Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.

I will use my education and work experience to become a Dean of Students who is hands on, who assesses programming and performance consistently and frequently, and whose door is truly always open. In my current capacity, my responsibilities include advising students and monitoring their progress toward degree completion.

During the busiest times of the year when we are advising hundreds of students and helping them to prepare their schedules for the next semester, we require students to make appointments. If a student tries to “pop in” unannounced for a formal meeting to discuss next semester’s course selection, I explain why it’s not feasible and how making an appointment is actually beneficial to the student. But it’s crucial never to turn students away--there have been times when a student with a bona fide crisis has come into my office unannounced, traumatized and in need of counsel. A “Sorry, I can’t meet with you now,” communicated via email or administrative assistant would be cruel, aloof, and impersonal. It should be standard operating procedure that those working in student affairs put students first, but all too often I see that this is not the case.

I have seen student affairs colleagues refuse to meet with students in person (they are told she only communicates with students via email). Some are terrible even at responding to time-sensitive matters brought to them by students. To me, this is unconscionable and has informed the way I interact with students even now. I have committed myself to my career in student affairs and have gotten more involved with our student clubs and programming in an effort to mitigate the blasé attitudes of those who work only for a paycheck. It rankles when a student reports that she had hit a dead end trying to reach out to upper leadership, especially at a university as expensive as NYU. No matter at what size college or university I find myself in the future, this will always be my approach to student affairs.

Danielle from New York
New York University