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Academic Advisor and RISIA Sunny

Academic Advising: Get to Know Sunny, Your Academic Advisor!

Written by Alexander College in Staff Feature on July 12, 2023

Have you ever felt lost on your academic journey? Have you ever wondered what options lie ahead?

Fortunately, Alexander College Academic Advisors are here to help! We understand it may be a little intimidating approaching staff, so the Web team decided to break the ice and interview one of our very own Academic Advisors, Sunny, in this exclusive staff feature!

Starting off as a Marketing Assistant at Alexander College, Sunny switched to the Student Life department before becoming an Academic Advisor. During his time with the Student Life department, he was involved with the school’s sports programs and spent a lot of time participating in basketball and soccer.

Sunny also enjoys watching anime and can be spotted around campus wearing a lanyard decorated with pins of various anime characters.

With this interview, we hope that you will gain insight on what Academic Advising does and see that our Academic Advisors want the best for your academic success!


Some quotes have been edited for clarity and brevity.

Why did you decide to be an Academic Advisor?

It’s funny because when I first started here, on my first day we had a staff meeting. So Shaun and I were walking up to the staff meeting and we met with Academic Advising and I’m thinking to myself, “God, it’d be awesome to be an Academic Advisor.”

Lo and behold, a couple of years later, I was an Academic Advisor!

I think it stems from my need, or want to help students, especially our students because they’re here by themselves and they need somebody to be there for them. Specifically because we have a lot of students that are looking for a mentor in a sense, or someone to guide them.

I also did peer support advising when I was at KPU, so I feel like it gave me a little bit of background. I just want to help the students and make life easier for them because I know how tough it is to be a student.

Alexander College escalator

Tell me about Academic Advising. What’s one service you offer that students don’t really know about?

Ok, that’s a good question. Students think we can do everything, which I wish we could!

One thing I want the students to know is GPA calculation. Students don’t necessarily know what their actual graduating GPA is—what we call the Program GPA.

We can calculate that for them and actually teach them how to calculate it. Along with that, we can also help them with personalized transfer plans.

If we don’t have a university or transfer program that they want to go to, we can do the research for them, provided that they give us the institution and program they want to go to.

Most places should be options for transfer. They just need to tell us because there’s so many possibilities!


Do you think Academic Advising makes an impact on student success?

100% because students that talk to us that regularly see us two times a semester—yes, there are still going to be problems—but they face a lot less problems because we can give them their options.

Students could come from a different education background where, in a lot of cases, they’re told these are the courses you need to take. Whereas here, it’s more freeform and you make your own decisions, right?

There’s more independence here, but they don’t understand that. So, whereas a student could possibly take a history course, they don’t.

Students think they can’t and they want to only stick with philosophy or psychology, or whichever the concentration that they’re in.

When they talk to us, we let them know that, hey, you have options, and these options, you can explore them and change your programs. We can also give them tips like, hey, course registration is opening up. We remind them.

We can also keep an eye on their GPA. We always keep them up to date with this information, which allows them to be on time and successful with these little nitty gritty things that we all forget about.

Our job is to remind them, plan for them, and make sure they can graduate on time, or earlier! We do have a lot of students that graduate faster than two years.

Students, don’t be like me, I didn’t see my Academic Advisor till my fourth year, which is a horrible idea!

Sunny drinking coffee

How often do you recommend students make an appointment with an Academic Advisor?

Minimum two times a semester, at least. Keep an eye on the dates and see us when the courses are published for the next term.

Also at the end of the term, when final grades are released, we can reassess their study plan. This way, we can help them with course planning for the next term.

I always tell my students, “I’m bored, come talk to me!” So see us as much as you can is the best, but minimum two times a semester.

What is something you wish you knew as a student?

I wish I knew not to do extra electives!

Jokes aside, I wish my academic advisors also reached out more. I feel this [blog] is a great way to put our faces out there so they know who we are.

I think it breaks down that barrier and makes us stand at the same level, if that makes sense. So you can feel like I’m not as authoritative as they think I am and it makes them think I’m more friendly.

I want to make it so that students can come and ask me because comfort is the main thing. If they’re comfortable, I can also refer them to other departments and they can go to the correct person for help because one thing I notice about our students is they don’t know where to go.

If you know one person on campus that you’re comfortable with, just go to them and they can direct you to the correct place and that help can be the difference maker in graduating on time and enjoying your time here.

We all want to help, right? That’s why we’re working in education and higher education because we want to help you!

Are there any additional things you want readers to know about you, Academic Advising, or just life in general?

There’s no silly questions. If you’re thinking of a question, someone either already has, or has already asked or is thinking about it.

So, always ask questions. Don’t be shy!

I know it doesn’t seem that way, but I was that kid sitting at the back of the class doing my work and going home right away.

I did not study at the library. I did not talk to anybody, staff or otherwise, and then all of a sudden fourth year, I’m like, “you know what I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna start being more vocal.”

That would be my biggest advice. Don’t be afraid, ask for help and ask any questions and not only to meet with your instructors as well, because again, we’re all here to help!

Book an appointment with an Academic Advisor today for advice on your academic journey!

Alexander College acknowledges that the land on which we usually gather is the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. We are grateful to have the opportunity to work in this territory.

Alexander College acknowledges that the land on which we usually gather is the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. We are grateful to have the opportunity to work in this territory.