Early Alert, wake-up call for under-performing students

The Early Alert counseling program is underway to help students step up their academic game before getting too far into the semester.

Early Alert is a twofold system headed by Robin McBurney, a counselor at Citrus College.

The first part of Early Alert is a program that gives professors a report if a student is suffering from poor grades. The program gives professors a list of possible reasons for the students’ academic difficulties, such as poor attendance or late homework.

In turn, teachers are able to send their students a warning message via the student’s Citrus College email. Suggestions may include attending a workshop or setting up appointments with the student’s counselor or professor.

“The idea is that you send [the alert] in the first few weeks of the semester to make sure you get to a student who might be straying off track,” McBurney said.

The second part of Early Alert is a series of workshops aimed to help students end inadequate performance. Despite the association with the Early Alert notification program, the workshops are available to all students.

Nicolas Cruz, 27, attended the Student Skills workshop on Oct. 21 and now plans to attend the rest. “I think at some point I’m gonna hit them all,” Cruz said. “I don’t necessarily feel like I need them but I feel like, because it’s offered, I might as well use it.”

The workshops are planned with the help of Suzanne Martinez, Coordinator for College Success.

“We have nine workshops altogether,” Martinez said. “We do evaluations after the workshops and the students always love them.”

Workshop topics include goal setting, memory techniques, note taking, study skills, learning styles, stress management, math anxiety, test taking and time management.

According to McBurney, professors have sent more than 800 emails to students so far this semester. During the spring 2013 semester, 548 students have attended the Early Alert workshops.

Early Alert workshops happen three to four times a week in the Student Services building and can be attended without an appointment.