“You’ll need to wait two weeks.” “You’ll have to look that up online.” “We’re out of time.”
These are all sentences students have heard when dealing with Palomar’s Counseling Center (PCC).
The first problem with PCC is the fact that it’s almost impossible to get immediate help from your counselor. When a student calls for an appointment, they are are scheduled two weeks into the future.
Regardless of whether or not they need help planning their entire college career, or have a simple question that the secretaries cannot answer, two weeks is how long a student must wait for any help.
Despite the low transfer rates of students, it feels like the people who are supposed to be helping transfer are doing a better job at discouraging them, aiding in the stagnant successful transfers Palomar boasts.
Another problem students are faced when dealing with the counseling services on campus is the apparent lack of knowledge about transferring to private, out of state, and international schools.
At the beginning of this semester, I personally set up an appointment to change my major and get information about the schools I was interested in transferring to and after waiting two weeks for the appointment, I finally made it in.
Changing my major was easy enough and my counselor was very helpful when I needed to nullify a couple classes that I retook. The issue I had, however, was immediately after getting that stuff squared away, I was asked if I was attending a UC or CSU.
I was not prepared for this question and mentioned the schools I was interested in, which are almost all out of state and private. My counselor, however, seemed adamant on giving me information about in-state universities, so we spent most of the time discussing what classes I would need for those schools.
Having none of my questions answered about schools I was actually interested in, I mentioned it to the counselor again to which they told me that we would have to look it up online but we were almost out of time, so I should do it myself or make another appointment.
I was dumfounded and discouraged. Not only were the questions I had been sitting on not even touched upon, but I was essentially told to do it myself even though I needed guidance through the treacherous transferring journey.
The final thing I was told to do was to make a “follow-up” appointment. Two. Weeks. Later. I would have to wait another two weeks for what? The same education plan for school I wasn’t interested in?
I decided to not make the second appointment because, not only am one unit away from being a full time student, but as a commuting student, I also work part time in a city an hour away.
Students should not have to suffer because the counseling department is understaffed and ill-prepared.
If you feel like Palomar’s counseling services are a pain in the ass to work through and with, you’re not alone. Please email me your stories and experiences at email@example.com and contact Brian Stockert, Dean of Counseling Services firstname.lastname@example.org.