? Or struggling to grasp the concepts in a new subject? Or when life’s hiccups inevitably occur?

Your motivation needs to be stronger than the struggle.

5. Do you possess the discipline needed to be a self-directed learner?

This is also really important.  Some online programs are simply an online version of a traditional brick-and-mortar classroom and that model works well for many, but the caveat is that you don’t have as much flexibility or the option to accelerate as you do with competency-based education models.

In the latter model, you have advisers to help keep you on track and you have instructors to provide academic scaffolding for you.  But because they cannot see your eyes glaze over when you do not understand something, they cannot discern when you need help.  Students bear the responsibility of reaching out to the instructors when assistance is needed.  It is simple, and it is surprising how many students are unwilling to ask for help.

6. Do you have a sufficient support system?

Whether you are single, married, in a relationship…going back to school is tough. You will have to make tough choices about where to spend your time and when.  You will have to prioritize study over play at times. When you have support people and systems in place to help pick up a little slack, it will make handling your additional load more manageable. Keep in mind that it is temporary.

Please also be aware that these important people will need your acknowledgement of and gratitude for their efforts.  Without this part, the strain of school can sometimes overwhelm relationships. We don’t want that to happen.

7. Do you have a plan for paying for school?

Notice, I wrote “plan” — not “money.”  Let’s be frank. Most people who go back to school are looking for a way to make more money.  Whether it is through a better job, a career change, or a promotion, INCOME is a big motivator!  No shame in that. We are eager to help you get there!  Really!!

One of the big benefits of online schools is that there are an increasing number of them that are bucking the trend of hiking tuition and are able to keep prices low. While most students probably do not have a wad of cash sitting around to pay for school, these low cost institutions can be so affordable that you may be able to pay as you go. (Wouldn’t that be terrific?! No debt.)

But if you still need help, ask to speak to an admissions or financial counselor about options such as scholarships (many are need-based), work-study programs, preferred student loan options, etc.

The point is, do not let money stand in the way of you achieving your dream.  Work with the school’s financial counselors to find the best way for you to pay for your education.



So, as you are considering online schools to help you get where you want to go (and make what you want to make), please also examine whether your skills and circumstances will enable you to succeed.

To discuss your educational goals and your particular situation with an admissions counselor at New Charter University, apply now.

New Charter University. Your degree. Your way.

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What it is really like to be an online college student Sun, 19 Apr 2020 02:09:29 +0000 People choose to get their college degrees online because it is convenient and can fit into their existing lives. And there is a very good reason for that.

A study by Noel-Levitz confirmed what online university’s already know:  that most online college students…

  • are between the ages of 25 and 44.
  • are employed full-time.
  • are married (50% of respondents).
  • have children (35% of respondents).

Life is already super busy.  With all the demands already, just to provide for yourself and your family, online schooling provides the means for squeezing in one more thing.

We won’t kid you.  It is a lot to have on your plate all at once. It requires some sacrifices…and is absolutely worth it to get that degree.

So, what is it really like to have all these demands on your time and to be a online college student too?

U.S. News & World Report interviewed Amber Brehmer, an online college student, to find out. Here is what they reported.

1. Why did you decide to take online classes?  

The number one reason I went back to school online was because of my daughter. We don’t put my daughter in day care, so my husband and I actually work opposite shifts so we don’t have to do day care.

I wasn’t willing to take that extra time away from her and put her somewhere where she wasn’t going to be around her family. I wanted to figure out a way where I could still learn and not have to sit in a classroom.

I didn’t benefit from having a teacher standing there talking to me. With the online school, it’s all reading and it’s visual and that’s the way I learn.

2. What have been the drawbacks of taking online classes? 

It does take up a lot of your time, for the most part. It’s always going; it’s a year-round thing. You may get a month off here and a month of there, but as far as planning vacations, you have to plan your vacations around your school or expect to still be doing school work because you can’t make things up.

You do have to stay on task because it is so accelerated you can’t really just leave it and then come back. There are a lot of components that you have to do on a daily basis. So being able to step away can be a drawback.

3. Can you describe your typical day? 

I wake up at 4 a.m., and leave for work at 4:30. I start work at 5 a.m. and work until 1:30 p.m., five days a week. I take my lunches and any breaks to do my school work. I do as much as I possibly can during those times.

When I get home, I take care of my daughter. On days that she does nap, I’ll do school while she’s napping for about an hour and a half. If she doesn’t nap, we’ll give her an hour a day of TV time, so we sit down, and she gets to watch her TV while I do my school work. … Monday through Thursday, I go to bed at the same time as her, around 9 p.m.

