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ORM Podcast: Expert Guidance from the LEC Transcript


Welcome back everybody to the Online Roadmap podcast, WVU Online's own podcast series. We are here today with Kelly Leg and Gary Phillips, and they are WVU Online admissions coaches and work with our learner engagement center at WVU Online. So welcome to the show Kelly and Gary and I wanted to kick off today's show with an introduction of each carriage.

So we'll go ahead and Kelly, if you want to take it away with a quick introduction. Hey everyone. Thanks for having me on today. Her name is Kelly Leg, and I am an admissions coach for WVU Online. Currently I work with several different other colleges, and they include the College of Creative Arts and the College of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences, John Chambers College of Business and Economics the School of Nursing and the School of Public Health. So super excited to chat with you all today and tell you a little bit more about WVU Online and our programs. Thanks so much, Kelly, and welcome to the show. And next Gary, if you want to go ahead and do a quick introduction of yourself.

Yeah, thanks for having me on I’m Gary Phillips. I'm an admissions coach with West Virginia University Online as well. I work predominantly the college of education and human services, as well as the Benjamin M Statler college and the Davis College of Agriculture. I also work with the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.

So I really enjoyed the variety of programs that I get to work with. I get to be part of all over the university. Yeah, you guys have a lot of programs that you represent. So we're happy to have you on the show today. So I know that you're both WVU Online and missions coaches, and I was hoping that you could give us a little bit of a background of what WVU Online and missions coach does.

So, Gary, I'll go ahead and kick this one over to you. Yeah, the online admissions coaches are really your first point of contact with the university. A lot of the time we're familiar with our programs and we're really just waiting for you to reach out to us, ask questions and let us help you guide you to help guide you through the application process.

It's not a process that everybody's going to be familiar with, especially if you don't work with it every day. So we work with it every day to make it easier on you to get through. That's awesome. So kind of the, like you said, the first point of contact for students. So Kelly, can you tell us how you get in contact with our students?

Yes. Typically what would happen is if a student were on our website looking at our programs, there's an inquiry form there that they can complete. Just basic information that typically includes your phone number and an email address. So when we get to that inquiry from the interested student, then we will reach out via phone and follow up with an email.

To let them know that we're here, you know, to answer any questions, give them the information that they're looking for about that particular progress program. So that's kind of the first initial step that we would take as a coach. And then as Gary said, we're kind of the primary contact, so we can then direct them.

Prospective student to possibly another department or person, if you know, they're in it, if they need like additional information. So it's kind of nice to have that personal contact with one person that you can reach out to, you know, to assist in the process. Yeah, absolutely. Thank you, Kelly. It's nice to know that there is somebody there personally reaching out to the students.

And it's nice to hear that you guys reach out through phone and email, and I think even zoom, correct. Gary, you guys do different types of meetings. That's right. We're available by phone email, and you can schedule a zoom calls with us through Calendly, where we can have the face-to-face conversations.

That can be a little challenging to have online or during COVID. So we're going that extra mile to make sure that you can see us and have a face to the name. That's awesome. Making that connection is really great and really helps. Our students, I feel like feel like they're connected to the university too.

So that's really awesome to hear. So in terms of admissions requirements, Can you guys walk us through some of the basic, you know, admissions requirements and Kelly, I'll go ahead and push this over to you first. So what are some things that a student can expect as, as a basic admission requirement to WVU Online?

Sure. As far as admission requirements, of course each program will have their own requirements. But basically when you are interested in applying, it would be a good idea to have an up-to-date resume showing us, you know, work experience that you've had to do. In addition to completing the application, a lot of times the program would like for the applicant to write personal statement and the personal statement is the great opportunity to.

Let us know about you. The reason you're interested in the program kind of what the long-term foals are upon completion. So we make sure that it's a good fit for both parties. In addition to that, if transcripts would be required and I'm, those are probably the, the most basic pieces of information that would be required for application.

