At the beginning of each semester, students have many things to worry about. Sometimes, those worries include finding help in a timely manner.
Counselors are there and can be useful, but it can be hard to find an appointment when they’re most needed—usually at the beginning and end of semesters. This sometimes leads to students waiting multiple days or weeks to get the help they need.
Pierce could take a step toward solving this problem by having professors act as counselors during their office hours.
Around 21,000 students are enrolled at Pierce College. The counseling center has 14 counselors and eight adjuncts, according to their website.
That’s an average of 955 students for each counselor, which can make appointments hard to get and lower the effectiveness of counselors.
Counselors who know a student personally will be able to help them more than a counselor who doesn’t know them, and the student might feel more comfortable talking with someone they know.
Students also tend to perform better academically when a school has a strong counseling program, according to studies from the American Counseling Association. So having the best counseling services should be something Pierce strives to do.
The cost to implement this wouldn’t be high. One of the current counselors could write a set of directions with the basics or they could hold a seminar to teach it.
The Pierce counseling website lists two types of sessions—5-10 minute drop-in meetings and 30-minute appointments. If professors learned how to provide the services given at the drop-in meetings, it would free up counselors to work on the more specialized appointments.
Some programs at California State University, Northridge have this in place. During each semester, Media Arts students are required to go to one of their professors’ office hours to receive advisement.
This helps the students stay on track without needing to make an appointment with a general counselor, who would likely know less about the major and student.
Overall, having professors act as counselors would provide more students with the help they need at a more convenient time.