On Friday nights, I’m up until 11:30 p.m. or 12 a.m., and will do school work and watch TV at the same time. On Saturdays, my husband is around for a couple hours in the morning, so I’ll do my school work on Saturday mornings. All my homework is due on Saturday at midnight, so I’ll do work from 9 to 11 p.m., if there is work I need to finish up before it’s due.

4. How many hours of school work do you complete each week?  

Throughout the week, I work probably two to three hours every day. On Fridays, I take a little bit more time because I do work after my daughter goes to bed, which takes probably closer to five hours. Then, I work between three to six hours on Saturdays and Sundays.

5. What are the challenges of balancing your job, school and family? 

I keep feeling like there’s not enough hours in the day. Being on a set schedule at work, I feel like I’m not getting enough done at work, and I can’t stay later because I have to get home to take care of my daughter. … This is my only child–we’re not having any more–so I want to be able to spend as much time as I possibly can with her. There have been times when I have school work to do, but I want to spend time with my daughter.

You’re almost in a mental struggle at times as to what’s going to be better to do at that point in time. It’s kind of a realization that this is short term; I’m only going to school for a couple of years. Then, after that, I’ll be able to benefit and better myself for her and be there for her later on.


So how does this sound?  It is busy, to be sure.  The good news is more than 25% of college students are taking on the challenge and succeeding.

New Charter University is ready to help you earn that degree.  Whether it is a bachelors, masters, or a full-stack coding certification, you can get your education conveniently, affordably, and more quickly than you might imagine.

Check out our degree programs.

Apply Now to connect with our admissions team to discuss your individual situation.

New Charter University. Your degree. Your way.

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Learning How to Learn for Online Students Mon, 13 Apr 2020 15:26:55 +0000 Believe it or not, learning is a skill…and it can be learned.

When you choose to get a degree from an online university — especially one with a competency-based education model — knowing how YOU learn best will make a big difference in your experience.

First, and this may seem obvious, you need to know how to use a computer and a variety of different software applications such as word processors, spreadsheets, presentations, video creation/editing.

Then, you also need to learn the school’s applications for your program, your courses, your exams, and other ancillary systems.

Next, you can start digging in to learning the subjects that are core components of your education.

Now, while you are usually provided with instructions for how to do most anything required for school, and you have instructors, advisers, and peers that are available to you through online means (and even phone calls), as an online student, much of your work will be done on your own during hours that are most available/possible for you. (For many, that will be the middle of the night. We completely understand.)

This is called “independent learning” and it is a skill that the most successful university students develop.  It is also, for many, more challenging than they might suppose. Yes, online education is convenient and straightforward, but not necessarily easy.

We won’t kid you, being an online student is tough.  Your life is already full, and you commit to sacrifices in order to earn that college degree that will make new opportunities and dreams possible.  It will take some time to complete (though with acceleration options at New Charter, you can complete your degree faster and save money.)

Setting yourself up for success in learning will enable you to make the most of your online education.

New Charter’s Sue LeBeau, Ph.D. shares some sensible strategies for learning as an online student.

LeBeau says that a clear understanding of how the learning process works is critical to helping yourself learn. She discusses four phases of the learning cycle.

  1. Be Prepared
  2. Absorb Information/Knowledge
  3. Capture the Knowledge
  4. Review



Even though you are not physically attending a class, you still must be ready to learn. Know the real reason you want this degree; your “why” — and how the course fits into that future. This will keep you going.  When it comes to tasks, look over your course early, set a schedule for your study, set appropriately paced goals, and then stick to it.

It sounds easy enough. But inevitably, life will do its best to derail you. Do your best to stay on track. And remember you have a support team at school who can help.



Especially in online school, you will need to do a lot of reading.  Be sure that you are comprehending what you are reading as you go.  Our minds tend to get distracted easily, so you want to try to eliminate distractions before you start to study. (Yes, that includes occupying children so you can concentrate.)

One student found that reading while exercising on a stair climber machine at the gym helped her to read more rapidly and focus better on the material.

Incidentally, did you know that adjusting the speed of videos can improve your comprehension?  When learning in your native language, speeding up a video can help you focus and absorb more information. (Plus it saves you valuable time.)  When learning in a second language, playing the video slower can improve understanding and comprehension of the material as well.

If there are online videos in your course materials, you may want to take advantage of a video speed controller extension for your browser (like Chrome Video Speed Controller) or for YouTube.



As you read, you need an effective way to physically capture the knowledge.  There are a variety of ways to do this, and it should be something that works for you.

For example, taking notes with a pen and paper, taking notes on a laptop or tablet, taking photos of important figures with a smartphone, using a highlighter (either digitally or on paper).

The most important thing is that you find the note-taking system that works best for you and employ it consistently.



To reinforce what you are learning, reviewing the information that is most important to remember will go a long way to prepare you for your assessments and exams.  Review the key topics in your course outline.  Link the concepts to something you are familiar with or something in your life.