Thank you, Kelly. Gary, is there anything that you would add to that or anything different for your program? I would just emphasize what Kelly said about the transcripts whether you're applying for undergraduate graduate certificate, whatever, that's probably the most common denominator as far as what we need from someone to finish an application and to get you into a program is also one of the steps that can take a little bit longer than some of the others, because you need to request a transcript from whatever school you've attended before, unless it's WVU.

Then we've got it. So always give yourself a little bit of time because it can take a few weeks. You can get those in via snail mail or at least a day or two, even if you're using the electronic delivery, the system. So that's just something I always like to mention to peoples give yourself time, make sure that you know the process.

And if you have any questions about it, ask if you need us to check on the status, you can also ask. Yeah, that's great too, to emphasize there, Gary. I know a lot of times it's like everything is so electronic nowadays. Right. But some schools still prepared to do the, the mailing of transcripts and whatnot.

So it does take a little time to get to us, hopefully not too long, but definitely a few days is I think where we're at with some of that mailing. So good to think about as you're getting ready to apply to that. To the school. So what's admissions deadlines. Gary, can you tell us a little bit about how admissions deadlines work?

Each of the departments have their own specific deadlines. And a lot of them will do rolling admissions as well. So you can apply at any time. But check in with us for specific dates to each department, overall, our programs follow the same semester schedule that the on campus does. So we'll be admitting students for fall semester, spring semester, as well as summer semesters for a lot of programs as well.

And usually the individual. Deadlines are at least a month or so before the semester starts. And I usually recommend that as a good rule of thumb for once the latest you want to get your application in no matter when the deadlines start, just so that it gives us enough time. Great Kelly, anything to add to the admissions deadline requirements.

And now I think Gary covered everything. Again, reach out to us and we can tell you what the deadlines are. And every once in a while, too, if you're close to, like, let's say the deadline was July one and you didn't get submitted until like July 6th, sometimes that can be extended in certain situations.

So again, if you're in communication with. You know, we can be aware of that and possibly help. You know, let the review committee know that this one is still out there in pending and then possibly hopefully enroll, you know, for the fall semester. So again, if you're in contact with us, it's, it's beneficial.

Yeah, definitely a benefit to connecting with the coach has guys that are able to help you with really any information that you need. And also just making sure that you're getting, you know, meeting those deadlines for, for getting your application submitted. So that's all good to hear. With, with that I know looking ahead, spring is just around the corner.

It's hard to believe in terms of You know, fall falls under way. Like how, I don't know how that happened, but here we are. So we're already looking ahead to spring and spring deadlines and admissions deadlines. So as the student prepares to apply for the next upcoming term, what are some things that they should be preparing kind of ahead of time.

So that way when they start their application, they have the information that they need. Kelly, I'm going to kick this over to you first. Sure. So again, in preparing for applying for the program I think it's important to know, you know, this semester that you're interested in starting that way, you'll be aware of particular deadlines.

As far as gathering your information again typically a resume you’ll be writing a personal statement and you'll probably want to do a couple of drafts of those to make it, you know, the way you want it to come across to the committee. Again, transfer. And some programs do require a letter of reference.

So that's something to kind of think about in the back of your mind, you know, who would be the best reference for you to request a letter of recommendation from? And then I think gathering as much information about the program as you can. Attended information session. I find those super beneficial.

You get a lot of information, typically there, Q and a sessions following. And a lot of times, you know, other prospects might bring up a question that you didn't think about. So again, another way just to get information, I don't think you can ever, you know, find out too much. It's an important decision. So I think.

As long as you continue to gather information and, you know, make all the checks. It's, it's just a good way to know that it's the right fit.

Great. Thank you for that answer, Kelly. In addition to that, Kelly, I know that you brought up the info session. So how would a student go about registering for one of those? Would they contact you or should they go through a website? Like what's the best way for a student to register for an info session?

Yeah, there's actually a couple of different ways. A lot of time you'll find this information right on the website. So if you were happened, if you happen to be on the page, there are boxes there that will say sign up for this, you know, info session. And it will give you the dates with various times. So that's one location that you can find it another way you would find it is through myself.

