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Counseling Department Mission

To provide superior academic, personal, and career counseling, orientation, crisis intervention, follow-up, and referral services to our Sierra College students, prospective students, and community.

If you are attending classes at Sierra College online or over cable television, you have the right to counseling and other student services just like any other student.

Counseling Services Online

Start here for online counseling services. These dynamic services are designed to provide counseling and advising on the web to students who are enrolled in both online and on-campus classes.

New Student Jump Start

Take the survey here.

Make an Appointment

Current and former Sierra College students on the Rocklin Campus can schedule a counseling appointment here.

NCC students can schedule an appointment here.

New Students

New students must call to schedule their counseling appointment.

Rocklin Campus and Roseville Gateway Center: (916) 660-7400

Nevada County Campus: 
(530) 274-5303

Tahoe-Truckee Campus:
(530) 550-2225

Personal Development and Counseling Courses

The Counseling department provides a variety of courses aimed at promoting student success. Courses offered in this department are designed to assist students with the transition to college life by setting realistic educational, career, and personal goals. View our courses (PDEV) in the Sierra College catalog.

Frequently Asked Questions about Counseling

Associate Degrees and Certificates

What is the difference between an AS and an AA degree?

An AS degree, also called an Associate of Science degree, is awarded for majors that are vocational or technical in nature. An AA degree, or Associate of Arts degree, is awarded for majors that are considered liberal arts related. However, many majors allow you the choice of either degree. The difference is that the AS degree requires a lab science. Check with a counselor for specific requirements.

If I get an AA or AS from Sierra College, can I automatically transfer to a 4-year college?

No, the completion of an Associate degree does not automatically meet all of the requirements for transfer to a 4-year college or university. However, if you select classes carefully, it is possible to meet both Associate degree requirements and transfer requirements at the same time. Your counselor can assist you in the selection of appropriate courses.

Should I get an associate degree if I intend to transfer?

Although an Associate degree is not required for transfer, many students find that it is personally beneficial to have a college degree on their record. If, for example, you are required to halt your educational pursuits for a time, you will still have a college degree on your resume. Students who have completed all of their requirements for transfer may have completed most, if not all, of the requirements for an Associate degree as well. Your counselor can help you determine what requirements you may have met.

On the general education sheet for the associate degree, some courses are listed in more than one category. Can I take one course and fulfill two categories?

Courses used to fulfill the Learning Skills requirements of Reading, Oral Communication, or Mathematics may also be used to satisfy either major or general education requirements for a Sierra College degree.

Do I need a major to get an associate degree? Can I just complete the general education requirements and still get a degree?

You must complete the requirements for a specific major in order to graduate with an Associate Degree. See our catalog for the complete list of associate degree majors available at Sierra College. Detailed information about major requirements can be found in the Sierra College Catalog. Talk with your counselor to see which major best fits your goals. Certain financial aid and benefit programs may require you to declare a major. Transfer schools and universities often require you to apply in a particular major as well.

I've attended other community colleges and universities. Can I use this course work to fulfill associate degree requirements?

Yes, you may have met some degree requirements. Be sure to request a copy of your transcript from your previous schools and bring them in or have them sent to the Admissions and Records office at Sierra College. Please remember to obtain a copy of the transcript for yourself and bring it to your counseling appointment so that your counselor can review it with you.

How is a certificate different from a degree?

A certificate is a recognition that you have trained for an occupation or in a set of skills. It does not require general education courses, but rather focuses on vocational skills. Certificates usually require 18-24 units; some more, some fewer. You may also apply coursework taken for a certificate to a later degree.

Career Counseling

I'm lost about what career to pursue. How can you help me?

We offer several kinds of help with career issues. Individual counseling is available, as are courses on career development. Personal Development 6, Career Planning, is a three-unit CSU transferable course that can provide you with a systematic approach to choosing or changing a career. Personal Development 21 is a shorter, individualized course to get you quickly learning how to find a new career. Career &Transfer Connections has a variety of resources to help you get the career information you need, and can provide internships to help you get your first experiences.

What kinds of career information are available at Sierra?

Our Career Connections offers written and online information about careers, industries, job search, and educational preparation. Self exploration software like Choices or Eureka, or exploration exercises can help you discover career options. The Center also offers workshops, and other resources to help you find, apply for, interview for, and obtain the job you want. Visit the Career & Transfer Connections web pages for more information.

Choosing a Major

I'm really undecided about a major. How should I choose?

You may be "less undecided" than you think! Often, students know of many majors they are NOT interested in, so you may have narrowed the field considerably without even realizing it. Choosing a major has a lot to do with what topics interest you, what values are important to you, what skills you have or would like to have, even your personality style. So getting to know yourself is a first step.

Knowing what majors are available is also a way to brainstorm areas you might find interesting. Open a catalog from Sierra, Sacramento State, or UC Davis to the "Majors offered" page. Look at each major and rate each a yes, a maybe, or a no. You may have a lot of maybes at first; but once you begin reading about them, they'll migrate higher or lower on your list.

Another approach is to search careers first, then think about majors second. Take one of our career courses like Personal Development 6 or Personal Development 21, or visit Career Connections to find out how to begin your career search.

Credit from Other Schools

I've attended other community colleges and universities. Can I use this course work to fulfill associate degree requirements?

Yes, you may have met some degree requirements. Be sure to request a copy of your transcript from your previous schools and bring them in or have them sent to the Admissions and Records office at Sierra College. Please remember to obtain a copy of the transcript for yourself and bring it to your counseling appointment so that your counselor can review it with you.


I got a letter saying I've been dismissed. I want to stay in school. What can I do?

