It’s worth taking some time to find out what they do and why it’s so important. Our OSSA’s may not want to brag, but at the very least you will learn many of the reasons they’re a distance learner’s best friend, even before you start classes.
To help you out, we sat down with one of our OSSA’s and got to the bottom what makes them so fantastic.
Concordia University Online: OK, first tell us what you do.
Susie: As an Online Student Success Advisor, I am a student’s go-to person on campus with the goal to make their educational experience as stress-free as possible.
Concordia University Online: Can you tell us a little about what you do for the online students you are assigned to?
Susie: I first “meet” the students immediately after they are accepted and enroll them in our online orientation. I reach out to see if there are any concerns or questions I can help them with. A lot of times, they have questions about adding or dropping classes, or where to find certain components on Blackboard [our digital education platform]. Answering questions like that is one of the easiest parts of my job.
Concordia University Online: If that’s easy, what are some of the other things you do?
Susie: Our online students have jam-packed lives with work, school, and often a family to take care of. I help them keep track of when students need to register for classes or sign in to them once they start, so they aren’t mistakenly dropped. I watch out for financial aid opportunities the students could qualify for, and I make sure all the right paperwork is filed for a smooth experience. These are priorities.
Concordia University Online: That’s gotta be a weight off their minds. What else?
Susie: If one of my students drops a class, I reach out and want to find out why. If it’s an emergency or an unplanned event during the semester, I try to find a way we can accommodate them so they don’t have to drop. If they are having trouble with payments, I try to connect them in a better way with our financial office. If a course is actually dropped, I always try to get the student reimbursed if the class is not too far along.
Concordia University Online: That’s great! A common complaint we’ve read from students at other distance learning schools is how there is such a disconnect between the student and the different departments at the school—it’s hard for them to get things done or fix a simple problem.
Susie: Yes. We really try to go above and beyond for our students, and let them know they have someone here on campus looking out for them that they really can count on. It’s important to us that our students know they are not just numbers on a printout, but real people taking on a challenge and striving to meet their potential. My job is about making the students’ experience easier, being their boots on the ground and letting them learn without worrying.
Concordia University Online: That sounds really rewarding.
Susie: Yes! I receive amazing thank-you messages from my students—it feels great. If I know a student needs some extra help or encouragement during a tough time, I will send them a card or let them know I’m praying for them. Even though we have never met in person, it can really make a difference for someone to hear that, and that’s the idea.
Concordia University Online: Wow—you must be very good at your job here!
Susie: I enjoy it. Thank you.
Concordia University Online: And thank you for all you do, Suzie!
“I never got a chance to send you an email thanking you for the prayers. The week you were praying was a rough week for me. I survived the week and things went very smoothly. God’s timing is perfect as usual.” – Robin
“Your email was such a breath of fresh air. I appreciate you lifting me up in prayer. That means a lot, and I consider myself blessed to be a part of Concordia University Online. This is my first experience with the University and I am really impressed. My first semester has been a great learning endeavor. Thanks again for the prayers.” – Brandon
“I want to thank you for always being so kind during my time at Concordia University Online. You have been amazing, and I appreciate your fast response to all of my ‘urgent’ requests. Thank you!” – Tamara
“Thank you! You are the best! I really appreciate how quickly you get back to me and how efficient you are.” – Morna
“Hi, I’ve been feeling better and think I’m ready to start in again … Thanks for all your well wishes and support.” – Troy
“Thank you so much for your understanding and help. It means a ton to have such great, supportive people on my team for school. Thank you and have a great day!!!” – Amy
“Thank you so much for your quick and positive response. I have really come to count on you and you are always there! It really makes a difference to have a connection when maneuvering an online program. Have a super day.” -Beth
After Susie helped a student with financial issues from dropping a class as she was planning a wedding:
“Praise God!!! You guys are absolutely amazing! You have no idea how amazing this is and how much I appreciate this! Wow! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! You all are amazing! My wedding is May 2nd! 76 days to be exact 😉 Dropping this class was a hard decision, but I am beyond excited to get married and really enjoy this time! I can’t thank you all enough!!
Bless you all!”
After Susie helped a student who was struggling with personal issues
I really appreciate your willingness to listen to my circumstances and your understanding. It means a lot to have a support system at school that I can talk to and work though my issues with. Thanks again and I look forward to talking to you soon.
From a student who Susie helped enroll
Thank you again for thinking of me and all of your support. You truly are an angel to the program!