The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

South counselor helps students create successful degree plans

By Zaman Fabela/reporter

If students are wondering if they are in the right class, the answer might be found in the cheat sheet of counselors and advisors — degree audits.

“Degree audits are designed to be the master plan,” South counselor Sandra Johnson said. 

TCC offers more than 150 degrees and certificates, all of which can be found under WebAdvisor’s links. The most common are Associate of Arts, Associate of Science and Associate of Applied Science degrees. With so many choices to make, a student can get overwhelmed.

“I used to have a poster I made — a train in the middle, then splitting into two tracks, then meeting back in the middle,” Johnson said. “The certain ones can reach that destination.”

If students tell Johnson they want to transfer, she explains the two associate degree tracks. The applied science degree is designed to take students from school to work while the other degrees are for students transferring to another school, Johnson said.

One of Johnson’s favorite phrases is not about brains and brawn, rather about balance.

“My job is to balance your courses,” she said. “You know how a puzzle starts. You can try to fit it in, but it won’t go. I’m teaching my students how to balance.”

Sandra Bermejo, South Campus academic advisor, has helped students in a variety of professions from teaching to coaching after-school volleyball, basketball, soccer — “a little bit of everything.”

As with all counselors and advisors, Bermejo wants to help students succeed.

“I’m just a small piece of them, but I remember sitting there,” she said. “When students are coming here, they’re looking for help, for life goals.”

Naomi Vaughan sought advice on whether she should follow a career in teaching or in psychology.

“I’m really interested in psychology,” she said. “My family says I have a knack for psychology, but I don’t know. So I’m here to find out.”

After talking to Bermejo, she felt satisfied with her inquiries.

“I’m much happier,” she said. “I always go to her.”

She said she was advised to do both, teaching and psychology. If she prefers one class more than the other, it would become a major and minor, Bermejo told her.

Some students take a few semesters or even years off from school. Claudia Tellez has returned after a two-year break.

“Honestly, I felt duller every day,” she said. “I went to work, came home. I had extra time, so why not?”

After being assisted by South advisor Donna Gohlke, Tellez received her University of Texas at Arlington degree plan for communications with the classes that would transfer.

“You’ll be making a choice, but it’s your best choice,” Gohlke said. “Our first deal is to be successful here. Everybody has to find their own fit.”

Kyle Adam, another student who has just returned to school after five years, said he is ecstatic to be back.

“I hated not going to school. I was reluctant to go to TCC, but once I got used to it, I started to appreciate the education I received,” he said. “I didn’t see a counselor until three semesters after. I looked up UTA to know the engineering courses that apply to TCC. It was different for me once I hit the ground running.”

Since then, he hasn’t stop taking classes, registering for spring, fall, summer and even minimester courses. Now, Adam possesses a GPA of 3.8 and serves as vice president of Phi Theta Kappa on SE Campus.

Johnson said getting degree plans and audits keeps students on track.

“When they leave here, they’ll be fully degreed,” she said. “You get to see what you really need to do.”

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