Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science, General  Interviews


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dotWhat to Expect

Today's secretaries need to know their way around a computer, and be able to use programs that include everything from databases to the Internet. Office administration programs make sure their graduates have these skills.

Connie Thompson chose the office administration program at a community college because she wanted a career and not just a job. "I have realized that this is something I am good at and I'm very glad I chose it," she says.

Because the program underwent some reorganization and was shortened to 10 months, Thompson learned to expect constant work. She liked that aspect, though -- it forced her to use her brain. She and her classmates were kept busy learning computer skills, business English, keyboarding and general office procedures such as filing.

"I [didn't] really find any of it difficult, other than trying to go from zero to 45 words per minute on a keyboard in 10 short months," she says. "Practice and determination are slowly getting me through."

Gina Alexander took office administration at Central Tech in Oklahoma. She says there are a lot of small steps involved in getting in and out of the various software programs which might cause some confusion for new students.

Her advice is to stay calm and avoid getting frustrated at the computer.

How to Prepare

Alexander wishes she had paid more attention in English class. She says she often took work home so she could get some extra practice, even though homework isn't mandatory.

"Pay close attention in English class," she advises. "And get an after-school job answering phones or doing light clerical work."