By Nina Nowakowski
CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – A number of Camden County College students have taken degree planning into their own hands after many failed attempts at receiving sound advice from academic advisement.

A student waits to speak to an academic advisor Oct. 19. By Nina Nowakowski, CCC Journalism Program

The advisement department is committed to acting “in an advocacy role for students, providing them with guidance and comprehensive information necessary to foster successful college experiences and assisting students in achieving their goals,” according to the department’s mission statement via the Camden County College website. However, many students feel the department has fallen short in “informing and assisting students in understanding their degree audit,” a commitment also stated on the department’s webpage.

“An advisor told me I was registered as a communications major and after starting classes I was told by a different advisor I was never formally placed in the system as a communications major,” said Nolan Bertelsen, a transfer student set to graduate this fall. “I was lucky the courses I had chosen fit into the degree audit for the major I wanted to be in, otherwise this could have added an extra year onto my degree progress,” continued Bertelsen.

Miscommunication between students and advisors is nothing new. “When I first went to advisement I was told I should take four classes a semester when in actuality you need to take five in order to graduate in two years,” said Deborah Segrest, alumna from the class of 2010. “That advice really slowed me down in getting my degree,” continued Segrest “Over my next two and a half years, I was told to take electives that didn’t even count toward my degree.”

However, not all students are having negative experiences with advisement. “I was given great advice by my advisor. She took me through all of the courses I need to take in order to transfer and crossed off all of the courses I didn’t need or had already taken,” said Jennifer O’Donnell, a student at CCC. “I got all of the information I needed in one appointment,” continued O’Donnell.

Assistant to Executive Dean Jackie Tenuto offers advice to students to get the most out of their experience with advisement. First, “you must be sure of your major and fill out a change of major form through the registrar’s office,” said Tenuto. Secondly, “select an advisor you feel comfortable with and use that advisor the whole time.” Finally, for those with frustrations, “remember, advisors are human and in order for your collaboration to be successful, it needs to be a team effort. Work with them.”

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