Students who are unsure about their next academic step, or who have a personal issue they’d like to discuss have options here on campus. With many at Bellevue College preparing to transfer to a four-year college or university, students may have a list of questions that need to be answered in time for application deadlines.
Academic advisors and counselors work on the upper floor of the B building to provide support for students who feel that they need guidance.
“We help [students] navigate their general interests,” says Kim Williams, an advisor here at BC. She added, “We help them with transfers to other colleges, primarily in Washington state…and we’ll show them a degree audit.”
Degree audits are tables that are prepared by advisors for students that show what credits a student has completed and what he or she needs to complete.
They are personalized based on the student’s degree and the classes he or she would prefer taking and provide a course map.
But advisors do more than suggest classes and explain the transfer process. “Most people think that advisors are just here to help you choose classes, and that’s a big part of what we do,” said Brian Foster, an academic advisor.
He added, “But most of the students that come into my office really don’t have an idea of the direction that they want to go in, they don’t know what degree they need to do here, so we also do a lot of career exploration…it’s not just a matter of choosing classes, like you need this, this and this, it’s more of an exploration of what you need to do here to get to your eventual goal.”
Counselors are also on staff to assist students with any personal crises they may be undergoing. Counselors ask the more opened ended questions to students, says Williams. “Counselor are more for someone who is in crisis, someone who has mental health issues that they want to talk about, or just somebody who wants to get more in depth in any issues that we’re [advisors] not really trained to handle,” added Foster.
Counselors also work with students who are struggling academically, establishing a plan with the student and checking in with him or her on a regular basis.
Students, especially new ones, are advised to come in to make appointments with academic advising regularly.
Williams advises coming in at least once a year for students pursuing a two-year degree, but believes twice is ideal.
“They should come, at the beginning I’d say once a quarter, just to make sure they’re checking in, they’re on the right track, they know what degree they’re going for. And then, during their second year here, their third year, maybe once every other quarter,” added Foster.
Seeing advising early and often is encouraged by the staff. “I think a lot of people are afraid to come up to advising. They don’t really know what we do and they just want to self-advise, do things on their own. We’re the professionals and they [students] should come to us and make sure they’re on the right track,” concluded Foster.
For more information, students should inquire at http://depts.bellevuecollege.edu/advising/, or go to the student services office of building B.