One business student studying marketing took each marketing concept and found examples in the automobile industry that he could recognize from his consumer perspective.

Repetition in the review is also a useful way to commit concepts to memory.  Using study aids (like paper or electronic flashcards), creating a cheat sheet (though you cannot use it during your exam), or reviewing the material in an usual physical setting (like standing on a chair) are a few ways to help you reinforce what you are learning.


As an online student, the convenience of your education means that you will be learning independently for most of your degree program.  Understanding the process of learning, implementing strategies that work for you, and having a faculty support system to help, will get your journey off to a great start!

We cannot wait to celebrate with you at graduation!

Are you ready to start your educational journey?  We are ready when you are!
(Literally, you can start your degree program pretty much anytime at New Charter.)

Check out our bachelors and masters degree programsApply Now.

New Charter University. Your degree. Your way.

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How Online Students Can Beat Burnout (& what New Charter is doing about it) Mon, 06 Apr 2020 22:48:53 +0000 Being an online student is way more challenging than most people realize.  Part of the reason people choose online schooling is because they can fit it into the nooks and crannies of their already full schedules.

While they know it won’t last forever, and they are whole-heartedly committed to the sacrifice required, let’s face it — adding college to full-time work, family, and other commitments is a daunting undertaking that will strain the student as well as their relationships.  And that is nothing to take lightly.

Since adult online students are burning the candle from both ends…and in the middle too…BURNOUT is a reality that most will face.

So what can be done to prevent it?  Or manage it once you are already burned out?

John Moore, Ph.D. is a professor of health sciences at online American Public University System.  He offers a lot of really great tips for recognizing burnout and dealing with it in this article.

RECOGNIZE BURNOUT – While burnout can mirror other health conditions, most people feel overwhelmed, fatigued, powerless, irritable, and detached from schoolwork. So it may be worthwhile to get a physical to rule out any medical issues.

MANAGE BURNOUT – Moore suggests an honest assessment of the demands in your life, setting boundaries, say “no” to additional demands, designating time for school and sticking to it, among other things.  And yes, this means you are going to have to step off the rapidly-spinning merry-go-round to do some of this. It will be worth it.

Another suggestion he makes is to modify your school workload and gives the example of reducing the number of complex courses a student takes at one time.

AT NEW CHARTER UNIVERSITY, we know that adult online students can get overwhelmed and burned out by adding school to their busy lives.  It reduces the student’s chances to succeed and complete his/her desired degree.  The entire focus of our work is to help you earn your degree!

This type of struggle is precisely why we have designed our programs and tuition structure the way we have.

Students pay for only their first class in a term.  Once they complete that class, they can accelerate by adding another and another class – at no additional cost; focusing on just one class at a time during the semester.

If the student completes only that first class during the term, (s)he has had a successful term! We celebrate that!

If you can accelerate and complete more than one class in a term, we celebrate that too!

And since accelerating is free, the more courses you can complete in one term, the less your degree will cost you!

That said, the top priority is to ensure your success first with just one class at a time.

With this kind of flexibility, each student can find — and be successful — moving at their own unique pace.

(And that is an important part of YOUR success.)

Click the APPLY NOW button to find out more about how New Charter University can help you achieve your goal of earning that degree…while preventing burnout.


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What Employers Really Want Mon, 06 Apr 2020 01:26:52 +0000 A report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers shows the results of a survey that asked member businesses what qualities they look for in their college graduates.

Want to know what they said?

Well, more than having a high grade point average, employers are looking for people who can tactfully work with a team to solve problems!

And if you consider how most businesses operate, this makes a lot of sense.

Most any business, at its core, exists to provide a solution for a problem. And figuring out effective and efficient ways to support the many issues that arise in the course of doing business, and creating innovative solutions to keep moving forward….well, it all requires problem-solving skills. And the problems most businesses encounter are more complex than the tidy theoretical models learned about in school. Not to knock those. They are a great start.

Now, with a college degree, job candidates are telling hiring managers that they possess the foundational knowledge required to perform the duties of a given position.

A bonus of completing your degree through a competency-based educational institution (like New Charter University) is that, by its very nature, students must demonstrate competence. In our humble opinion, that is more valuable than demonstrating you can sit in a class for a requisite number of weeks. (Just sayin’.)

But just having the degree does not tell the employer how effective you are at creative problem-solving or how well you work in a team.

So, as you are tailoring your resume for that next interview, carefully consider how you might highlight and demonstrate the sought after qualities outlined in the NACE report.


And if you need a FLEXIBLE and truly AFFORDABLE way to get that (accredited) COLLEGE DEGREE (where you have demonstrated your competence), check out our Associates, Bachelors, and Masters programs at

New Charter University. Your degree…your way.

