Adult Education Innovations
Foothill-De Anza/North Santa Clara County Student Transition Consortium
Transition Adviser Helping to Facilitate Seamless Transitions
Transitioning from one adult program to another or from an adult program to a community college can be overwhelming for adult learners who may not be familiar with how to navigate the process – and, as a result, some opt not to move up to the next level of their education. When this happens, the learner delays the opportunity for advancement and regional workforce development efforts are impacted, so the consortium wanted to find a way to make the transition smoother.
The North Santa Clara County Student Transition Consortium (NSSCSTC) created the position of transition adviser to help adult learners every step of the way in the move from adult school to community college. Each of the three adult schools in the region has a transition adviser. With funding from the consortium, De Anza College, and Foothill College, the two community colleges in our region, have increased work hours for counselors and outreach staff to accommodate the anticipated increase in adult school learners needing guidance with the transition.
Similar to a high school counselor who helps guide students through the college process, the adult school transition adviser provides information about the available career pathways and where they lead. They help them complete the college application and prepare and register for the college placement test. They also provide direct contacts at the colleges, when possible, allowing students to connect more quickly with someone at the college, minimizing the chances that they will walk away from their college visit frustrated or discouraged.
In addition, the transition advisers, for the past two years, have organized community college visits, taking about 30 students to tour the campus and visit with staff. The visits are valuable because they help adult learners become familiar with the environment, making it less intimidating, they help them envision their own potential as learners.
As much as the advisers provide technical assistance, they also provide confidence-boosting support, reassuring students along the way that they are prepared to take the next step.
The result of creating a transition adviser position has been a more personalized transition experience for students at the three adult schools, and, overall, a more cohesive process for ensuring adult learners continue their education so they will be better prepared to enter the workforce. Since we created this position in August 2015, it has become more common across the state, with other regional consortia adding transition advisers to their adult schools.