Saddleback caters to its diverse campus population

Waiting in line (Ashley Henderson)

Ashley Henderson

Counseling, athletics, Associated Student Government and even veterans’ education, are only a few of the various programs encompassed by Student Services.

“We are constantly searching for ways to reach out to students and assist them in their academic endeavors, personal goals, and ambitions for the future,” Lise Telson, vice president for Student Services said.

The student services center takes special care in catering to the needs of its main priority: students. 

“Everything we do in Student Services is about enabling the student to become successful in reaching their personal and educational goals,” Barbara Sendaba, executive assistant of student services, said.

According to Telson, because the campus has around 27,000 students with a variety of interests and needs, success is different for each person.

One of the many departments of student services is the Health Center.

Saddleback’s free and private psychological counseling, provided by the Health Center, aims to help students deal with issues such as personal growth, relationships, and stress management, she said.

Students are not only provided with counseling by the center but various medical services such as family planning and lab testing, and birth control for those who pay health fees.

“You have to have a lot of energy and believe in people,” Telson, who also supervises the financial aid services, said.

Financial Aide assists students with obtaining grants, loans, scholarships and even emergency loans. The financial aide office is always available for students in search of ways to pay for their college education by allowing them to utilize the many opportunities for financial aid.  

 “We are here to help and encourage students to use the services,” Telson said.
 Another important outreach is The Early Bird program, which prompts high school students to seek out a path to college. 

Students take an online orientation, assessment test, and attend group advisement sessions before they are eligible to register for classes at Saddleback, said Laura Toscano, senior matriculation specialist. 

Though it may seem a rigorous process, Toscano said that students are not doing anything more or less than a regular high school student, they are giving the students a certain date to complete it by and if they complete it then they have priority at Early Bird registration.

Another program that assists students in preparation for their future is MAP, or My Academic Plan.

MAP is a program that assists students by enabling them to input their educational goals via computer and have their courses and requirements mapped out for them online.

But the constant progression and improvements of these programs does not stop here. The expansion of student services necessitates more space to house these programs.

Along with the many other changes Telson is dealing major construction project related to the SSC roof.  Because of a leak, the college is in the process of putting a new one down to replace it, said John Ozurovich, director of facilities. 

“These buildings are getting older and the roof needs to be replaced,” Telson said. “The new roof should be completed by the start of school year, if not earlier,”Ozurovich said.

Focusing on sustaining these new programs as well as advancing their future goals in the recent economic change is a challenge but Student Services staff remains optimistic by focusing on the staff and being supportive, just really being there for people, Telson said. 

“We help them come closer to achieving their long-term and short-term goals,” Telson said.

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