Current Editorial: Counseling Gridlock

It is usually around this time of the year that many of the almost 35,000 students try to utilize one of the 25 counselors on campus to discuss what classes they need to take in the upcoming semester to further their educational goals.

The problem that students encounter is the lack of availability of counselors, and the time to wait in the counseling center for their names to be called, especially when scheduling a “drop-in appointment.”

“The counseling office takes extremely long to get into, especially if you work six days a week, and during the summer, I did,” horticulture major Matthew Clegg said.  “So trying to get in and schedule my classes out of that one day that I had off was extremely hard.”

The Current tried to reach out to counseling chairperson Rafael Rivera for comment via email, but attempts to contact him were unsuccessful at the time of print.

Counselors advise not waiting until the last minute to make your appointment, and urge students to help streamline the process by scheduling appointment times with counselors that they have previously seen.

Time is often taken during each visit that a student sees a new counselor to view the students’ transcript and develop an educational goal with a plan determining which classes need to be completed.

“They try to do their best, when you think about … how many students they have to accommodate,” said Melissa Dubina, a biotechnology major. “Once you find a counselor that knows about the major you’re majoring in, that’s one I would stick with. They’ll be able to help you the most that way.”

Some counselors even hand out their business cards to the students who they see, and advise them that if there are any questions, to call the counselor on his or her direct line. This alleviates some of the wait by allowing direct contact when students just have a quick question.

ARC student Megan Houchin proposed an idea for streamlining the process that could be implemented with a little work.

“The easiest thing they could do is use text alerts to let you know when you’re name is close to being called,” Houchin said.  “Then you’d be able to go run errands or get other things done while you wait so it doesn’t feel like they’re completely wasting half your day.”

Considering the possibility that all new students may be required to meet with a counselor to develop an educational plan in 2014-2015 school year, the simplest solution would be to hire more counselors to help serve the student body.

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