Palo Alto Students getting information from The Center for Academic Transitions.

Students prepare for transfer and workforce

By Marilyn Robles, Pulse staff writer

Former Palo Alto College students agree that they were prepared for university life and future careers.

“Top universities have no mercy on students,” said Hector Alaniz, a civil engineering graduate of Texas A&M-College Station.  “Either you get it or you don’t!  Either you study hard to pass the course, or you don’t study at all and fail out!”

The transition from college to university to career might seem intimidating to some students, but Palo Alto College has a staff who is willing to help.

“The Alamo Colleges do a great job together to prepare the students with the background knowledge needed,” said Micaela Sanchez, job placement specialist and career adviser at Palo Alto College.  “We have many programs that help students build up a resume, but students have to take the first step by coming in for help.”

The Center for Academic Transitions is located inside the Student Center, and their hours of operation are Monday, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Tuesday, through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Nina Garcia, a senior Communications major at Texas A&M-San Antonio, is pleased with the education she received at Palo Alto College.

“Palo Alto College definitely prepares you for the initial jump into the work force.  Not only prepare you, but excite you instead of making you skeptical or hesitant about finding a job.”

As far as the transition from college workload to university workload, students notice minor differences.

“I had a really smooth transition,” said Garcia.  “The work was harder in my upper division classes, but it was nothing I could not handle.”

University professors agree that Palo Alto College worked well with students and passed on valuable traits.

“Palo Alto College does a very good job working with students across the spectrum,” said Jenny Moore, faculty adviser for The Mesquite School Of Arts and Science at Texas A&M-San Antonio.  “Each student is determined, earnest and very responsible.”

Even though students and staff believe that undergraduate students are prepared, employers and previous Palo Alto graduates notice minor downfalls in the education when it comes to career preparation.

Anna Nuñez, an early childhood teacher at Avance who transferred to Texas A&M-San Antonio from Palo Alto, said that this college prepares you to transfer to a university but does not prepare you for the workforce.

“Palo Alto did not offer hands-on experience. Texas A&M let me go out in the field and experience what working was really like,” she said.

“I notice that college graduates are very sheltered,” said Azalia Hoelting, promotions manager at Fox 29 and The CW 35. “There is a lot of shock of what reality is and having to juggle things around.”

Hoelting said passion, open-mindedness, networking and confidence are crucial characteristics needed.

“Do as many internships that you can, and stay in contact.  Be willing to roll up your sleeves and get dirty,” she said.  “Be open to learning and doing it all, but have a great work ethic. It’s tough starting off in a demanding market. They will eat you alive out there.”