Saturday, 22 October 2011

First impressions count

They say that you only get one chance to make a first impression and the importance of this was shown to me again over the last couple of weeks.  We have been doing the rounds of options that my daughter has for next year and sixth form college, and the first two colleges provided a great contrast.

College at Weston didn't have her name on the list despite her preregistering (though they later sent her an email saying it was a shame that she hadn't come).  Of the five options for A level she was looking at, two of her favourites were not attending the evening at all and everyone kept apologising for the lack of literature which was still being printed by the office an hour after we had arrived (though to be fair we had got there early).  A couple of very enthusiastic lecturers there although one simply started the conversation without introducing herself or anything about the course by asking, "so, any questions?"

First impressions at Bridgwater College very different.  It started in the car park where the attendants helped us find a space to park - mine even ran off, beckoning me to follow him, to find a space.  Impressed I wound down the window to thank him and he replied, "It's a pleasure sir".  This is not typical behaviour in the UK.

There was quite a queue at the entrance to register but there was a woman at then end of the queue to greet us and apologise for the queue and explain that if we had preregistered we could join the fast track queue.  Their preregistration system worked and we were on the list and from there we were given the first of our detailed directions as to where we wanted to go.  Every time we needed to ask staff or students we were given friendly, helpful and excellent directions.  So impressive on every level.  All the lecturers bar one that we wanted to see were there and were, overall, probably just a bit more helpful than the guys at Weston. 

Two questions rise from this for me. 

How good are we as a church at welcoming people on a Sunday, or to anything that we put on?  Speaking for me and mine, we have some way to go on this.  It's particularly important given the second question.

Where do you think my daughter wants to go?

Having said that, none of them compare with the college she visited at Oxford University the same week though.  Having visited the Great Hall there she came back giggling, "I've been to Hogwarts".  Not sure she's quite cut out for the dreaming spires.

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