Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Your opinion, please?

DISCLAIMER:  This post is quite lengthy.  If you do not have at least 5 minutes to spare you have my permission to skip it.  Though your thoughts and opinions mean quite a lot to me...I won't hold it against you!
 
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As many of you know, I'm trying to go back to school.  I've been working with a woman at ITT Tech who has been very helpful but she is ill and gave my information to other folks within the school to follow up with me while she's been out.
 
I missed the "finance" meeting 2 weeks ago tomorrow due to circumstances outside my control.  Namely, our Sr. Vice President came into town and I could not leave the office for an extended period of time to take care of personal business.  I have not yet been able to reschedule a time for this meeting for many reasons, but mainly because I've been supremely busy and also because Hubby and I are still discussing the financial impact my returning to school with have on our family.
 
Last night, I received the email below.  I am simply copying and pasting it, in its entirety, so as to show 1) how poorly written it is and 2) what was actually said in the letter.  This is the actual email I received (all the way down to the name of the person who sent it) - and I am not paraphrasing at all.
 
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Jennifer,



I received your information from one of our other representatives here at ITT TECH.

 

I do have a few questions for you:

 

1.    Are you still interested in ITT TECH?

2.    When can you come in to continue the process for admission?

3.    What would happen if you did not continue your education?

 

I do not know what happened before. But I'd like to offer you the opportunity to let me know one way or the other about school. Did we do anything to prevent you from coming here? If so, is there anything I can do to fix what we did wrong?

 

If we did not do anything to prevent you from coming to school here, what changed for you? ITT TECH is not right for everyone. However, what was it that is stopping you from coming here? Life? Family? Busy? Maybe it was the investment you would have to make?? I understand all of those reasons. And that is what I do. I help people move forward in spite of those reasons. Ask yourself…"if I do not do this now, when will I have time to do it?" And, "if I never further my education, will the next few years be exactly like the last few years?

 

You can do something different today. Come in, finish the process, start school, get a degree, hire into a good company. Does this sound good to you?

 

There is a great line in The Shawshank Redemption that I think might encourage you. DuFresne says to Red, you either get busy living or get busy dying. I, for one, am going to get busy living."

 

Which are you?

 

Christopher RÍos

ITT Technical Institute

Admissions Representative

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I was fuming when I was done reading this email.  I still don't know if I was right to be as upset as I was (am) but I was insulted and offended - and I do not offend easily.

I waited until today to respond, hoping that my anger would dissipate some and I would be able to reply in a thoughtful, straight forward manner - without being harsh.

I think I failed, but I was still happy to click the "Send" button.  And I felt much better after getting it all out of my system.  

Below, is the exact email I sent to them.  Without any changes.

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Christopher,

Which one am I?

I hate to sound rude, but I didn't appreciate your email, Christopher.  It seems as if you are accusing me of something or trying to coerce me into something that I am still thinking over.  

My husband tells me that someone from ITT Tech called yesterday or the day before while he and the kids (ages 2 and 5) were napping and rather than let the phone ring he picked it up and hung it up several times.  That person called no less than five times in a row, effectively waking up my children during nap time.  (That was a slight fib - I was actually the one who did the picking up and hanging up, but they didn't need to know that.)

I'm feeling a pressure I do not need to feel and being made to feel guilty about my lack of education is NOT the way to get me to come into the program.  

Right now, I am weighing my financial options, and while I realize I have not yet had my financial meeting with ITT Tech, nor taken the "placement" test, I am wondering now if ITT Tech is the right place for me.  I was excited about the Computer Design & Drafting program, but I feel certain that I can find a similar program elsewhere.

$45,000.00 for a 2 year program is an awful lot of money and I will not, under any circumstances, take out a student loan.  Grants are one thing, but if a grant only amounts to about $5,000.00, it isn't going to cover very much, is it?

I could take classes one at a time over the next several years to work slowly toward my goal, but that is not something I am willing to do right now.  

My husband and I are still discussing this and while he is extremely supportive of my going back to school, there are other things that do not concern ITT Tech in any way that I need to concentrate on.

