Students Express Disappointments With Counseling

Wendi L. Vaughn

Many students express their disappointment and frustrations with counselors on campus that aren’t qualified and don’t seem to care to answer questions that guide students in the right direction for their futures.

There have been many complaints from different GCC students that the counselors on this campus do not take their jobs seriously and provide faulty answers to basic questions.

“All they do is give you IGETC forms,” said Lisa Harytnyan, ” I could have done that on my own. They never answer my questions.”

Many students also complained about the quick short meetings they receive with the counselors on the second floor of the San Rafeal Building.

“I never get my full 30 minutes with the counselor,” said Susan Karapetyan. “I wait 30 minutes just to get a meeting and then half way through, the counselor is shuffling through their papers as if I’m not even there.”

Many international students have complained about having only two counselors in their department that never have enough time to see them.

“We need more counselors in our department,” said Oxana Davydova a second year international student. “Maybe some of the regular counselors could help us too and be trained on how to handle our paper work.”

Currently Dr. Kamar-Kay is the only international student counselor working in the office. Maria Ribeiro is the other counselor for international students, but is on maternal leave.

“We are looking for another counselor for international students,” said Judy Razzar, “The position should be filled by the end of the month.”

Students’ complaints go on and on, leaving the problem unsolved, but Jewel Price, dean of student services, offers a solution for the unhappy students.

“If students ever have any problems, I’m hear to listen,” she said, ” I believe the counseling department’s main priority is to help get students to the next level.”

Price realizes that many students wait until the peak times during the semester to get help.

“The first two weeks of school are always really crowded,” said Price. “By the fifth, week things start calming down.”

Price recommends that students plan ahead and try to talk with counselors when there isn’t a need to rush.

Case-loads are another solution Price is researching to enhance the counseling experience. Case-loading is when students are assigned to a counselor for the entire time they attend GCC. This way counselors and students can build relationships and can be aided with decisions more effectively.

There is also online orientation available for students to log on and find out basic information about classes for transferring to other schools. At the end, there is a mini true and false quiz that if completed gives students points towards priority registration.

Many of the counselors also have Web pages that students can access to ask questions via e-mail.

“We are trying to get things more computerized,” said Price.

Despite the many students that leave counseling sessions unsatisfied, there are some students that have had better experiences.

“Roxanne Dominguez and Troy Davis have kept me on track and helped me keep my grades up,” said GCC student Oliver Leiva.

Dominguez definitely takes her job very seriously, but admits that the counseling department has room for improvements.

“I try to help any student that walks through my door,” said Dominguez. “When errors are made and misinformation occurs it irritates me. But I make sure to take care of business and get the right information.”