Posts Tagged ‘advisement’

Samantha Ortiz, Hunter College

I’m a junior at Hunter College majoring in Art History & Arts Management and Leadership, looking to work in the non profit and for profit arts in NYC. I pay for college with FAFSA, TAP, Pell Grant with the rest by working while going to school. The size of TAP has been an issue for me because I have to pay a lot due to my parents income but they do not contribute to my colleges fees at all. I am a first generation student and its difficult to not grow in an environment that does not prioritize studying. I have fair fares which cuts my fare rate in half but its still money taken away from school fees.This semester i bought a textbook that was almost $300 and I still had to buy other books.And for food,I rarely eat as I do not qualify for food stamps if I live with my parents even if I pay for my own things. This is the reality of many students in New York City. Advisement is not well suited for directing students to the proper places and often set a student back. I’ve been taking matters into my own hands regarding assistance with campus resources and my degree path. The buildings are dilapidated. There are nasty water leaks on one floor and broken tables in equipment on the next.In a class,a chair was broken and when I sat it stabbed me in the leg because metal was jutting out.In the womens restroons there are missing ceiling tiles and actual tiles in the bathrooms inside and over the stalls which make me worry that someone may have purposely done that or purposely not fixed it for nefarious reasons. The state of these buildings does not strike me with the joy that one should have when walking into college.

Aidan Zafar, City College at NY

I am majoring in linguistics and literacy. I hope to continue work in human services, whether this be through working in education, speech pathology, or research. My tuition is paid solely through federal and state grants. I support my other college expenses by working 20 hours a week. As an independent student, it was a very difficult process to get TAP. There should be much more support on the state’s end for things such as paperwork, since that was the main issue I ran into. It takes 8-12 weeks to review requests for independent students, which means I did not get my aid amount until the very end of the semester. My biggest challenge is knowing that my tuition might not be accounted for every semester. I have trouble affording transportation costs. This is part of the reason I chose so many online classes. At my school, it is such a hassle to get advised. Before my first semester, I waited on zoom for hours to talk to an advisor. Now, trying to get advised for the fall is another hassle. We don’t have designated advisors in my department, just professors who have other things to do besides advise us. I don’t attend many in person classes. But the many broken links of CUNY have made the sites hard to navigate sometimes.

Steven Espinoza, Hunter College

I’m a political Science major at Hunter graduating this semester. I paid for my higher education through FAFSA. I’d want TAP to be more proactive in notifying students to file, or even of its existence. I feel like there are students are unaware of TAP. One of my biggest issues is transportation costs. I didn’t have enough money to pay for a swipe and the train was coming, so instead of refilling my card I jumped the turnstile. Cops pulled to the side and gave me a ticket instead of a warning, which was so frustrating because it was hard to pay that ticket off. I almost never paid for a textbook or book in college just because some of the prices were outrageously high. I always relied on student networking (group chats, classroom) to share the textbook/book with me. It’s frustrating to see that professors are prevented from sharing the textbook for free for their students. Honestly, the worst experience at Hunter is the support system. It’s so bureaucratic and burdensome, I can’t speak with an adviser without having to send an email or make a virtual appointment. I’ve never seen my advisor or talked to my advisor, until my final semester. These offices are not welcoming to students and reminisce the same vibe as a DMV. There’s also issues with the infrastructure is terrible, I was constantly reminded of it every where I walked in Hunter. It really feeds into the stigma of public schools. The elevators are consistently useless, it’s honestly faster to take the stairs.

Briegé Carmichael, Purchase College

I’m a freshman studying international business and am the first in my family to attend college. To fund my education recieve TAP, and the Presidential Scholarship which is for 1 year and I pay 1/3 of my tuition & fees which is divided among my mother, my father, and myself. I was also supposed to receive work study. I was accepted to Purchase College with the understanding I would receive $2000 per semester through work study. Once I got here and applied for a work study job, I was informed that there was no longer enough funding for me to be a part of work study. This refusal has put me behind on paying my portion of education for this year. TAP award size hasn’t been modified/increased regularly and is a lot less significant considering the increases in tuition. The infrastructure isn’t the worst but I had to go without showering for a week because the showers in my bathroom were flooding and no one was coming to solve the problem. I struggled finding a therapist under my insurance for a while before college. When I arrived I started going to a therapist on campus, but I was told that I could only go for one semester because of lack of therapists for long term patients. I went for my fall semester and am now stuck without access to an affordable therapist. On the side of advisement, I had my academic advisor switch 3 times within my freshman year. No constant connection and I think this is one of the reasons I have decided to transfer from this school.

Neil Sharma, Hunter College

I’m a senior and my major is Political Science. I hope to get a job that works in politics whether that be for a campaign or working for a group that advocates for an issue. I was inspired to major in this because of the 2020 BLM Protests as well as being a Roosevelt Scholar at Hunter College. I receive both the Pell Grant and TAP to pay for my tuition. TAP is great but it could be simplified. One of the things I found confusing was Parent 1 and Parent 2. One time I kept receiving emails saying there was an error with my TAP and that I had to fix it. I never could find the error but eventually the TAP went through. I recommend simplifying it so that it would be less confusing.. Many times I have had to adjust my plans for what classes I was taking in a semester because a class I thought would be offered is not being offered or it is being offered at a time that conflicts with another class. I haven’t really had much advisement after my freshman year of college. I do have a once a semester meeting with the leader of the Roosevelt Scholars. There are also many issues with the upkeep of Hunter. The elevators are often broken, slow and make getting to class difficult at times. Many of the roof tiles are falling apart.

