This piece was written by Ahlam Alamamy. Ahlam Alamamy is a communication intern for the BC Academic Technology blog. She is pursuing her Associates degree in biology at Bakersfield College, and aspires to become a pediatrician. She is a first generation student who strives to get a higher education to reach her goals. During her free time, she loves spending quality time with family and taking trips to parks and beaches around California.
I asked a medical student, when do you recommend starting to study for the MCAT? He replied, “MCAT material starts pretty much as soon as your first science class begins.” He went on to explain what he meant, saying that once you start taking science courses, you start to comprehend the topics covered in the MCAT, and as you study your courses, you begin to train to develop study skills and how to take good notes.
Similarly, when students enroll in college and begin taking classes, students begin to prepare for a 4-year university transfer, graduate school, or a job. Students can gain knowledge, skills, and abilities when learning new concepts and information that they will use when they transfer, graduate, or gain employment. However, for students to reach their goals they will need guidance to lead them through, especially a first-generation student. Counselors are available to provide students with the support they need, inform them of what they need to achieve in terms of their career goals, and assist students in making good decisions about their academic plans.
During my second semester at BC, I discovered the significance of consulting a counselor after being overwhelmed with what classes to take and how to transfer to a 4-year university. My counselor was able to assist me in developing an education plan for each semester at BC that will result in me transferring to a university. I was able to determine where I stand and what my next steps should be in order to achieve my academic objectives. The counselor provided me with all the resources I needed to succeed. Encouraging students to speak to counselors even for simple questions will assist and lead students in the right direction.
My counselor also advised me to research and speak with my prospective university counselor to discuss my aspirations and learn the processes required to attend that university to guarantee I meet the transfer requirements. When I met with transfer counselors, she assisted me in ensuring that my credits were transferable and provided me with information on the university application and essential deadlines of which I needed to be aware.
In the course syllabus, it can be helpful to include counselors’ contact information to help them discuss or plan their transfer goals after graduating from BC. Including dates for CSU and UC applications would be helpful to notify students that the application for transfer registration or graduation is open. It can also be helpful to include deadlines to prompt students to check their degree planner and review whether or not they are ready to transfer/graduate.
Steps to students’ success start with instructors. Providing a simple tip or advice can guide students in many ways. When students inquire about transfer, graduation, or question what their next step is, direct them to counselors. Counselors are aware of on-campus and off-campus services that aid in student achievement. Recommending that students seek help from counselors has a positive impact on their life. This will enable them to make better use of campus resources, engage in genuine conversations with the counselor about their goals, and invest in their success.