Incoming and current students need more guidance from campus resources

Ashley Hurtado

Leaving the comfort of high school and home, many freshman students expect support from the university through programs and services.

However, campus employees often seem to forget the impact they have on the student body. 

Bad experiences with employees can leave students unwelcomed and discouraged  which can lead to poor academic achievement.

Of course the university promotes freshman success through various programs including orientation, First Year Experience, academic advising  and Services for Students with Disabilities, but having these programs is not enough. 

Sac State staff, professors and administrators need to realize they are serving a population that often seek more than basic answers. Students want support, understanding and guidance. 

Freshman liberal studies major Kyana Eibensteiner, missed out on orientation because of administrator and student-employee incompetence. 

Excited to begin her freshman year, a month before orientation Eibensteiner received a call from the university. 

“They told me, the university had made a mistake with my application and that I couldn’t attend the orientation because I was no longer admitted to Sac State due incomplete requirements,” Eibensteiner said. 

An administrator later apologized, claiming that student-employees check transcripts and they forgot to include some transferable courses in her documentation.   

Eibensteiner also had her fair share of issues with Services for Students with Disabilities at Sac State.

She had utilized disability services at her community college because her anxiety made taking tests in the classroom difficult. 

At Sac State, Services for Students with Disabilities did not initially accept her.

“They barely accepted me three weeks ago into the disability program,” Eibensteiner said. “The counselor didn’t want to let me into the program, because she said I didn’t have a real disability, and that I didn’t need it because my GPA was good.” 

Majority of the semester Eibensteiner was forced to take tests in the classroom, hindering her ability to perform. 

Eibensteiner said her freshman experience has been good but also difficult because of the administration and staff at the university.

These university employees could have positively impacted Eibensteiner by providing her with adequate service, instead of augmenting her distress by making her feel misunderstood and unwelcomed. 

Jason Sumi, a First Year Experience coordinator, said the individuals who work at the university play a significant role in the freshman experience.

Freshman government major Jennifer Hernandez said her encounter with First Year Experience program and  Academic Advising have been great.

“The academic advisors are really nice people. They give you a lot of information, and explain everything in depth.” Hernandez said.

Hernandez said her First Year Experience mentor and professors provided her with helpful tools and advice.

“Our peer mentor would do the same thing as academic advising, they would help us with classes and meet with us and we would talk about how things were going,” she said. 

Hernandez said her professor in the freshman seminar was funny and friendly and invited students to visit her in office hours for additional support..  

While many freshmen students have a positive experience with campus services, other individuals believe university employees lack the understanding and guidance they expected. 

Sumi said the university has the best interests of students in mind, but he is also aware that not all individuals are satisfied with academic advising services.

“Sometimes when students encounter that type of interaction, the person being very dismissive and short,  this one reaction could really impact them and their whole experience at university,” he said.  

Although staff might not always fulfill students expectations, these people chose to work in the university environment because they enjoy helping students, Sumi said. 

Sac State offers great programs that promote success for freshman, yet the people working for the university make these enterprises and services either effective or ineffective for the student body. 

Regardless of where students begin their college experience, whether it be a community college or a state university, the people serving the student body greatly influence students’ college experience.