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Portraits of Institutional Practice Thu, 26 Mar 2020 22:03:27 +0000 “New Charter University (NCU) is an attempt to build a new online, for-profit school fully designed
around CBE principles. Unlike other institutions aspiring to expand existing CBE programs, NCU
has had the advantage of building its courses, programs, and departments from the bottom
up. This approach is reflected in NCU’s name and branding: its URL is simply “”, and
its marketing and promotional efforts invite prospective students to experience “a new you,”
“education uncomplicated,” or “a university designed for you.””

Deconstructing CBE_NewCharter_Final (4)

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Delivering a Strong Customer Experience Is No Longer a Choice, But a Necessity Mon, 23 Mar 2020 08:58:43 +0000

Though debate still rages around whether or not to treat students like customers inside the walls of the academy, most learners have already made up their minds. With the majority of today’s students designated as non-traditional learners, their expectations line up more closely to those of a consumer making a major purchase. That’s not to say they’re looking to “buy a degree”—simply that they want to be regarded as customers and treated with the respect that comes with that title. In this interview, Diane Johnson reflects on some of the factors that have led to this shift and shares a few ways that college and university leaders can ensure their institutions are meeting the needs of today’s students.

The EvoLLLution (Evo): Why does the customer experience stand out more for non-traditional students than for 18- to 22-year-olds, fresh out of high school?

Diane Johnson (DJ): Non-traditional students are usually adults who have some life experience and are dealing with day-to-day life challenges. To balance their work and life responsibilities they must prioritize how they use their time and resources.

They view college through the lens of a consumer who is buying service. For them, schooling is one of many services they use. Non-traditional students will make choices about what services are the best option for their time and money. Therefore, exceptional customer service practices are essential for universities to be competitive with this large segment of the market.

A traditional 18- to 22-year-old student seeking a college experience typically is immersed in that campus-based life experience. Attending classes and earning credit is just one part of their entire experience so institutions might be able to get away with weaker customer service in some areas if there are strong draws in others. Another factor is that 18- to 22-year-olds who go to college right out of high school don’t yet recognize the power they have as a consumer. They often have someone else paying the bill and they are acculturated to be a bit dependent at this stage. They have been the student who submits to the will of the teacher or school system. They tend to be more accustomed to putting up with poor customer service in schools because they don’t have many choices during that time.

Though young students may be inexperienced and unaware of their position as a consumer, universities of integrity should provide an excellent customer experience for all students.

Evo: How have advances in the eCommerce space impacted the expectations of non-traditional students when it comes to their postsecondary customer experience?

DJ: Advances in the eCommerce space have increased the expectation of high levels of autonomy to be able to manage the fiscal and academic transactions associated with their schooling. Non-traditional students expect their schools to offer a one-stop technology-hosted self-service space. They expect easy to find and use eCommerce options for application processing, tuition and fee payment, course registration, learning environments, library services, and transcript purchases. Students also expect to be able to rent or buy reasonably priced digital texts and resources instead of buying expensive printed text books.

Non-traditional students expect these options to be available through online school bookstore interfaces or to have the option of acquiring through Amazon, Chegg, and similar sites. There is also an expectation of the ability to use cloud-based tools such as Microsoft 365, Dropbox, and other technology-hosted tools whether they must purchase them independently or they are included in their fees.

Evo: When we’re talking about customer service in the postsecondary context, what are we talking about?

DJ: Customer service in the postsecondary context refers to the philosophies, practices and tools employed when interacting with students, potential students and alumni. It refers to the way that institutions view and treat the individuals they serve.

Good customer service includes integrity in the quality of program offerings. It includes timeliness in responding to student inquiries and issues. Good customer service ensures that all students are treated with respect and genuine regard. It includes the tone that is used when speaking to a student. Customer service includes anticipating user experience issues that could create barriers for student success or convenience and eliminating those. Customer service includes eliminating wasteful or inefficient practices that drive up costs and diminish the student experience. Customer service means that representatives of an institution always conduct themselves in a professional and respectable manner.

Evo: How do you respond to critics who worry that focusing on customer service outside the classroom would negatively impact the academic quality of an institution?

DJ: Academic quality and customer service must go hand in hand. If it doesn’t, the institution should re-examine its policies and practices.

When an institution is genuinely committed to the academic quality that comes from sound research activities and academic programs, it must value the students who make it all possible through their tuition dollars. To ignore the material contributions of students is to demonstrate a form of arrogant disregard that is unbecoming of an institution of higher learning.

Taking good care of students as the paying customers they are will foster the continued flow of tuition now and in the future when they become alumni. Further, when schools value students as customers deserving of exceptional customer service, they will strive to ensure that the academic and research products they offer to customers is of the highest quality.

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