It Shouldn't Be This Hard To Get Into Uni

24 January 2013
Well, I've been offered a place in social science at the University of Newcastle. Yay! Don't congratulate me yet, though. Congratulate me when I graduate.

Actually, scratch that. Congratulate me when I am finally able to accept my offer. I bloody deserve it. This simple task, which should have taken seconds, has required every spare moment of my time over the past few weeks. I don't want to hear anyone complain about big corporations. Forget it. Imagine a massive telco had vigorous jungle sex with a massive bank. (Go on, visualise it. I'll wait). Then imagine this corporate nookie produced a massive hybrid corporation with slow processes, poorly coordinated systems, and staffed entirely with people sacked from the public service for being just a bit dozy.

Now imagine that but worse, and that's what it has been like dealing with the University of Newcastle.
Monday night I logged onto the uni website as instructed, thinking accepting my offer would be as simple as hitting the submit button. But when I did so, I got an error message stating "your email address must contain the characters . and @". That's funny I thought, I'm sure it did. But I checked it again...and again. I tried a different email address. No dice. Same error. I gave up in frustration and vowed to call IT in the morning.
Tuesday morning, on the phone to IT. I followed all their instructions. I tried logging in using Firefox and Chrome. I waited on hold. Eventually the IT guy told me that he'd never seen this problem before, but he'd look into it and email me to let me know how it turned out.

Wednesday morning, no email. I call general admissions and explain the problem. I get transferred a bit. Everyone is very nice, but they've never seen this problem before. Eventually I give them permission to accept the offer on my behalf. Okay, they say, they'll email me when that's done.

I'm trying to fit all this in with full time work, I might add, and by now I've spent several hours on the computer and on the phone with it. Thursday, no email, so I ask DH to call on my behalf. They can't help him, they say. Acceptance needs to be done online. That not working? Send them an email.

The thing that's grating a bit here is after I applied to the University of Newcastle, way back in September, they started mailing me. A lot. A glossy brochure thanking me for applying. A circular on their great services. An annual calendar. A reminder to look out for my acceptance. A notification on info day. All shiny and helpful. It was like accepting an invitation to a colleague's barbecue, and them thanking you profusely. No worries, you say, looking forward to it. But then they continue to seek you out every day in the lead up to the barbecue, more and more enthusiastically, until finally you start to feel so creeped out you don't want to go at all.

So I'm a more than a little cross that the uni can throw all this money on PR that will end up in the recycling bin, and can't spend a little bit more on systems and staff in enrollments. It's now past the deadline for acceptance. It's past the deadline to change my preferences to study at another university, a path I now dearly wish I could take. I've no idea if I'll be studying this year, or if I applied to uni and all I got was this lousy blog post.


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