Students dissatisfied with counseling experiences

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Over the course of the Fall 2020 semester, Delta College students reported having a difficult time receiving assistance from the Counseling Center, errors made by counselors on education plans and trouble getting in contact with department personnel.

While some believe difficulties getting in touch with counseling personnel could be due to the center’s struggle to transition to providing remote services, student Samantha Brigance said her issues with counseling predated the pandemic.

Brigance said she has made several attempts to book counseling appointments for the past year and a half, but has had no success.

“Trying to get in to see a counselor is crazy,” Brigance said. “I don’t even contact Delta counselors anymore.”

Brigance said when she would call the center before the pandemic, she was told she either needed to book an appointment online or walk-in.

“My counselor wasn’t even listed as an option online,” Brigance said.

She said the lack of assistance prompted her to reach out to the counseling office at University of the Pacific, the institution she intends to transfer to.

Brigance said the Pacific counselor who evaluated her transcript found flaws within her original education plan.

“They couldn’t believe they were making me take the classes I was taking,” Brigance said. “They said a lot of classes were redundant because no matter if I took them at Delta or Pacific, I would still have to repeat them.”

Brigance said the Pacific counselor was also able to cross off a couple of Delta classes she didn’t need to take. She now follows the education plan Pacific provided her to ensure she can successfully transfer.

“I have gotten more support from Pacific than I have at Delta,” Brigance said. “They have always gotten me in within a couple days after calling and asking questions.”

Dr. Angela Tos, dean of Student Enrollment Services and Development, said Delta has a committee comprised of faculty and staff that meets regularly to discuss how appointments are made and screened to make sure students are scheduled to see the counselor who is going to be able to serve them best based upon their needs.

Tos said the committee was formed this semester to troubleshoot any issues regarding remote services that arise as a result of the pandemic and to improve student experience.

“We care about students and want to ensure they have a positive experience and receive accurate information in all of their interactions with student services,” Tos said. “If students have an unsatisfactory experience, we want them to let us know so that we can try to make things right.”

Student Alyson Gregg has had a similar experience as Brigance.

“I met with a Delta counselor at the beginning of the semester and got an education plan, then a month later met with a counselor at the university I’m intending on transferring to, and that counselor threw out the entire education plan from Delta and essentially told me to go to them, not Delta, for help,” Gregg said.

Gregg added she almost dropped a class she needed to transfer based on how she was advised.

“My experience at Delta has been a dumpster fire, to the point that I’m considering transferring early just to get out of Delta,” Gregg said.

Student Rachel Trevino said she has found herself at Delta for an extra year due to education plan errors.

Trevino said it was easy for her to book an appointment with a counselor upon entering Delta in 2018 as she was a new student and believes priority is given to new students.

“I told the counselor I wanted to take classes and possibly transfer in the end,” Trevino said. “I told her I may not transfer, but to set me up with transferable courses so in the event I do want to transfer, I have the opportunity to do so without taking more classes.”

Trevino said she liked her counselor and thought they were on the same page. Then a semester later, she couldn’t book an appointment with her counselor “to save [her] life.”

“I had ran into another counselor and told him the issue I was having,” Trevino said. “He took the time to squeeze me into his busy schedule to sit down and check my plan.”

Trevino said after telling her new counselor about her interest in possibly transferring, he said the plan made by her original counselor didn’t have the option to transfer. He made her a new plan to ensure she could transfer if she desired.

“I would have been done with school this semester had it not been for the original counselor not giving me a plan with transferable units,” Trevino said. “Now I’m stuck even longer because the classes I need to take to transfer are harder classes that I would have taken when we had the option to do so in person.”

Former Delta student Tonya Hensley said she transferred to Modesto Junior College (MJC) as she was not pleased with the counseling services offered at Delta.

Hensley said her Delta counselor made errors on her education plan “three semesters in a row.”

“MJC got me in and out of there and now I’m at [Stanislaus State] in the nursing program,” Hensley said.

According to Tos, counseling faculty meet every Friday to receive updates and training.

“These meetings are used to discuss items such as process changes across campus, new technologies that are implemented, or curriculum changes, such as Delta College program requirements in the catalog or updates regarding admissions at the CSUs and UCs.”

Not all students have had negative experiences with counseling.

Student Silvia Ambriz said she needed to book an appointment at the beginning of the semester. However, she didn’t know how to since Delta has a new registration system in place.

“One thing I did remember was the new system has a LiveChat feature so I asked there and I was able to schedule an appointment with a counselor via Zoom within a week or so,” Ambriz said.

Ambriz said she was surprised she was able to book an appointment quickly because she’s aware of the struggles other students have had scheduling appointments.

“I feel as though many students don’t know they can schedule an appointment through the LiveChat feature,” Ambriz said.

To ensure more students have a positive experience like Ambriz, Tos said the institution has recently finished a hiring recruitment to add additional adjunct counselors to the counseling department.

“Pending board approval, there will be new counselors coming on board in January,” Tos said.