Tips to prepare for your counseling appointment

At Sacramento City College, there are over 20 counseling faculty to assist students.  We all have one common goal:  to help you achieve academic, career, and personal success!

Here are some tips on preparing for your counseling appointment:

Complete all assessments in Math and English – YES, you will need to complete Math and English if you plan to complete an AA/AS degree or transfer to a university.  NO, there is no way around it…so changing your major a hundred times won’t get you out of it!  And please do not wait until your last semester to complete your math and English requirements…this may delay your goals.

In order for counselors to assist you with course planning, we will need to see your assessment results.  Please take note of the following: 1) assessment results are only accepted from Los Rios colleges, 2) assessments must be completed within the last 3 years, and 3) make sure to complete the English essay if needed.

Lastly, don’t be embarrassed about your results.  Everyone learns and retains information differently, so don’t be so hard on yourself if you didn’t place into the classes that you hoped for.  The assessments are meant to place you into the levels that you are ready for!

(NOTE:  If you are a new student, you are also required to complete the online orientation.  The online orientation and assessment must be completed before meeting with a counselor.)

Know whether or not you need an appointment or a “same day” time slot – “Same day” time slots are exactly that…you meet with a counselor on the same day.  However, “same day” time slots can be filled quickly since students are wanting to see a counselor immediately.  If you need to meet with a counselor that does not require urgency, visit the Counseling website and schedule a future appointment day and time.  This way, you will not have to wait in line for a “same day” time slot which may not be available by the time you get to the check-in desk.

Arrive to your appointment on time – We’ve heard it all:  the bus had a flat tire…my mom didn’t wake me up on time…I was in the cafeteria eating lunch and I suddenly remembered that I had an appointment 15 minutes ago!  Appointments are only 30 minutes…and that time goes by quickly especially if you need an educational planner or have out-of-district transcripts to evaluate.  As a general rule, if you are late to your appointment by 10 minutes, the counselor may pull in another student that is waiting.

Be proactive and meet with a counselor early in the semester – We’ve seen it happen:  a long line of anxious students starts to take form and weave around the hallway during our “peak” times.  There are certain times during the semester when you should meet with a counselor early:  before an application deadline to a university, to complete a dismissal petition, to evaluate your transcript for graduation, and to prepare for the upcoming semester.  Don’t wait until the last minute to see a counselor because appointments fill up quickly!

Be your own spokesperson – Sometimes it is nice to have a friend, sibling, or parent with you during your appointment…but be your own voice!  We want to hear from YOU because you have your own goals and stories to share.  Don’t let someone else respond on your behalf because what they are saying may not really be what you want or need help with.

Bring all transcripts outside of Los Rios – Unfortunately, we do not have access to transcripts outside of the four Los Rios colleges.  If you have attended college somewhere else, bring your transcript with you (unofficial is okay).  We want to make sure that you are not repeating courses or taking classes that you do not need.  Many times, students don’t remember what classes they have already taken and a transcript will clarify that information.  Also, please be aware that foreign transcripts will need to be translated and evaluated by an outside agency.

Be honest about where you have previously attended – It’s true that transcripts follow you everywhere, whether you like it or not!  It is important for us to know if you have attended another college, even if you have “dropped out” or “completed nothing.”  We know that your life may have been different after high school and college may not have been a priority at that time.  But, please don’t try to hide your previous college transcripts.  Especially for students who plan to transfer, it is important that you disclose all of your college history.

Tell us how we can help you – If you need assistance picking the right classes, are unsure of a major, change your transfer plans, or just need help, then tell us…we are happy to assist you!  We would love the power to read the minds of students, but, unfortunately, we cannot!

Write down your questions…and then go ahead and ask them –   With homework assignments, projects, exams, and essays, it is hard to remember everything.  Take the time to write your questions down so that you remember what to ask.  Sometimes you may hear different things from friends or classmates and the best thing to do is to clarify that information with a counselor.

Understand your iSEP (student education plan) – Your major is Civil Engineering, but your educational planner lists Public Speaking for the next semester.  Or, your major is Computer Science and you suddenly find yourself enrolled in Music Appreciation.  What is going on here?!?!  Well, if you are planning to transfer to a CSU, you are required to take a Communications course (ex: Public Speaking).  Additionally, taking an Arts/Humanities course (ex: Music Appreciation) satisfies a requirement on the CSU and UC general education pattern.

Your educational planner is your roadmap to get you from here to there, without any extra stops in between.  As you create your educational planner with your counselor, make sure that you understand the difference between general education and major requirements.  Sometimes you may not have a choice with your major requirements, but you may find that you have options with general education.

Find at least one counselor that you can connect with – …and then follow-up with that counselor at least once a semester to discuss your educational goals.  Although your goals may not have changed, the university that you want to transfer to may have changed their GPA requirements or major preparatory courses.  We want to make sure that you are on the right path towards success.  Plus, we want to hear your success stories along the way!

Take notes during your appointment and keep everything in a folder – Counselors often recommend websites and provide resources to assist students with their goals.  It will be helpful for you to keep a folder where you can put all of your important documents – such as copies of transcripts, assessments, approved petitions, and your educational planner – in one place.  Always bring this folder to your counseling appointment so that you can continue planning where you left off.

Bring any letters, emails, or correspondence that you need help with – We have heard students say things like “I got an email from someone on campus” or “a letter came in the mail but I can’t remember what it says or who it’s from.”  Yikes…with so much information coming from different departments and programs on campus, it is difficult for us to assist you if we don’t know what letter or email you are referring to.  Make sure to bring this information with you so that we can help you understand the message and help you with your next steps.

Don’t leave…wait in the lobby…we will be calling your name – If you have an appointment or are waiting for a quick-question time slot, please do not leave the lobby because we will be calling your name!  Sometimes students wander down the hallway to Financial Aid, run to the cafeteria for a cup of coffee, or step outside to chat on their cell phones.  If we call your name and you are not present, you may be skipped.  Please be patient and wait for us.

Visit the Counseling webpage for more information on hours and services.