The start of a new quarter at Bellevue College always brings changes, some affecting more people than others. This quarter, the area of the B building that answers student questions has been remodeled into Student Central, an area where students can go to get any questions they may have about financial aid, late enrollment and many other topics answered.
Instead of two counters, the downstairs area has been divided into five booths and one registration counter. Students can also register online, through an app or phone call or text. The system will then let the student know when it is their turn through a text message. This question system is called Q-Less, inside each of the booths is a desk with a computer and a person behind it who will answer the student’s questions and help them with the issues they need resolved. “When we were in the first week of the quarter, we used to have a line stretching out the door,” said Steve Downing, director of enrollment and registrar services. “The whole idea of this Q-Less is that students don’t have to stand in a physical line.”
Downing stated that as well as trying to make a more convenient system for students, Student Central and Q-Less booths are there to make students feel more comfortable. He said that the cubicle allows for more privacy and the participants are “sitting down, so it’s an eye-to-eye interaction.” Additionally, students don’t have to walk between places to get everything done. In the past, students would get their financial aid finished at one counter before having to go to the other counter to finish enrollment only to be told they need to go somewhere else to work on another issue. “We actually gave a name to that,” said Downing, “we called it the BC shuffle.” Now, students can get most of their issues resolved in one place.
The second floor is still full of counters, but Downing said that BC is planning to add the programs on the second floor to the Q-less system as well. “We can expand this to as many areas of campus as we want,” said Downing. The system will also develop to be better at estimating the wait times for lines. This will make everything more efficient and give the students an opportunity to be able to do something they want or need to do rather than simply having to stand in line. “If we say it’s a 45-minute wait, we want you to be able to go to the library for 30, 40 minutes and come back at around the right time,” said Downing.
While some students love Q-Less, there are students that are frustrated with the new system according to Jennifer Rucker, one of the people who answers questions in the cubicles. For the students who are frustrated, Rucker advises to “make sure that when they are checking into Q-Less to do it at home or to do it on their way here and that way they cut down a lot of their wait time,” and asked that they “have patience. We’re still working through the kinks.”