Why it’s important to see a counselor

Counseling department at Student Services Center (Shirley Smith/Lariat)

Shirley Smith

The first thing a student should do when enrolling in college is to make an appointment with a counselor. This person has all the assets and knowledge to get your train going down the right track.

Pam Barr, a generalist counselor said, “One of the major differences between high school and college is the choices the students have to make at college, and in order to make sure they’re taking what will meet their needs and help them reach their goal, they want to work with counselors from the very beginning.”

Barr especially wants freshmen to know that a counselor in college is different than one in high school. They are here to help you, whereas if we saw one in high school, we were probably in trouble.

“I think in high school, counselors deal a lot with disciplinary issues and students here are under the impression you only see a counselor if you’re in trouble though it’s a totally different role that we play and we basically are student advocates,” Barr said.

After obtaining a horticulture certificate, I decided to pursue an associate’s degree; but there are specific requirements to fulfill before receiving one that a counselor had to go over with me.

Now wanting to further my education in a nearby university, It’s apparent requirements for entry into a California State University are different than those for a University of California and the requirements for a chosen major come into play depending on which type of university I choose.

One might think that’s the end of it, but not quite. When students are ready to fill out our transfer application, they find that not all of their units are transferable. And have they completed the  “Golden Four?” There are special counselors with an entire office dedicated in this endeavor. An appointment is also needed. Plus there is a workshop they can sign up for to help them through this process.

Zak Beard, a 21-year-old majoring in Business said, “The system can be kind of complex and confusing and there’s a lot of systems to transfer out, so you’re really making sure you’re on track and able to get out, because it can be tricky and there’s a lot of nuances and a lot of little speed bumps to knock you off track.”

So students can be happily cruising at a nice speed until they round the last turn to find a hole in the gas tank. They had not prepared properly for their intended outcome, sometimes even with well-intended parental help.

It is also important to see a counselor before registering each semester because changes may come down that might affect students.

“We do really encourage students to find a counselor and stay with the counselor and see someone every semester,”  Barr said. ” It is very difficult for us to keep students informed of all the recent changes and they really need to take the responsibility to become informed for themselves.”

Saddleback has all the services available to help prepare students as they transition on their academic quest.They can save themselves a lot of time and money if they contact the counseling office in the Student Services Center and make an appointment.

“There are three ways to make an appointment. One is going on-line to the website, second one is I’d recommend a person come here in person, it’s a lot easier. And the third would be over the phone, but we get a high volume of people calling at one time,”  said Arthur Araiza counsel office assistant.

Pam Barr, Generalist Counselor (Shirley Smith/Lariat)

Zak Beard, 21, Business major (Shirley Smith/Lariat)

Arthur Araiza, counsel office assitant (Shirley Smith/Lariat)