For now, I think I will start looking at other school options.  If I think that I cannot find a better deal elsewhere, I may come back to you - but for now please discontinue calling me either at home, work or my cell phone.

Marilyn, my apologies for the nature of this email.  You have been very sweet, helpful and supportive and I appreciate that.  But right now my life is completely nuts and I haven't had time to talk on the phone, send email or do anything I've wanted to do for nearly two weeks.  For me to receive an email like the one above is insulting to me and does not take into consideration factors, as I said, that do not involve ITT Tech.  I am an adult with a full adult life, work, children, mortgage, husband, church and everything that goes along with those things and I am very busy all the time.  To even consider school was a HUGE step for me, as you well know when you saw me break down in your office that day.  I do want to do this, but I'm rethinking my choice of schools after reading Christopher's email.

If that email that Christopher sent was a form letter used to encourage wishy-washy potential students like myself into coming to school, you may need to rethink how that email is worded.  I'm not easily offended, but that letter was offensive.

Regards,

Jennifer Shell

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About one hour after I shot off my fiery response to the original email, Marilyn (the woman I've been dealing with all along) responded.  I think it needs to be said that she has cancer and is currently undergoing chemotherapy, which, for obvious reasons, is making her feel even worse.  This is the reason I responded directly to Christopher and simply cc'd Marilyn so she would be aware.
 
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Dear Jennifer,

I am embarrassed and very sorry such an email was sent to you.  I assure you that this is not a form letter.  I have been on sick leave and other people were calling the people I had talked to.  I did not give Chris Rios your information and truthfully would not have asked him to contact you because he is arrogant.  Enough said.  You do not owe me an apology.  I would have been offended by this email.  I apology to you!  I want you to know that I did not call your home.  I did call one morning and talked to your husband before I went to treatment.  You had already left for work.  I know how excited you are and if I can help you find another school, please let me know.  I will glad to help you.  I just want you to get into Computer Design and Drafting.  Please stay in touch with me and let me know how you are doing.  I am always excited when young women want to enter the career field I started out in.

Again, I apologize.

Marilyn

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If her email is genuine, meaning if she's being truthful with me and not just trying to smooth things over, I'm happy with this response.  If she IS just trying to make it right - it really doesn't matter and there is nothing I can do.  Although it does give me some sick sort of pleasure to know that she thinks this "Christopher", whom I have never met and/or spoken to before, is arrogant.  

So my question is this:  Did I over react?  Am I pissed for no reason?  Or do you think I had a right to be insulted/offended by this?  I would be sacrificing 4 hours, 3 days a week, for 2 years to this "degree" and that is a HUGE sacrifice for me.  I definitely want to better myself and further my education, but it doesn't seem like ITT Tech will be getting a penny of my money.  I might take Marilyn up on her offer to help me find another school...but we'll see.

What do YOU think?

TTFN
JMS

10 comments:

Karrie said...

You should have been offended! I was offended for you!! I would be calling the school, forwarding that email to everyone in that dept. and letting them know how upsetting that is. You do it when you are ready and yes it is very time consuming and costly. Me, personally, would look elsewhere. I would try to ask for her advice and if she doesn't respond very well then you know she was trying to make it better. I don't think that is the case with her response.
Funny thing is my DH is looking into taking some online classes and looking for some info...they have been calling left and right and one school calls 4 or 5 times a day. I have told them he works during the day and to please call later. This one school called this morning...told them what I stated above. they then called again 3 hrs later and I said "may I ask who is calling" they hung up on me!!! I pity the next school to call here. That is no way to get people to make a huge financial decision and life altering decision. Go with your gut and do what is best for you and your family!
Sorry so long...oooops ;)
<3 ya!

tennswede said...

Jen,

That was a tacky letter, I think you can do better elsewhere for a lot of less money. I would try out with Pellissippi State first.

Paulie said...

That was a horrible letter. Most salespeople want you to believe if you don't jump on this deal today it will be gone forever. Real life doesn't work that way.

