If you've emailed or called the Undergraduate Admissions help desk, submitted test scores or transcripts, or visited UGA at one or our events or in the Highlander One-Stop Shop (HOSS), then you've met the Admissions Support Unit (ASU). The four professional staff members and 14 student employees who make up the ASU provide a range of services for prospective students, their families, and educators throughout the application process.
The unit is led by Karla Contreras, articulation officer and admissions support supervisor, who recently celebrated her seventh anniversary at UCR. She answered a few questions about ASU and how it serves prospective students.
What’s the mission of ASU?
The Admissions Support Unit in Undergraduate Admissions thrives to serve and support prospective students, families, educators, and parents as they navigate UCR and the application process. Whether a student is calling to verify if we have received their transcript, emailing for assistance to log in to their MyUCR account, or walks into the Highlander One-Stop Shop (HOSS) to inquire about the application process, we are here to help.
How does ASU support UGA staff members?
[When we return to in-person operations] the ASU is responsible for greeting all visitors to the third floor of the Student Services Building, [as well as] answering the main UGA phone line, and UGA help desk emails in order to assist, troubleshoot, and route inquiries. We ensure that all applications are loaded into the student information system (Banner) in order for the admissions counselors to begin evaluating the application. During UGA’s main events (Highlander Days, etc.) the ASU is the staff that runs registrations which can check in and welcome crowds of 5,000–10,000 visitors in a matter of three to four hours.
How does ASU interact with applicants and admitted students?
The ASU is typically the first point of contact that applicants, parents, and prospective students have with UCR. On any given day we could answer 150+ calls with questions ranging from the application process/deadline, troubleshooting MyUCR, document tracking, or checking on the status of major changes. My personal favorite is being able to confirm and congratulate the students/parent that they did in fact get admitted to UCR!
What are some of your big projects at the moment?
The ASU is currently working on getting the new Cisco Jabber phone system to go live. This will ensure that UGA will be able to answer calls during a critical time for our applicants — releasing admissions notifications is early March. We are also working on downloading and posting a new Duolingo exam for over 500 international student who were unable to take the standard IELTS or TOEFL exams last year due to COVID-19. Additionally, Andre Crawford, articulation specialist, and I are working on coordinating and updating articulation requests from the 114 California Community Colleges so that new and continuing students see the latest articulation on ASSIST.org.
Is there anything else you’d like people to know about ASU?
Yes, the ASU is made up of individuals who are very passionate about the work that they do. The majority of the work completed in our unit is not very known since it is a lot of processing behind the scenes. The more efficient we are at our jobs, the fewer number of calls/emails we receive because students' records are up to date and they are seeing the information on their portals.
We take all of our responsibilities just as serious as supporting everyone who we cross paths with. From a first-time college applicant who is not sure how they are going to pay for their application fee, to a military veteran that is trying to further their education and return to school after four years of service, to someone who is simply just wants to find a conference room or building, we treat every interaction knowing that we have the potential to impact the person on the other side of the phone or counter.