PAC students place their trust in certified student advisors’ hands

By Juan Alberto Ponce Jr.
Pulse Staff Reporter

PAC Advising
A PAC student sets up an appointment to meet with a certified student advisor.  Photo by Juan A. Ponce Jr.

PAC students place their trust in certified student advisors to provide guidance and resources to empower them to achieve their academic goals.

The director of Advising, Michael Ximenez, highlighted a key aspect of Alamo Colleges’ mission statement:  To build a culture of integrated practices and shared responsibilities.  Ximenez believes there’s a shared obligation between the advisor and the student.

Certified student advisors assist an average of 6,000 PAC students per fall semester. At an average of 350 students per advisor, it seems almost impossible to meet every student’s needs.

“I make sure I attend each appointment to ensure I’m following my degree plan accordingly,” said sophomore Kaitlyn R. Borders, a Drama major.

Maintaining an open line of communication with their advisor is the key to students’ success. Staying updated with classes and dates on early registration can benefit students.

“It’s important to know that we outreach to all of our students by calling them, emailing them or sending out postcards,” said Ximenez.

Meeting with your advisor will allow you to build a rapport with them. In turn, the advisor will be able to understand your needs as a student.

“Develop that relationship with your advisor. Try not being nervous, and let them know what you want,” said sophomore Edgar A. Serna, a Psychology major.

Certified student advisors are required to have bachelor’s degrees and go through extensive training called Counsel on Adult and Educational Learning (CAEL.) The three primary modules for training involve roles, responsibilities, and duties as an advisor; academic advising theory; and academic advising sessions.

The training involves establishing a rapport with a student by understanding gender, ethnicity, equity, as well as conducting mock advising sessions for efficiency.

“That’s part of the whole advising model…but building a relationship with trust is a key aspect of having a good relationship,” said Eloisa Cordova, certified student advisor.

Advisors dedicate approximately an hour and a half for training every Friday. Ximenez provides time and resources so that the advising staff may fulfill students’ goals.

“We train so that we provide our students with the best chances for success,” said Ximenez.

Not all students will connect with their advisors. It’s important for students to express frustrations to avoid miscommunication and confusion.

“I feel my first advisor didn’t really listen to me or had very much patience with me. My current advisor is a great listener and so patient.  She has even pushed her lunch break to see me when I had an issue with my schedule,” said Borders.

Proper communication with your advisor can let them better serve you and resolve any issues you may have.

“Don’t hesitate to come in and ask questions. We want everyone to be successful. Our ultimate objective is to help students achieve their educational and career goals,” said Cordova.

Take the time to research your Field of Study/Pathway to gain a grasp of what it entails. Express interests and concerns to your advisor to narrow down your choices. Set goals and manage your time to maximize your chances for success.

“It’s important to see your advisor to better understand your degree plan and classes you need to take to graduate on time,” said Serna.

If you haven’t seen your certified student advisor, make an appointment today to ensure you’re on the right track.  Walk-in advising hours are Monday, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursdays, 8 a.m. to noon.