Advising helps guarantee student success

By Kayla B. De La Peña
Pulse staff reporter

kdelapenaEven though some students prefer to visit their advisors only once a semester or every few weeks, advising should be a constant in any college student’s academic life.

Students visit their advisors for multiple reasons, but the main topics discussed in these sessions are class schedules, transferring, degree plans, career plans and scholarships. Sophomore Emergency Medical Tech major Adolph Mendoza said he visits his advisor twice at the beginning of the semester and once toward the end to discuss “classes to register for that go with [his] degree plan.”

The general goal for advisors on campus is to “provide every student with an exemplary, effective and personalized pathway to success through academic and career advising,” according to the Advising Center’s page on the Alamo Colleges’ website.

Some students visit an advisor when it is necessary. However, not every student relies on an advisor to make sure they are on the right path to graduate on time.

Sophomore Education major Armando Mancha said he visits his advisor for “opportunities and requirements” to make transferring easier, but it is up to him to follow through. While Mancha spoke highly of his assigned advisor, he did reveal that he does not ask her for too much advice on his class schedule. He prefers to use Alamo GPS, an online degree plan that monitors students’ progress in school and shows what is still required for graduation. Using Alamo GPS allows Mancha to have control over his schedule so that he can have a “better balance for better results.”

Sophomore Abraham Villarreal, a Computer Science major, has had three advisors in his three semesters at Palo Alto College. While it was inconvenient to temporarily have an advisor who was not specific to his major, he was still able to get general advice about specific classes. Villarreal visits his advisor to ask what classes to take and to check in on the progress of his education.

A few students are not lucky enough to have an attentive advisor and feel like they have to navigate through college alone. Samantha Hancock, a Liberal Arts major, has had an advisor that suggested classes she did not need to take.

“They are like filler classes. It makes you feel like they aren’t paying attention,” she said.

Advisors are here to help students realize their potential. Most students are young adults becoming independent for the first time. Relying too heavily on an advisor’s guidance might cause a delay in independence and responsibility when it comes to academics.

It is still a good idea to visit an advisor at least once per semester to monitor your progress. If advising is not as helpful, see a faculty advisor for additional help.

STEM, SEED and BOLD Advising Centers are open Monday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the first Saturday of every month.

Walk-in appointments include registration assistance, student holds, course changes and prerequisite overrides. Make an appointment with an advisor to discuss financial aid appeals, individual success plans and career advising.

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