A lot of times I've talked to you, I've told you about an information session that is coming up, and then I would typically email you the link so you can sign up for that. And then again, it depends on the program as to how often they are offered and those sorts of things. But again, I think they're really beneficial.

And if you can attend an info session, like Gary said, you can definitely set up a zoom meeting with us. We'd love to see face to face. And I know in the past I've had some prospects that live out of country. So, you know, we'll meet via zoom. That way we can communicate. And it's really fun to get to know people.

I had a prospect that actually lives in Japan. And so we've met via zoom a couple of time. So zoom is kind of amazing in that respect. So again, info sessions for sure. That's awesome. I really don't know what we would do without zoom these days. So that's, that's a great point. And it's good for our students.

I feel like there's info sessions, like you mentioned, are just a great way for them to connect with you guys and, and the, the program in person. So that's really good Gary to, to kind of continue down the path of what to prepare. I know that when a student. You know, applies to a program. A lot of times they're looking for financial aid are there websites that a student should go to and are there, is there anything additional that they shove ready to be able to complete their free application for federal student aid?

Are there. Oh, the FAFSA, anytime that I speak with a potential student, who's had any kind of experience with higher ed already. And I say, well, do you remember doing the FASFA as an undergrad or at a prior school? Like I always get the same reaction as this sort of groaning resignation with the FAFSA is not something to get worked up about or be worried about.

It's a relatively straightforward form that you fill out every year. Through their direct website you might need to get some tax information or just your personal IDs, that kind of thing, just to fill that out. But once you fill that out you have it sent to the school. And at that point you can start having those more in-depth conversations with our own financial aid office and financial aid office at WVU is really good at.

Wanting to make sure that you get the most up-to-date and accurate information about financial, and those things can change even over the course of the semester. And they're the office that keeps up to date with that kind of thing minute by minute. So you're always welcome to set up an appointment to talk to them about your particular circumstances.

You can call just to check in with them. To ask questions about what financial aid is available, as well as what you might be eligible for and how you receive it and when you might receive it. So they're really our go-to office for all things related to financial aid. Great. Yeah, I know it's a big question that students have.

Right. And I feel like completing that FAFSA with the application is important. So that's one thing that students should keep in mind if they're looking to receive federal aid for sure. Our office of, of student accounts and financial aid. They're great. When working with students and they're able to help.

So thank you. Thank you both for those answers. So I like to, to, to not make this all business and no fun. So I'm going to ask you guys a question, because I know actually both of you are alumni of the university. So Gary, I'm going to go ahead and kick it back to you, but can you tell us you know, what you liked most about it?

Being part of the Mountaineer family or what you like most about being part of the mountain, your family. Yeah, absolutely. So I grew up in a very small town in the Southern part of West Virginia. And when I came to WVU for the first time, it did very much have the sense of, oh my gosh, I'm a small fish in a really big pond now.

But. Made me so happy to be part of the mountain now near community is that it is just that it's a big community and there's all different kinds of people. This is where I met a lot of the people that I became lifelong friends with through these courses and having shared interests with people and have.

Huge pool of fellow students to engage with. I, I just love hearing about different people learning about their interests and the idea that they want to hear about me as also really entertaining. Cause I talk about goofy stuff all the time. And when I got to West Virginia university that’s when I really met the people who like to talk about the same goofy stuff.

Very cool. And I know Gary, you and I were actually talking before the episode here today. And you were actually a part of the higher ed admin, which is now an online program. Right. So I bet you're jealous. So you could've did it online, right? A little bit jealous. Yeah. I was actually the last cohort to go through the on-campus version of the program.

Before we set up the online version. And every time I think about how that should be different. My first is man, I spent so much time looking for a parking space. That's fantastic. That's one, definitely a benefit right now. No parking needed from my courses. So I love that. Kelly, so what, what did you like Kelly about being part of the Mountaineer family?

Or what, what do you still enjoy about being part of the Mountaineer family? Well, it's kind of funny the way Gary had answered his question, I feel the same way, regardless of where you resided and then came to WDO. I was actually out of state. I lived in Pittsburgh, so PA came to WVU, and I mean, it's a big university, right.

