Filed under Opinion

Letter to the Editor

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Dear Editor:

The following is in reference to the TalonMarks editorial entitled “Make Counseling Pain-Free” that appeared in the Wednesday, August 28, 2013 print edition of the newspaper. The Cerritos College Counseling Division wanted to provide some information that the editorial writer(s) may not have been aware of when the editorial was written.

The Cerritos College Counseling Division is dedicated to assisting students achieve success in their academic, career and life goals. With 17 full-time general counselors for a current student population of 22,707, there is a counselor: student ratio of one counselor for every 1,336 students on campus. Counselors provide a multitude of services to meet many student needs, depending upon the complexity of the issue or the mode of service needed. In addition to having half-hour counseling appointments, we offer walk-in or stand-by counseling once or twice per day so students can get quick questions answered on a face-to-face basis. Other services include in-person and online orientations, online counseling which provides responses to students’ general questions within three working days, Tune Up workshops for continuing students to create an educational plan, specific major workshops and workshops for undeclared/undecided students. In addition, the Counseling website features an extensive searchable Frequently Asked Question page. During rush enrollment, most counselors on duty are available to help students with quick enrollment questions. This past summer, June-August, 11,178 students were served by the Counseling Division.

The California Community College Chancellor’s Office requires counseling faculty to have a master’s degree in counseling or a closely related discipline, such as clinical or counseling psychology. At Cerritos College, we apply local qualifications that are even more stringent than those set by the Chancellor’s Office in that we require a minimum of 450 hours of experience in addition to the master’s degree. With this advanced degree, counselors are prepared to provide students with in-depth and quality counseling that assist(s) students with academic, career and personal issues and helps them complete their educational goals. The Cerritos College Counseling Division formally trains all new counselors on policies and practices and proactively provides information to all counselors on campus on a consistent basis. All new faculty, including counselors, are required to attend two years of new faculty training. And all of our counselors actively participate in professional development conferences, workshops and seminars to stay up-to-date.

In order to address the complexity of transfer and career issues, the counseling department has a Transfer Center for students who wish to transfer. We offer Transfer Tuesdays and Walk-in Wednesdays to answer questions, and students can meet personally with campus representatives from many universities. This semester, the Transfer Center sponsored a total of 58 workshops including University Day, CSU and UC application and seven campus tours to such campuses as UCLA, USC, CSULB and UCI. In addition, we will offer a valuable Transfer Conference to students this semester. Students can visit our Career Center to receive career information, search jobs or learn about requirements for specific careers.

Navigating the college system to achieve a degree or transfer is often complex and sometimes requires extensive and sustained effort on the part of both counselor and student to communicate and understand that complexity. Continuing students are encouraged to make a counseling appointment at the beginning of each semester or take advantage of our Tune Up workshops. Students should bring questions and be prepared to take notes at the counseling session or workshop. We are here to help Cerritos College students meet their educational goals.

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