Credit hours determine when students must meet with advisers.
By Rachel Cooper
Students may have noticed the “Be advised” advertisements around campus and on the Alamo Colleges website alerting them that they need a personal identification number, or PIN, to register for spring classes. Some might receive emails from their assigned adviser about setting up an appointment.
The notices will guide students to seek help with a new registration process designed to increase their meetings with advisers.
“When you start something new, sometimes there is confusion or people don’t know what their role is that they’re supposed to play in order to get what they need,” said Richard Farias, interim dean of student success.
The PIN requirement first went into effect in spring 2016, Farias said.
The only students affected were those with 45 credit hours, he said.
The PIN requirement expanded to students who had 15 or 45 credit hours for fall 2016.
Starting spring 2017, students with 30 credit hours also will need a PIN, he said.
In spring 2017, “All three milestones — we’re calling them milestones or touch-points — will be in effect,” Farias said.
Registration for spring will open in mid-November, but an official date has not been set, he said.
“The goal of PINs is to ensure that students meet with their adviser more frequently than they might have previously,” he said.
The idea of the PINs was a joint movement of distance support personnel, the directors of advising and the vice presidents of student success across the district, he said.
On Oct. 4 advisers received a PIN report with students’ names and PIN numbers so they could reach out to students, he said.
“Once registration starts, if you’re trying to go in and register, it would prompt you for a PIN, if you needed it,” he said.
Students have a month and a half to see if they need a PIN so they don’t end up trying to register during the break and haven’t met with an adviser, he said.
“We don’t want it to be a roadblock; we don’t want students piling up at the last minute in the advising centers.”
If a student is at 15 hours, the advising session will include the completion of an individual success plan through Alamo GPS, he said.
According to the Alamo Colleges website, Alamo GPS is “a web-based tool to help students and advisers monitor a student’s progress toward degree completion.”
Northeast Lakeview social work freshman Tiana Zakariyyaa went to an adviser to complete her Alamo GPS plan.
She is currently taking 11 credit hours and didn’t receive a PIN number.
“My assigned adviser is at SAC. I just met with one here; it’s the same one I always meet here,” Zakariyyaa said.
She went inquiring about which classes will follow her degree plan.
Farias encouraged students to meet with their adviser as soon as possible, whether they have a PIN or not.
“It’s important for them to start building that relationship early,” he said.
When a student has 30 credit hours, the advising session focuses on a transfer intent, and the 45-hour requirement is to check the completion of a degree as well as transferring, he said.
Students can find their assigned adviser on ACES, he said.
There is a box located in the middle of “My Page” that lists the adviser.
When a student meets with an adviser to get a PIN, it’s also a good opportunity to make sure they aren’t taking courses they don’t need or that will not count toward their degree plan or transfer plan, Farias said.
For more information, visit www.alamo.edu/district/advising/pin/.