As to whether or not you should give ITT another try my personal opinion is to go for it. I think there are better schools (of which I'll try to get you some information if you want) but Marilyn seems sincere to me and to the point.

My best advice is to trust your own intuition. You have a wonderful knack for figuring people out and cutting through the BS. It's one of the many things about you I respect. Trust yourself. =)

G said...

Brutal, blunt and effecient.

Your response was perfect. I don't believe you over-reacted at all. In fact, it could have been a bit more nastier. Like a polite nasty that leaves the person on the receiving clueless on the other end, yet gives everyone else around them a laugh at thier expense.

As for giving ITT Tech another chance, I wouldn't. I'm sure there are good schools out there for a fraction of the money that can do the job better.

Porter and Chester come to mind (I'm not sure if they're in your area or not) as a good school that teaches that.

Blasé said...

Sometimes you've just got to open up a can-o-whup-ass on folks.

Recently, I had to get tough with a "Sergeant" over the phone as he was trying to manipulate me into giving my permission to allow my son (who I never see) to join the Air Force in June. He was disrespectful to me, so....I had to let him know that he was not talking to an 18 y/o.

Anonymous said...

Please look into other programs rather than ITT Tech. That letter is just a small indication of how they view their students - a means to make money for their stockholders. As a for-private company, that is their primary concern. You can do better, and for far less money. My nephew is in his third year at ITT Tech. He was emerge with a $75,000 student loan and minimal job prospects. I worry so much for him. Please do more research before you commit yourself to such a huge financial burden in this job market.

Archeobot said...

Jenni,

Yes, you should be pissed, and you should beware. Yes, Marilyn seems like a nice person and she probably is, but you have just gotten your first dose of how you will be treated as a student there.

Please consider dropping the ITT tech idea, but NOT the school idea. As someone who works in higher education I absolutely cringe at the idea of you spending 45K on two years there. My entire 4 year degree at UConn cost a fraction of that and was a better more well rounded education. You are way too smart to waste your time and cash on that sort of school - one that hasn't even fulfilled the full accreditation process. If you go for a year and have a bad experience, no four year college or associates program at an accredited institution is going to accept those credits and you will be out a load of cash and have no degree to show for it. There is no way that you are actually going to get enough grant money to cover all the tuition for a a private, non-accredited university. That school is out to profit, not educate, and I don't believe the hype that employers will seek out their graduates. Please, I know you can excel at school. I know it. But, please do some more investigating into other possible programs e.g. community colleges, state schools with satellite campuses, etc. before you make a decision. Most have night courses and cater to unconventional students, and would cost a fraction. Please do not hesitate to pick up the phone and call me and talk to me about this. Please.

Archeobot said...

Hmm, you asked for opinions, but that was a lot of opinion. Please do not get discouraged.

Light and Writing said...

Yes! I completely agree with your feeling Jenn! I would have been offended as well! The tone of the letter was so demeaning. It was not personable and and di not take you and your life into consideration at all. It was a terrible sales pitch!
I was a day late with my rent once (which I had never been late the entire year I was at this particular apt!) And I recieved a letter ON MY DOOR a day after rent was due stating all this stuff about going to court if I don't pay and all this stuff. It was terrible! I mean I knew about the late fee but come on I am only human and had been a great renter! Some people just have no tact!!
Your response was perfect and I hope you continue your quest! Even if it is ITT, it will be for you and no one else! Good Luck!
Emma

Anonymous said...

UB says:

A. You have some GREAT friends! They gave you some wonderful advice! I'm very impressed!

B. Don't confuse education w/ attending a school. What the heck do I mean?

I mean you educate yourself - (really). You choose the people who you can learn from. Forget the rest. Follow your gut!

The money part has to be "doable" and not but the family as risk if something goes wrong. Cars break down. Jobs get lost etc.

The hard sell tactic would be a big "No go" sign for me.

That guy should be selling cars somewhere.

I's "edjumacated" and look at me -- Dumber than a box of rocks and twice as ugly!

I actually learned way more after college than during. Duh!

You go girl! Love and hugs,

UB and AC too!