GCC Sets Career Compass to Guide Students

August 25, 2017

Do you:          

    • Want to attend Greenfield Community College but aren’t sure what you want to study?          
    • Have several subjects that interest you, but don’t know about their career prospects and which to choose?
    • Feel overwhelmed trying to understand what it takes to succeed in college?

If these questions ring true, GCC has a solution for you. College and Career Compass is a personalized approach that will help students navigate the many resources that GCC has to offer. Compass is designed to help undecided students create a plan to start their education with focus and utilize tools for success. Compass provides new students with specialized advising, workshops on college skills and career exploration, and support from peer mentors. Compass advisors will help you figure out what you want to do and support you in working toward that goal. Compass is funded through the U.S. Department of Education Title III – Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP). GCC received this grant in October 2016 and is funded through September 2021.

GCC Dean of Students Anna Berry explained who will benefit from Compass. She said, “Many students who come to GCC are the first in their families to go to college. They often lack the outside support that is helpful when navigating the complex and often confusing college environment. Being a student is hard for most everyone, but it is especially hard for first-generation college students. In addition, students who are unsure of the direction they want to go with their education, are at further risk of success. We are excited to have an experienced and dedicated team to assist undecided students as they begin their journey at GCC!”

 Tonya Blundon is the Coordinator and Academic Advisor for Compass. She said, “GCC has an abundance of great resources, accessible faculty and staff, and student-focused programs. Compass builds on GCC’s existing resources by providing a personalized approach to help you take advantage of those resources. Exploration is exciting, but it also can be overwhelming. Exploring majors, careers, and transfer options requires planning and organization. It can be tough to figure out where to start and tempting to try to begin at the end with the ‘making a choice’ step. Way before getting to that step, you need to figure out what’s out there, what works for you, and start making connections. The existing resources, people, and programs at GCC are all ready to help with that, but taking the step to connect can be challenging. College and Career Compass pulls together all that GCC has to offer and makes it accessible to you by making it personal. Our goal is to help you make connections that will last long past your first year.”

Kate Walker is an Advisor and Academic Success Coach who will work with Compass students. She said, “I’m really excited about using Compass to help students get the most out of their time at GCC. Whether because they’re not a ‘traditional’ college age, have kids or a job, didn’t get straight As in high school, or simply because they’re going to a commuter school instead of one with dorms, some students can have this hesitation about taking advantage of all college has to offer–they might feel like they don’t really belong in a classroom, or that they don’t know as much about how college works as some of their peers. But the truth is, students with less ‘typical’ experiences are incredibly valuable in any classroom, and they have as much right to be there as anyone else. Lots of people feel intimidated by the processes of navigating college, choosing a major, and getting involved, but as I like to tell students: “every single person who works at GCC has exactly one job: to help you succeed.” We want students to feel empowered to reach out, ask for help, use the supports, take up space, make this campus theirs, and take charge of their own paths–and to understand that college is about so much more than just going to class. That’s why our first step in our individual meetings with students is finding out that student’s goals. This isn’t about us telling you what to do–it’s about figuring out what you want and supporting you in working toward that goal. Whether it’s improving a particular academic skill, joining a club, understanding credit and debt, exploring transfer options, managing stress better, or whatever else you want, we are here to fully support you as you move forward in an intentional, self-directed way.”

To learn more about Compass and find out if you are eligible, contact Tonya Blundon (BlundonT@gcc.mass.edu) or Kate Walker (WalkerK@gcc.mass.edu) to schedule an initial meeting.

By Mary McClintock, ’82 — Photos by Emma Rueter