In this interview, Dave Hendricks, an Education without Boundaries course mentor at WGU will share what inspires him to be a valuable part of his students’ WGU experience, as well as tips for students studying at online universities.
WGU: To start, what is your background? How and when did you decide to become a mentor at WGU?
Dave Hendricks: I have been working in advising/admissions in higher education for over 10 years now. I came to WGU through the Enrollment department, and became a mentor after I’d worked here about 3 years.
WGU: So you’ve been in the education sector for a while! What do you feel are the advantages of an online university such as WGU?
Dave Hendricks: I think the advantages include catering to people who are too busy to attend a more conventional college structure, and helping those who have been working in their field for several years and don’t have the time or patience to sit through beginner courses. We serve a great number of “non-traditional” students and I think WGU lends itself well to those students.
WGU: What is some memorable advice that you have received in your life with regards to your career and succeeding?
Dave Hendricks: I try to take in as much feedback as possible to improve my communication and people skills.
WGU: So, what inspires you on a day to day basis to be the best mentor you can be?
Dave Hendricks: It’s very rewarding to work with brand new students as they start their degree. It’s very motivating to help them begin this important step in their life, and try to make sure they have all the correct expectations. Knowing we provide a rewarding service definitely helps keep me motivated.
WGU: Teaching every day definitely seems to be a rewarding job! How has mentoring at an accredited online university affected your life?
Dave Hendricks: Being a mentor has made me much more encouraging to people in my life who are considering college. It’s never too late, you’re never too old, it’s not too expensive, it’s not too hard, and there’s plenty of support. I’m constantly encouraging anyone considering it to do the research and find a way to make their college goals a reality.
WGU: It’s true – it is never too late to go back to school! That’s a great message to stand behind. So what is your favorite thing about being a mentor?
Dave Hendricks: My favorite part of being an Orientation mentor is helping people get started with college. Most new students are excited, nervous, in a hurry, and scared to death. It’s a lot of fun to help everyone get the facts they need and get started so they can have the best possible experience at WGU.
WGU: It’s great that you love to encourage your students. Since you have been in the business for so long, are there any online tools or research tips you can give to readers thinking about, or currently, working towards an online degree?
Dave Hendricks: Do the research and homework necessary to determine what kind of online program you want or need, and what schools can realistically provide that to you. Check accreditation, student feedback, any data you can find, good and bad. Make a well researched, well planned decision.
We would like to thank Dave for his insightful thoughts and inspiration.