Counselors guide students on college planning

Denny Cristales, Freelancer

A dialogue, which featured California State University Fullerton professors, involved counselors directing students about collegiate opportunities and planning when it comes to community college.

Sheila Hill, a student services professional at Cerritos College, orchestrated the event.

The conversation was held at the Teleconference Center on Wednesday, Feb. 18, at 2 p.m.

The discussion began a series of conversations set to come, with the next one set for “a couple of months,” with the exact date not yet established.

Students and Cerritos College counselors served as an audience to Fullerton professors Jerome Hunter and Dawn Person.

There was an emphasis placed on an achievement gap within the minority demographic.

“There’s an achievement gap with African Americans and other groups of students who aren’t performing at the same level as white student counterparts,” Person said. “The idea is to close that gap and to get that achievement gap and turn it into an opportunity gap.”

One way to fix that problem is through communication.

According to Person, the problem is a combination of lack of student awareness about resources on campus, as well as different exposure in K-12 education when it comes to individual students coming to community college.

She further explained that the quality of education differs depending on where one was raised. This causes a disadvantage among some students.

Devaeghn Lewis, undecided major, took the discussion to heart.

He said, “We’re (students) people that have places in this world, it’s their jobs as counselors to help us find it.”

“And to not just look at our weaknesses, but to base it off of our strengths, abilities that we already have, and to hone in on those abilities.”

Lewis applies those abilities in his own ways.

“The things I am passionate about, I will go toward and study more. I’ll move things out of the way so I can get into that more. So the passion really plays an important role, and it’s always important to have someone by your side to push you in the right direction or to just be there,” he added.

Billy Ellis, automotive technology major, is a first-year student at Cerritos College and didn’t get the required classes that he needed to take, only managing to enter a weight training class.

Regardless, he does not regret his decision to come to a community college.

“I’m looking forward to doing well at this school. This school where I’m at, I’m actually glad I’m here. It’s motivating to be here with great people.”

Communication is another aspect to breaking that achievement gap, as Christy Ugbah, accounting major, said.

“Through communication, I will better myself.”