COC students find it difficult to meet with counselors, advisors

by Cougar News Contributor 0

There are only so many times you can click the refresh button to get an appointment with your advisors until you want to pull your hair out. After the advisor’s secretary tells you that the only way to get an appointment is online, you are ready to throw your books on the floor and say to yourself, “I quit school.”

Students say the problems they face in trying to graduate on time or transfer from College of the Canyons is due to the lack of advisors and not being able to get the help they need from them.

“I decided I needed help to create a path to achieve my degree,” freshman Gavin Campbell said. “I could not talk to an advisor, but I talked to a program advisor and asked when I could schedule an appointment and they said to go online and look for opening and there were none available.”

Sophomore Hannah English has also been frustrated by the online appointment option.

“It makes it hard for me to figure out what I need to do in school in order to get everything I need to do done,” English said.

For many students like Campbell and English it has made it more difficult to transfer and many students are spending more money on classes because of it.

“If I had gotten a counseling appointment sooner than I would not have taken previous unnecessary classes and spent money on books that I did not need,” student Katia Lemus said.

Not all students have had a bad experience with getting an appointment, however. “It was not very hard to get an appointment I just waited till midnight and I got one,” freshmen Laura Gallegos said. “When I saw my counselor she helped me out a lot and made a plan with me and I am stress free.”

Freshman Devon Brooks was able to get an appointment through some persistence. “I had to stay up till one in the morning just to get an appointment but it was worth it,” Brooks said. “It is up to you if you really want an appointment or not.”

Students like Damian Gonzalez have even given up on seeing advisors and are figuring out what classes to take on their own. “I have to hope I am taking the right classes to be on the right track because it was beginning to get more stressful to wait on a counselor appointment to open up, so I just did it on my own.”

Students wonder why it is so hard to get an appointment.

“I know it is frustrating for students but we only have six full time counselors here,“ counselor Erika Torgeson said. “We are trying our best to help as many students as we can, but it makes it harder when 20,000 students are attending here.”

Advisors are getting about 67 students a day and that does not include if committees or special projects are going on.

The school budget has a lot to do with why more counselors are not being hired.

The school receives funding from the state and depending on how much money it receives determines how much is allocated to the counseling department. That amount then establishes how many counselors are available.

The school is only able to hire part-time counselors for now.

The easiest way for students to schedule an appointment is by staying up till midnight and schedule it then because that is when appointments are available.

“The department has listened to the student’s frustration but it all comes down to budgeting,” counselor Torgeson said. “If students are desperate to see an advisor then they will go to that extent to stay up and wait till an opening happens.”

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