But it has just this like small. Hometown feel kind of bond and you develop lifelong friendships. And I mean, if you're in the airport somewhere and you see somebody, you know, with the flying WV sweatshirt on it's like you have this instant connection and you want to talk and what not. And I don't know, maybe it's that way at different universities, but I don't think so.

There's just something unique about the bond. With people that attend WVU, regardless of if it's online or on campus too. So again, it's, it's that bond and, you know, it's really special to come back and work for the university as well. So I've really enjoyed that aspect of it. Yeah, that's awesome. Kelly, and I know you have had the opportunity to experience many different universities you know, with, with your husband being part of football, coaching, staffs, and whatnot.

So it’s nice to come back home though, right? Oh, for sure. I've always loved to Morgantown, and you know, to have that opportunity to be back and you know, it just being On campus and seeing how it's changed and grown. And I was in a sorority to can, you know, drive past the sorority house and it brings back all these fun memories that, yeah, we're going to town in WVU, definitely a special place to my heart or shore golden blue runs deep.

So I love it. Thank you, guys, so much for those answers. So I did have a few more questions, but I wanted to ask you guys about WVU Online and some of the resources that are available to our students. So Gary, if you could, are you able to give us a few resources that are available to WVU Online students?

Yeah, absolutely. As an online student, you actually have a lot of the same access to resources that are on campus, too. These have in particular; I refer people to career services all the time because they're not just involved with helping people get jobs or find interviews after you graduate.

They're a really great resource for learning about interviewing, writing, cover letters, writing resumes. That would be part of the application process. They actually have a great website on writing a good personal statement. I direct people to all the time. We also have accessibility services for those students who may have disabilities.

You can reach out and request accommodations through them and they are happy to assist you so that all of our services, all of our experiences are available to everyone, regardless of what abilities they may possess. In particular, I actually just worked with a visually impaired student, not too long ago, who was working with assess ability services.

They're assisting him with his. Application setting up for classes itself. So they're really willing to go that extra mile to make sure students are comfortable and able to access. Also you have access to the library services, and you may be accessing those in slightly different. Then you would have a few years ago or if you were on campus but you have access to the university libraries to do your research and to help with your courses is the same way that you would.

Through whatever delivery system we may have. I really recommend people take advantage of that because you don't get access to university, life libraries the same way throughout your life. And there's such a great way to just look into what you're interested in and find out depths of knowledge that you didn't realize were there about any given subject.

So that's one that I happen to think is really fun. Is that library access. Yeah, that's a cool, and it's funny that you bring that up. We actually have an introduction to library research course and winter intercession. And when the instructor was talking to me about it, I had interviewed her previously and she had gone into, you know, all of this information about it's, it's more about how to do research and how to begin looking for information and how to use it.

Parts of the library. And I was like, that's actually a really cool class. So, so that's one that I would be interested in as well. So thanks for that insight, Gary Kelly, are there any additional resources for online students that you might recommend? Yeah, fan Barry. There is one key one is that we do have services for mental health.

We all know how important our mental health is. So the services are available for online students. Just reach out. I can connect you with the appropriate parties. So I think that one's super important and of course, very beneficial. And one other thing I can't think of off the top of my head and it's important as well is technology services, you know?

So whenever you have a problem, You know, logging into the portal or something of that nature. If you're having issues, you can reach out to the it services desk and they can help. You can put in a request to be an email you can call. So it’s great to have somebody there to answer those questions and help you out when you're stuck in a certain situation.

Yeah, for sure. Those are two big ones, right? Definitely the mental health. I know the university just launched Talkspace and coming up in the later weeks, we will have a podcast episode with Talkspace. So that's exciting. And yeah, tech support, my goodness. Right online. We need tech support.

So definitely I know they have a ticketing system, they have an email and phone number, so they're always available for the students, which is nice. So, right. Thank you, guys, for, for that answer. So I did have just two more questions for you. And one of them is what advice do you have for online students?