Damien Andrade, Borough of Manhattan Community College

I am in my third year at BMCC. I am graduating this semester and I am transferring to Brooklyn College to pursue a BA in Political Science. As of right now, I have financial aid to pay for the costs of college. I was nervous about this semester because I am a part time student and I didn’t know how I would pay for college without TAP. When TAP eligibility was expanded to part time students it really helped me. When I transfer to Brooklyn College, I will have to pay more for the cost of school because my financial aid won’t cover it all. I am currently working and when I transfer I will be a full time student and I am expecting a heavier workload. I will have to balance being a full time student while working 30 hours a week. Even now, as a part time student I feel like I have to pick between focusing on work to pay my expenses and focusing on school. If we had a New Deal 4 CUNY, I would be able to use the money that I am making at work for actual living expenses, not college. I wouldn’t have to work as many hours and I could focus on school. It is especially difficult now with inflation and the pandemic, because students are struggling with food, rent and education. This plays into mental health and stress. There are not many resources on campus to help with students’ mental health. My current advisors and counselors seem like they have too many students to care about me when I am in a meeting with them. 

Emily Klapper, Hunter College

I am a freshman at Hunter College. I had high hopes for my school over the next four years, and as exciting as it has been, Hunter is not without its flaws. One of the first issues I have noticed is overcrowding in classrooms and in the the buildings in general. From the broken elevators, to students working on the library floor to the advisors who have more students than they can handle, it is clear to me that this school lacks the funding to take care of itself in the most fundamental ways. I believe a better investment in our public education system would be a great way for the city to support its future generations. 

Matthew Aherns, NYC College of Technology

I am a Sophomore at NYC College of Technology majoring in Computer Information Systems (Bachelor program). I hope to get a job as a programmer. I decided to pursue this field because when I was 10 years old, I stumbled upon the coding in a game where I messed around with different values and saw how the game reacted and changed. I have been running into issues with my financial aid. My TAP award does not cover my full tuition and if I don’t pay by a certain date, I get a hold put on my account which holds me back from registering for classes. The TAP verification process takes too long, at two to three weeks. Finding academic advisement to decide which classes to take has also been a struggle as it has been very complex and not easy to navigate. In addition, I don’t really spend much time on campus because some of the rooms don’t have working heat.

Paul Molina, Hunter College

I am a senior at Hunter College. I pay for school through financial aid but sometimes it does not cover my full expenses. To help cover them, I work a part-time job. I do not receive TAP but I wish the amount of paperwork for TAP was not so stressful. It takes a long time to complete the form and the requirements to quality are very narrow. My biggest challenges in college have been waiting for the elevators and trying to schedule appointments with my advisors. The elevators take an extremely long time to come and when they do come, they are typically crowded. In addition to this stress, navigating the world of advisors was also challenging. To get in touch with advisors, it takes about 3 weeks. By increasing CUNY funding, we would be able to hire more advisors who can respond quicker.

Nicholas Suresh, Queens College

I am a sophomore at Queens College, majoring in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. After college, I would like to be an elementary school teacher in New York City or another part of the state. I am involved in the community as I volunteer to feed the homeless and tutor children in an afterschool program. 

Not too long ago, I was in a darker place, however. During the pandemic I transferred from the Von College of Aeronautics and Technology. Many professors at this institution assume that incoming freshmen are proficient in math to a certain level, regardless of their educational background. This model didn’t work for me, as I struggled with math in high school. As a result, I had a nervous breakdown when faced with tough physics and math classes in college.  I experienced intense anxiety and insomnia, and couldn’t see an end in sight. Eventually I decided to transfer to Queens College. This entailed hefty paperwork and planning.  I knew this was the right decision for me, but it was extremely difficult to put myself together while breaking apart every day from mental health issues. 

At this time, I also felt restricted by my parents and by circumstance.  As a first generation college student, it is hard for my parents to understand what I go through in college. They are also cautious about my safety, which made it hard for me to make friends and explore the city during high school.  My parents are paying out of pocket for my college education, which I am grateful for. At the same time, it comes with a tradeoff of sacrificing my freedom for my education. 

Upon transferring to Queens College, things started to look a bit brighter. I immediately met with my advisor at QC, who is a friendly and warm individual. She guided me to the best courses for me and in the right sequence. I also applied for a job at a local after school tutoring program at this time. Now I serve as a counselor and tutor for middle school students. I love my job and it is the driving force that keeps me focused on my schoolwork. My job also gives me more financial independence from my parents, so that I can cover some of my expenses. With my earnings, I ride public transportation around the city. Riding buses and the subway makes me feel like I have more freedom.  At QC my job, my advisor, and my major have made a world of difference in my life. 

Although my life has turned around over the past year or so, the public higher education system still needs improvement. For instance, institutions should offer more mental health and tutoring services for students struggling with courses and all students should have access to helpful advisors. We need more funding for higher education to bring these essential services to students.