The customized, flexible and fluid approach to communicating with our students and parents is unique to ForwarDirections.
The world has changed, and people no longer need to meet together in a brick-and-mortar building to exchange ideas.
We communicate with students and parents the way people today find it most effective to do so.
That means WE MEET THEM WHERE THEY ARE using a variety of communication tools, including:
Google Hangouts (which allows us to meet face-to-face as often as needed)
As a result, our meeting times can be much more flexible than the usual college counselor. Whether it be 7 A.M. or 10 P.M, students and parents have access to us. Our services are not constrained to a “scheduled appointment.” We can be available as needed through things like a text, email, or phone call.
- What if a student needs to meet right after school before heading to a family dinner commitment? We make that happen.
- What if a student doesn’t get home until 7 P.M. from basketball practice and wants to “meet” with us while eating her dinner and wearing sweats? We make that happen.
- What if this week a student only has time to meet with us during the weekend? We make that happen.
How we communicate with our students and parents is one of the most effective ways we meet the needs of those we serve.
And you know what else is cool about all of this? Our approach helps prepare students to be better communicators when they get to college and when they head out into the “real world” of employment.
Texting is the preferred way that teens communicate with the world. Various studies (link to research) indicate that young people prefer texting to phone calls, and as many parents have discovered, most teens respond more quickly to a text message than they do to answering or returning a phone call.
Texting allows ForwarDirection counselors, students, and parents to easily interact with one another at just about any hour of the day or night. We regularly check-in with students to schedule meetings or to remind them about upcoming deadlines. Our students and parents touch base with by text to do things to ask for input or guidance in a variety of situations.
Here are some recent texts from students:
“Do I need to take all of these AP tests?”
“Do you think this is a good scholarship for me to apply for?”
And a recent text from a parent:
“Is it important for me to file my income tax before completing the FAFSA?”
How We Communicate: Google Hangouts
The use of Google Hangout makes communication between coaches and students easy and efficient, and better communication improves the quality of the service we can provide.
ForwarDirections counselors and students meet face-to-face using this technology. Some meetings are held with individual students; others are held with student groups. All meetings are scheduled around students’ school and co-curricular schedules.
Our online meetings are every bit as engaging as in-person meetings. Students and counselors can see each other, which means participants are able to pick up on important facial expressions and body language that can only be experienced through this type of interaction.
Beyond that, Google Hangout allows us to share our screens with one another, so we can review things like college applications before they are submitted or work together on college essays.
View the recording below from one of our recent meetings that included college students talking about how to select the right college.
Communicating With 21st Century Tools
In developing the ForwarDirections College and Career Network, we took these new modes of communication into consideration as we decided how best to communicate with our student clients. First, we considered the fact that there are two primary goals of communication: to effectively deliver information and to receive a response. Those both need to be accomplished in such a way that is well-suited for our target audience and allows for timeliness at both ends of the communication exchange. In addition, we understand that students have full lives, so using communication tools that would allow them to connect with us no matter how busy their daily schedules may be would be the most desirable. That is why texting, emails, phone calls, online meetings and online documents shared between coaches and clients are the main ways we interact with our students. Using these tools in constructive ways provides our students with real life experiences that are similar to how they will communicate with their learning communities in college and eventually with their business colleagues in the work world.
Overall, our use of a variety of technology tools makes communication between coaches and students both easy and efficient, and better communication improves the quality of the service we can provide. It also better prepares students for how they can effectively communicate during college and in their chosen career field. If you would like to know more, feel free to communicate with us today and learn more about we at ForwarDirections can help you.