Whether we feel ready or not, the students have returned for another school year. Another year means more meal plans, door access, activity verification, bookstore purchases, parking permits, and more. Have you been able to get your day-to-day operations back on track now that the new semester opening is over? Let’s reflect back on how the new semester opening went. What could you have done differently to make sure your operation ran smoothly and without incident? Below are a few ideas that may help you minimize surprises and reduce semester opening errors.
- Did you have enough supplies? Take inventory of your card production supplies as soon as your semester comes to an end. You need to make sure that you are fully stocked for lost cards for returning students and the next semester.
- Are students aware of your “Campus Card Plan?” Marketing your card and its uses is not only important for a successful campus card program, it can also help reduce student issues and the number of last minute service points. Make sure your students know where to go to get their card, how to add funds, where they can use their card, and what on-line and mobile resources are available to them.
- Did your students have to wait in long lines for campus card pictures? In today’s online and mobile world, students expect immediate gratification. You can reduce your photo line by using an online or mobile photo upload program. Students can submit a photo for their campus card and if it meets your guidelines, you can use that photo for their campus card. This also allows your school to capture photos before the semester starts and plan an organized card pick up event.
- Did you need a system upgrade right before the new semester? Be sure to plan your system upgrades well in advance. Waiting until right before the semester starts is a risky venture since it does not give you a chance to test and get accustomed to new features. Plan to accomplish upgrades in the early summer, right after the spring semester ends.
- Did your readers function properly? Before students arrive back on campus for the new semester, it is a good idea to take a stroll around campus to make sure your card readers are functioning properly. Don’t forget … if you use magnetic stripe readers, make sure you clean the reader head with a cleaning card to remove any dirt. Ensuring your terminals are functioning at their best can help reduce calls and questions during the new semester opening.
- Was your staff properly trained on new features and processes? Plan to have training sessions with your staff before the new semester opening so they are aware of any changes in the card program and are prepared to answer frequently asked questions from your card holders. It is also beneficial to have refresher courses throughout the year.
Yes, semesters will fly by in the blink of an eye. But if you have consider the above tips and plan accordingly, you can be prepared for efficient, problem-free, student-friendly new semester openings. Don’t forget – the next semester opening will be here before you know it!