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Which large public schools are easiest to deal with?

Moonshot99Moonshot99 97 replies30 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
I spoke with a parent who said that dealing with administrative issues - e.g., getting questions answered on move-in process, orientation, dorm quality issues, etc. - for his son at one large state university was a nightmare. He described their customer service attitude as "take it or leave it". (I choose not to identify this school, but it is a well-known public flagship in the mid-west)

However, handling such issues was a breeze at the flagship state university his daughter attends (Alabama). He said Alabama made a real effort to get you what you needed and that the difference in the two schools was night and day.

What has been your experience with large public schools? Which large universities have you found to be "customer oriented" and which have been more in the "take it or leave it" category?
16 replies
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Replies to: Which large public schools are easiest to deal with?

  • momocarlymomocarly 888 replies11 threadsRegistered User Member
    Kansas State is totally customer oriented. Neither my son nor I have had any trouble getting the info we needed from very happy sounding and helpful people!
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7000 replies50 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Purdue has excellent communication with parents.
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  • wis75wis75 14031 replies62 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Wisconsin great. SOAR parent session worthwhile even for UW alumni.

    btw- it your adult child, not you, the school should be dealing with. However, parents can use a lot of info to smooth the process.
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  • thumper1thumper1 74357 replies3254 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    At most colleges, your student will need to sign a release so that you parents can communicate with the college. Make sure you get that done!
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7000 replies50 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Thumper1's post makes me want to clarify what I mean by "excellent communication with parents".

    Purdue expects everything to be student directed. Students can give parents access to final semester grades and billing, but the school expects their students to be adults.

    That said, there was a parent FB group that was moderated by admissions staff from the time of acceptance until the start of classes. Then the FB group moderation was taken over by other parents and will now last until graduation. Admission staff fielded all kinds of questions, responded to IMs, and were incredibly informative and helpful. Purdue also ran weekly live chats for parents on various topics, sometimes led by admissions, others by the deans, other times by students.

    There were parent sessions during course registration that were concurrent to students meeting individually with their advisors that addressed everything from safety to how to parent a college student.

    We also receive weekly parent newsletters from the dorm, monthly university mailings, and there is a twitter feed for parents regarding what's happening on campus along with emergency alerts.

    They also have a parent liaison in the dean of student services office in case there is an emergency with your student or in your family. All reports in our parent group about the liaison have been extremely positive.

    We also have a "Townie Mom" group that is AMAZING. They provide a ton of resources, and also bake cookies and do gifts that parents can buy and have delivered (proceeds go to the food bank) but they will also step in during emergency health crises. Last year a townie mom drove a student to/from Indy for an emergency medical treatment that could only happen there. Parents were across the country.

    That's not to say that everything runs perfectly and people don't get upset about housing assignments, course schedules, difficulty of courses, etc..... but I've been really impressed so far.
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  • MidwestmomofboysMidwestmomofboys 4012 replies27 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    UW (Wisconsin, not Washington) was easy to navigate during my kid's time as a student. Finances, billing, housing, dining -- all offices were easy to communicate with and responsive. Student's academic advisors were responsive and helpful. All in all, a well run institution.
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 807 replies10 threadsRegistered User Member
    I’ve also been quite pleased dealing with Purdue.
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  • my-3-sonsmy-3-sons 2916 replies49 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    We were very happy with the communication from the University of Kansas.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 3982 replies16 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    University of Michigan just gets it. They have been extremely helpful from the start. They have this "your family" attitude once your kids accepted.
    My home state... University of Illinois Champaign .. Not so much. It was like we were bothering them when asking questions.
    Also Michigan State and Iowa State where really nice.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22703 replies15 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I had one in a flagship (Wyoming) and one in a private school, Florida Tech, at the same time. Every person I EVER spoke to at Wyoming was very helpful and if he/she didn't know the answer would get me to someone who could help. At orientation my daughter didn't have her vaccination records and the admission person helped me to get it from the registrar's office - who knew there was one attached to the high school transcripts? (she knew, I didn't!).

    Florida tech, a school that has dozens of computer majors, was very user UNfriendly. It took dozens of phone calls to get anything done. They had my daughter's name wrong on her records and THAT took 4-5 phone calls to make a change (turned out she had two files, one with her whole name and one with just half her first name, and that was causing all the problems). The admissions office and the FA office were across the hall from each other and they didn't seem to be able to communicate.

    Give me the big school any time! And this whole 'parents can't talk to the school' is something I don't accept. *I* was paying, they were using *MY* income and asset information, so I was doing the talking, especially when it came to money.
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  • CaMom13CaMom13 1857 replies12 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    We had our kids do the work dealing with their schools and they were more than capable of doing so. I never wanted access beyond that normally granted a parent and never asked for it. To each their own.
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  • thumper1thumper1 74357 replies3254 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    When our kids went off to college, I didn’t expect or want tons of communications from the colleges...or a FB group or a parents group. I wanted most of my college communications to come from my KIDS. We did have them sign releases so we could deal with the bursars office if needed.

    We only needed to call one time between our kids, and the college was very easy to deal with. That’s what we expected.

    We had the university and department websites bookmarked, and could see all events and the like.

    I know some families want a PTA type of feel to college. We didn’t.
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  • wis75wis75 14031 replies62 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Post # 6 covers the specifics parents should be concerned with. Parents need to let go regarding the other areas. Sure, you can demand info because you are paying the bills- but SHOULD you? You give the gift of a college education but that does not mean you should control that gift.

    On topic- it is great when a U makes it easy for parents to take care of those mundane things as listed. It should not be their job for the rest. The contract is between school and student (regardless of age- our son didn't turn 18 until in his third semester). They treat students as the adults (most are) they should be treated as. Parents may foot the bills but that is all. btw- I am the nosy parent who looked at the next semester classes and discovered a conflict that would have affected my son. The departmental and honors program professors were very kind and fixed the situation before registration- again, kudos to UW (Madison). We trusted our son to plan out his education, interesting to see how things went.

    I assume you loosened the reins while your child was in HS. I recall being willing to step in when asked some advice from my son but his HS listened to the students and no parental intervention was needed. We cannot vicariously live our children's college lives.
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  • sushirittosushiritto 3877 replies11 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 26
    No surprise here, but I'll 2nd @Knowsstuff 's recommendation of UMich. Both my kid and I have had a seamless transition, whether getting classes, orientation, communication, appointments with multiple advisors for different majors/minors, obtaining tickets to athletic events, labs and tutors, friendly GSI's and professors, whatever, it's all been good.

    My impression is that UMich has a small school feeling.
    edited August 26
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  • natty1988natty1988 636 replies8 threadsRegistered User Member
    We paid for our D's college and we are currently paying for S's college as well. We subscribed to the parent newsletter at D's school and we just subscribed to the newsletter at S's school as well. At D's school we did have to contact the bursar's office because a payment didn't go through and we got the problem solved right away and they couldn't have been friendlier. We haven't had to contact the bursar's office at S's school yet, but it seems like we shouldn't have any problems!

    D never had any problems getting classes she needed, talking to her adviser, etc. So far S hasn't had any issues either. We are not nosy parents and we don't talk to admins at our kid's schools anymore then we have to. We set expectations ahead of time. Our kids know that we can only afford 4 years (sure, we'll pay for an extra year or semester if something major happens that is out of their control, but that's a cross that bridge when we get there), so they are expected to talk to their advisers and keep on top of graduation requirements. We also expect them to talk to their professors and get extra help when needed. We did have them sign the release to let us talk to the bursar, but that's because we're paying and we wanted to be able to get in touch if there was some sort of issue with our payment.......
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