Counselor encourages students to stay in college

Sylvia Carter teaches first-year students in IS 103: Introduction to College – Courtesy of Sylvia Carter

Sylvia Carter never wanted to leave college, and so she has served as WCC’s first-year counselor to motivate students to continue their educations as well.

Many jobs today want people with a bachelor’s degree or higher, leaving out those with only high school diplomas.

“A college degree over a high school diploma shows an employer that you would go the extra mile,” Carter said. “You have the motivation to go on … “

Carter assists students academically by checking with students on their grades and helping to tutor and advise them.

She also informs students about resources like scholarships and community service opportunities.

According to the College and Career Readiness Indicators, which is a collaboration between the Hawai‘i State Department of Education and the University of Hawai‘i System and is coordinated by Hawai‘i P-20 Partnerships for Education, the number of students transitioning from high school into the University of Hawai‘i System has dropped by 5 percent from 2013 to 2018, from 38 percent to 33 percent.

 “Sometimes students are forced to go to college by their parents, or students will drop out and come back later because money is a factor along with work and family,” Carter said.

Carter went to the University of Nevada, Reno, where she wrote for the college newspaper and did public speaking at homecoming and sports events.

Carter said that her involvement in school events and clubs made her who she is today. 

Carter’s family and friends kept her motivated to keep pursuing her college degree.

She said they were so proud and excited that she was continuing her education. She was the first to graduate from college in her family.

She later got her master’s degree in educational leadership at the University of Nevada, Reno, and is now finishing up her doctoral studies in educational leadership at Florida Gulf Coast University. 

She wants students at WCC to continue their educations as well and to have good experiences in and out of class, pursuing degrees and taking classes that they enjoy.

She also wants to help them stay in school and feel like they belong somewhere in college.

She hopes students will encourage one another too.

“Do it together, encourage and study together, be there for one another … you guys are in this journey together. Friends understand you a lot more,” she said.

As for her own advice on how to be successful in college, she said, “Just keep going forward, believe in yourself, keep one foot in front of the other, and there is always an opportunity to open doors.”

by Deja Wooden, Special to Ka ‘Ohana