So if, as soon as looking to begin, you know our program at West Virginia university online, what advice would you give them? Again, I think it's super important to get as much information as you can. Our goal is to provide you with that information to answer questions. You know, I feel it's my responsibility to tell you everything I can to make sure it's a great fit for you.

I can give you, you know, multiple websites to look at. And even in some situations I have students that are comparing programs, you know, at different institutions. And I always recommend, I mean, it sounds kind of old school, but I'm like create an Excel sheet. You know, put down what's important to you.

What are the three most important things in the program that you know are going to make you decide that it's the best one for you? So as you gather your information, it's easy for you to check them. SS or not check the box and then you can do an easy comparison and hopefully you'll see, you know, the web is the right program for you.

And again, it's by gathering all the information. And I don't think you're gonna find that like personal connection at a lot of the other universities that are out there. I think that's one thing that we do provide as a university. Again, we're making sure it's the right fit for you. So. That would be my advice.

I love it. I agree with you. I feel like the personal connection definitely sets us apart. So. Gary. What, what piece of wisdom or words of advice would you offer? I would actually expand a little bit on that personal connection that you mentioned. Once you're in a program, once you're taking courses, what I would say really helps you out in your progress and program is meet professors more than halfway.

All of our professors have experienced delivering course content. Through the online medium, and they're really good at that and creating community within that context, but they're trying to do it for the whole class at a time. If you reach out to them, just to check in, just introduce yourself, take advantage of their virtual office hours, ask questions via email.

It goes a long way towards making sure you personally are establishing that strong connection with the professor. It can make a difference in a class. It can make a difference if you need to ask for an extension on an assignment and it can definitely make a difference. If you're asking for letters of recommendation for whatever you're doing after you graduate from us, get to know those professors reach out to them.

It's definitely worthwhile. Yeah. It's like you know, you got to put in some effort to, or right. Sometimes you have to be, be the person to reach out. And I think that really starts at time of admission and in time of inquiry. So, you know, reaching out to Gary or Kelly is kind of a first step in that process.

Getting some additional information about the programs and then continuing that outreach throughout your time in the program. I agree with you, both Kelly and Gary. I think that's, that's awesome advice. So last thing is, I just wanted to see if you guys had any final thoughts or any final words of wisdom that you'd like to share with our students, Gary, anything additional before we sign off today, Yeah, I would say, give yourself plenty of time to do your research.

And that's a good starting point. And sitting down from the computer, looking at the different programs from all the different schools and figuring out what's going to work best for you when you get to them. We are absolute believers in the integrity and the quality of our programs. You can call us and ask anything.

If we don't know an answer, we'll find out an answer. But having a back-and-forth conversation with us over. A few different contacts will really let you get that good, clear picture of whether or not this is a good program for you. And from there, we're just so happy to assist you throughout the whole process.

But yeah, we, we want to make it a fun process, right. And it's not always fun, but that's what I love about you guys. I feel like you do make it a fun process. So Kelly, anything additional that you would like to leave our audience with before we sign off today? Sure. I totally agree with Gary. I mean, give yourself some time, you know, you want to gather all the details that you can about the program.

And I mean, to take advantage of us and our services, because we are willing to go that extra mile to get, you know, that particular question answered. Or, you know, you want to see a particular syllabus maybe something like that. That's what we're here for. And don't be afraid to ask, right? I mean, unless you have the information, then maybe you can't make that decision.

So asks you, there's never a silly or a dumb question. Right. So again, like I said, Take advantage of what we're offering you. And it’s only going to help new make the best decision possible. And as Gary said, we've got great programs. We have great professors; we have great services for online students.

So I think it's a win-win situation for everyone. So let’s go mountaineers, right? That's right. Let's get him out near it's almost football season. So we're going to start a cheer in that. Pretty sad. So, yeah. So thank you guys, both so much for meeting with us today and taking some time to, to talk to the audience, to the students, to the parents.

Whoever's out there listening to, to give some more information about. The services that WVU Online offers and service side, you guys offer as admissions coaches. We really appreciate it. So thank you so much. And we will be back here in two weeks with another upset of the online roadmap podcast. Thanks everyone.

Have a good day.

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