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Student Support Specialist has Inside Perspective

UL Online -- Tue, 10/29/2019 - 10:52am

Online students face a unique set of challenges whether they’re pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree.

Student support specialist Michelle Hunt knows those struggles and opportunities well. As an online student herself, Hunt can offer an inside perspective as she guides potential University of Louisiana at Lafayette online students through the application and enrollment process.

Hunt began the Master of Business Administration program online in spring 2017 and expects to graduate December 2019.Michelle Hunt, student support specialist at UL Lafayette

“I love it,” she says. “I want to educate other people about how great the program is — how doable it is with a full-time job and kids.”

Her experience as an online student drew her to join the Office of Distance Learning in June 2019, growing the team that supports online students from application to graduation.

Hunt realized early in her college career that her passion was working with students.

While enrolled at Lone Star College — the largest community college in Texas — Hunt began working in a student services role. That position evolved into a full-time position assisting students with career and educational planning.

“I like to talk to people; I like to get to know them,” she says. “I like to connect their long-term goals with the education they need and help them find a clear path.”

At UL Lafayette, that path often starts when potential students request information about one of the University’s online programs. 

If they’re interested in a bachelor’s in General Studies or Health Promotion and Wellness, the Master of Science in Systems Technology, one of our graduate programs in the College of Education — M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction, or the Graduate Certificate in Instructional Coaching — or a Graduate Certificate in Professional Writing, Hunt is the expert.

Once someone inquires, Hunt says she’ll give them a call to connect and learn more about their background, interests, current job situation, and family responsibilities.

“Knowing how much time they can devote to school and what their goals are is very helpful when aligning them with the right educational path,” Hunt says. “Once I get to know them, we discuss the programs here to find a good fit.”

Those were all considerations Hunt took into account when enrolling to pursue her master’s degree online.

The Erath native has five children involved in a range of activities — football, dance, soccer — and is actively involved in her church in addition to working full time. She had to figure out how school — even online courses — would fit into that chaotic schedule.

While learning online has provided the flexibility for Hunt to earn an advanced degree that otherwise may have been out of reach because of her time constraints, she also had identifiable personal and professional goals.

“I knew I wanted to work in education, but on the administrative side,” she says. “I wanted to grow my knowledge of business practices and learn in more detail how to manage an office and staff. I wanted to be able to advance my career and bring skills to the table against other job candidates.”

Hunt is also the only member of her immediate family without a UL Lafayette degree, having earned her bachelor’s from Sam Houston State University in Texas.

Now she’ll not only earn her brick on the Walk of Honor alongside the rest of her family, but she’ll also become the only member of her family to hold a master’s degree.

If you’re interested in earning your degree online, give Michelle a call today at 337-482-5555 to discuss your options and find the path that’s right for you.