Editorial: One counseling appointment goes a long way

It’s no secret that most students in higher education get stuck quite a lot. Whether it’s between actually knowing (and getting) the classes you need to transfer to a four-year university, the academic responsibilities of taking those classes, and juggling a job or volunteering in between, it’s easy to see why. No matter what Skyline does for many of these students, some fall behind, losing track of their usual two year goal for transfer.

According to an article from the Community College Review, citing a study from Cal State Sacramento, only 30 percent of California Community College students ever manage to transfer or graduate.

But there are still things that can be done. To help students keep track and achieve their academic goals, counseling should be mandatory at least once a semester for all currently enrolled students, which would not only help students get on track with a counselor, but it would also help counselors see where students need the most help.

The current system of academic counseling at Skyline does the best it can, especially given the wide range of needs it tries to serve. Between serving nearly 10,000 students who all have wildly varying schedules, the counseling department does what it can to serve them academically.

The counseling department at Skyline College recommends that all students go make a Student Educational Plan (SEP) and continue to meet regularly with a counselor in order to update said SEP and look at the amount of progress being made. Students enrolled in the Priority Enrollment Program (PEP) are required to get an initial SEP, but other students are not.

So what would a mandatory counseling appointment once a semester do for students? For one, it would help them set up an SEP, which would go a long way in helping students understand exactly which kinds of courses they should take, and make the signup process for classes easier on students. This one step would go a long way to make students more comfortable signing up for classes, and counselors would be closer to meeting students’ needs.

The same article from Community College Review, this time citing the San Francisco Gate, says that 59 percent of students who earn at least 20 units in their first year go on to earn a degree. Comparitively, only 21 percent of students that don’t graduate at all.

This proves that getting students feet firmly on the ground early helps immensely with getting students to achieve their academic goals, and one mandatory counseling appointment could do just that.

A mandatory counseling appointment every semester could help everyone. A more educated society is a better society, and community colleges are an instrumental part of the higher education world, and a mandatory counseling appointment helps make that happen.

Mandatory counseling, at least once, would make it easier for all students at Skyline College to realize their academic goals, and would contribute to a better educated Skyline with more
successful students.