Counseling Pierce Students

Illustration by Maria Salvador, Oct. 23, 2013
Illustration by Maria Salvador, Oct. 23, 2013

With the number of students attending Pierce College, it is not surprising that counseling time is difficult to attain, but the process of booking appointments could be improved.

Career Center Director Joanna Zimring-Towne said that 10 full-time counselors averaged 193 appointments per week last semester to address the needs of a student body of more than 20,000.

The Roundup has heard complaints from students about the restrictive and fruitless process of booking counseling times.

A limited number of half-hour appointments per week are available to be booked only online and only beginning each morning at 8 a.m. If students fail under competition to book their desired appointment, they must rearrange or delay their life.

If a student is lucky enough to secure a time, it may be during class or work time.  But professors don’t want their students missing class and counseling is not a good reason to get in trouble at work.

The counseling office does offer a few other options for students that are unable to secure an appointment or to answer general questions, but that does little to console a student with in-depth concerns and limited time.

Students may also wait for a 10 to 15 minute walk-in appointment with the next available counselor. But walk-ins may wait for hours. With a busy schedule of school and work, students rarely have the time or patience to spend hours in the counseling office.

Students with only basic needs may stop by the office for lobby hours, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at which time counselors are in the lobby to answer brief questions.

Students may also email the counseling office with questions and wait to receive an answer within three business days.

Lastly, students could rely on online information to figure out how to transfer or graduate and hope come graduation time, they calculated correctly and have all the units they need.

Pierce counseling should broaden its availability like that of East Los Angeles College, which offers priority appointments in person in addition to over the phone and online bookings.

Not all students need to see a counselor each semester, but for those who do, the process shouldn’t be so burdensome.