Virtual advising is a new concept for many colleges. Camp Community College has discovered a new energy in advising students according to Trina Jones, Dean of Student Services.
What is virtual advising? At Camp, virtual advising is an advisor meeting with a student face to face over Zoom, a video conferencing platform that connects the student with an advisor. The student can connect with an advisor by visiting the Camp website and finding the Virtual Advising webpage (https://www.pdc.edu/about/ask-camp/). Each advisor’s contact information is listed with their days and times available for advising on Zoom. Does a student call to schedule a time? No, the beauty is they just click on that day and time and they are then connected with an advisor.
Advisors bring their full advising skills to their Zoom experience with the student. Advisor Carrie Hoeft prefers sharing a student’s advising report in a screen share with Zoom rather than both the advisor and student leaning over a desk to see the print on the report. The visual clarity is a plus for the student and supports the advisor’s explanations and discussion with the student.
Advisor and program head for the Early Childhood Development program at Camp, Toni Johnson, agrees saying “An understanding of degree requirements is based on the advising transcript. Guiding students in making the best decisions based on their program of study provides information as well as options to help them fulfill their degree requirements.”
Advisor Elaine Beale finds putting faces together on Zoom has personalized the advising experience. Tasha Taylor brings to these Zoom meetings her knowledge of the programs at Camp, empathy as an advisor as well as the fact that she herself is an alumnae of Camp Community College. Tasha says, “The Zoom meeting is an open forum and the student can share whatever they need.”
Advisor and head baseball coach, Dan Rollins, sees the virtual advising experience as a mixture of the two advising experiences. “It is important to make the advising process a personal experience helping students over various hurdles to enrollment and achieving success,” Rollins said.
Will there be a future for virtual advising after COVID is gone? All of the Camp advisors agree that the benefits of virtual advising will continue. The convenience of having a one-on-one visual advising experience with an advisor in your living room will continue to be a desirable outcome. Technology will continue to be an important part of advising for the student and the advisor giving both of them more opportune access to each other. As Carrie Hoeft shared, “Virtual advising eliminates obstacles that students faced previously.”
While some may say virtual advising is impersonal, Camp students and advisors have seen that students can experience a beneficial conversation with a skilled advisor about enrollment, classes, and hurdles from the convenience of their home rather than making an appointment and perhaps having to arrange childcare to sit in the waiting room of an admissions office. Will virtual advising have a place in the future at Camp after COVID? Most certainly.
For more information, visit www.pdc.edu and click on “Talk to An Advisor”.