Visit From a Secret Shopper

A few weeks ago, we were visited by a group of deans who were here to see if we really are providing a quality education to our students. The results aren’t official yet, but the team was impressed by our culture of engagement and the many opportunities we provide our students to connect with each other, the faculty, and the community at large. That said, the team’s visit wasn’t very secret and they are all pretty far removed from making a choice about where to go to school.

I try to get insights into how our students see us by hosting lunches with a handful of them each semester. Having lunch with the Dean can be intimidating and most students want to leave me with a good impression, so the conversations tends to be both polite and positive. Every now and then, I gain an insight into a common student struggle or perception, but it’s fairly rare. Besides, they all chose UCF, so we must have done something right….

This week, I have a unique opportunity to see how high school students perceive UCF as my stepdaughter and her friend visit campus. My stepdaughter got accepted a couple of months ago and is choosing between three schools. She’s not likely to be a business student, so in that sense the college is off the hook. Yet, I’m eager to hear about how she perceives the campus–what went right on her visit and what went wrong. Unlike those polite students I meet at lunch, she’ll tell me exactly what she thinks and since she doesn’t share my last name, she will get the typical visit. It will be just one person’s opinion and the diversity in our students’ preparations, expectations, and aspirations undoubtably mean that many students will disagree with her view, but it’s sure to be a learning experience for both of us.

If you have a suggestion on what she should do during her visit to get the best sense of whether UCF is the right place for her to pursue the next chapter in her life, I’d appreciate it if you’d provide it in the comment section below. I’ll pass it on to her. Let’s see if we can make her a UCF Knight.