Bird's-eye view of Mountain Empire Community College campus

College Career Coaches with the Back-to-School Tips You Need

It’s hard to believe that another summer has come to an end, but here we are right on the edge of a new semester. With change often comes nerves. But there’s no reason to feel worried. We spoke with some of our career coaches about how students can prepare for classes and find resources that will help make their next training go smoothly.

Asia Harrison, career coach at Patrick & Henry Community College

Advice for students new to higher education/returning to school: “It’s important to stay positive and be open to learning about resources that can assist you with your goal.”

Recommended resources: “My team and I try to offer resources that minimize barriers for the students, which include providing loaner laptops, tutoring, gas cards and Kroger gift cards. I also connect students with community resources, such as the Department of Social Services, SNAP and disability assistance if needed.”

Mary Pat Hudgins, career coach at Community College Workforce Alliance

Advice for students new to higher education/returning to school: “If this is a new situation for you, it’s important to know that you are in good company. The colleges provide excellent support through tutoring, math and English labs, great advising and connections to other resources through Single Stop.”

Recommended resources: G3, Workforce Financial Assistance (FANTIC), and Foundation Grants are all helpful financial resources. Additionally, Virginia’s Community Colleges provide access to tutoring, career planning, a network of local partners through the Network2Work platform, connections to job opportunities, resume building, interviewing and other employability support.”

Perry Hughes, vice president of Workforce Development and Occupational Programs at Wytheville Community College

Advice for students new to higher education/returning to school: “You can do it. Bring a strong work ethic to class, and we will work with you to help you succeed.”

Recommended resources: “We have a career coach available for all of our short-term training students. Financial assistance is also available for those who qualify. Most of our students do receive some assistance.”

Adrianna Culbertson, student success advisor at Southwest Virginia Community College

Advice for students new to higher education/returning to school: “We provide an environment that is welcoming to all. Most of our students find themselves in similar situations and quickly realize they share similar circumstances and career goals. Also, our instructors are great at creating a productive and comfortable learning environment for all.”

Recommended resources: “We provide lots of resources to ensure success. When we first meet and register a student, we provide financial support and identify barriers the student may have. We then help connect them to resources that can help. During the class, I check in with both the student and instructor to see if tutoring or other services are needed, such as access to our campus food bank. When the class is winding down, I help students connect to our Career Services Coordinator for help with resumes, interview tips and finding employers.”

Lee Davis, career coach Mountain Empire Community College

Advice for students new to higher education/returning to school: “Don’t give up, there are people willing to help. Adult education and workforce centers are made to help you get where you want to go.”

Recommended resources: “We provide loaner laptops, tutoring and referrals to local community groups that offer services that might not be available at your college.”

If you are looking for a place to start your education journey, head to our Contact Us page and request information.