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NMSU community college advisers help students with academic path

Date: 09/01/2012

For most students at all New Mexico State University campuses, navigating the roadmap to success in college can be tough. Without any help, students would have no clue which path will suit them best. That's why each of NMSU's community colleges, including NMSU Carlsbad, NMSU Grants, NMSU Alamogordo and Dona Ana Community College have academic advisers.

Jesse Haas is an academic adviser and special needs coordinator at NMSU Carlsbad. In this job, Haas is instrumental in helping all students work their way through college. Advisers have the task of helping students choose a major, learn about their degree plan and graduation requirements, select courses and understand university policies. All of this work is important but it's the time that he puts in with the special needs students that really makes a difference.

"I'm here to make them feel comfortable," Haas said. "I remind them that having a disability is nothing to be ashamed about."

No matter what academic challenges a student faces, an adviser's job is to help find a solution that best fits each individual student. This can prove challenging for advisers because of the large number of students they handle each semester. In his dual role, Haas usually handles between 15 to 40 special needs students along with a couple hundred regular students.

With students coming and going every year, his job is never the same each day. However, the amount of change is what Haas enjoys. It is always something different for him, especially considering his work as the special needs coordinator.

"It's the best job I've ever had," Hass said. "I taught for a few years but I enjoy this more."

Students are encouraged to take advantage of these people to assure that they are continuing on the right path. Haas claims that about 99 percent of the time it leads to a good experience.

"Finding the right path takes a lot of soul searching," Haas said. "Figure out where your heart is and what you want to do."

Written by Kyle Purcell

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