Dismissal comes after two consecutive semesters of work below a cumulative 2.0 grade-point average, or two consecutive semesters of receiving “W,” “I,” or “NP” in fifty percent or more of total units attempted. We can help you come to terms with what caused this level of performance and draw up a plan for recovery. In that plan, you can list the positive steps you will take to make yourself more successful in the future. In particular, you will want to agree to services offered here that could strengthen your skills as a student.

You also will want to make it clear that you will either limit your work hours and other commitments outside of school or stay below a certain number of units. Your Dismissal Appeal Petition may be approved by the committee. Otherwise, you must sit out one semester and you will still be on probation when you return. When you return to Sierra after your dismissal, you must see a counselor and complete Dismissal Re-admission Petition in order to register.

Personal Counseling

Can I get therapy at the counseling center?

We do not provide psychotherapy. Rather we offer short-term personal counseling to address specific problems that are interfering with a student’s progress or success. For students seeking psychotherapy, we can provide referrals to such services. The Sierra College Health Center does provide short-term counseling by licensed professionals.

Is there a charge for personal counseling? Is there a limit on how long I can be seen?

Personal counseling is free. There is no specific limit; however, the intended duration of personal counseling is short term.

Prerequisites and Corequisites

What is a prerequisite? Do I really have to have it to take a course that lists one?

A prerequisite is a course or skill level you must show before you take the course requiring it. It is a requirement, not a suggestion! You must meet the prerequisite before taking the course, or you are subject to removal from the course in question. You may challenge the prerequisite on the grounds that it is biased, or that it has been unavailable. You also may prove that you have the equivalent of the prerequisite from other skills you can demonstrate. See a counselor for more information.

Are corequisites the same as prerequisites?

No. They are courses that you must take before or at the same time as the course in question.


I got a letter saying I am on academic probation. What does this really mean?

Academic probation means you have attempted 12 or more units and earned a grade point average below "C" or 2.0. It means that, so far, you are not succeeding to the level required for good standing in a college; it also means something needs to change. The letter invited you to see a counselor to work through how to be more successful in your courses. This counseling is not to punish you; rather we hope to help you solve the difficulties that caused these grades to be earned. As part of probation, you are limited to taking 13 or fewer units per semester, and may be required to take certain courses, or be barred from certain courses until your academic performance improves.

My letter says "progress probation." I've got good grades. What's the problem?

Progress probation means that you have enrolled in 12 or more units at Sierra, but have either withdrawn or received a "no credit" or "incomplete" in half or more of your courses. A pattern of withdrawing or not finishing courses may require that you receive additional support including but not limited to counseling, workshops and tutoring services . Often, the additional support can help remedy the problem. We can work with you to develop a sustainable plan to achieve your goals.

Student Educational Plan

What is a Student Education Plan (SEP) and do I need one?

Yes, you need one! A SEP or Student Educational Plan is like a personal map that you develop with your counselor. The SEP "map" is designed to illustrate what courses you should complete semester by semester in order to successfully meet your educational goal. If you have an educational goal, you should meet with your counselor regularly to develop and update your SEP.

Do I need to make an appointment for an SEP or can I just drop in?

You should arrange a counseling appointment to insure the best possible advising and planning for a SEP. Often, the questions raised in exploring your educational goals require more time than is allowed in a short drop-in visit.


Can I just take my general education requirements at Sierra, and then take my major courses after I transfer?

That is usually a bad idea. Most majors have lower division prerequisites or requirements that must be completed at a community college. You will save time and money by completing both general education AND lower division major preparation before you transfer. If you are applying to a competitive college or major, the completion of major courses will greatly increase your chances of being accepted.

Aside from the general education requirements for transfer, how do I know if I have met the requirements for my major?

Project Assist, at its website ( provides current articulation agreements for majors between Sierra College and most colleges and universities in California. Additional information and assistance is available through your counselor or the Transfer Center.

What are the differences between the UCCSU, and independent college systems? How do I decide which one is best for me?

Colleges and universities vary greatly in the type of majors offered, requirements, and educational philosophies. While the University of California (UC) system is world renowned as a research institution, it provides a solid undergraduate experience well suited for most students. The requirements for entry to UC are easier from community college than from high school; for example, UC Davis accepts most transfer students with college grade point averages above 2.9. The California State University (CSU) system is the largest bachelor's degree granting system in the world, with 23 campuses, and provides access to quality degree programs all over California.

The most common destination for Sierra College transfers is CSU Sacramento. There are also over sixty private colleges and universities in California, each unique in one way or another. We have negotiated agreements with several of these private institutions to help you make a successful transfer. The choice of whether to go to any of these three kinds of colleges, not to mention out-of-state colleges, is not easy. Your counselor can assist you in choosing the college that best fits your educational goals and personal situation. Information is also available at Career and Transfer Connections.

Why don't all of Sierra's courses transfer?

Some courses are designed to prepare you for transfer level work. Often, students have gotten rusty on their math or writing skills, or never developed them in high school. Some students have never become effective readers. We have courses in each of these areas to make you a competent "university level" student. Those units are not transferable-they're just critical! Note that the same courses often are taught at university, without the credit counting toward graduation there either.

What do I have to do to get in to Cal Poly or UC Berkeley or Stanford, or one of the other top universities?

First, you need to learn about the university in which you're interested. Browse its catalog and its website. Get clear exactly which of its degree programs you are interested in or would consider. Track the coursework in one of those degree programs to see exactly what you would be taking. If you think it is a program you want, check to see if Sierra College has an "articulation agreement" with that department at that university. If we do, it will list the major preparation courses available at Sierra College. Then see a counselor to find out what the other requirements for entry will be-they vary significantly from campus to campus. Our counselors have access to this information, and will work with you to develop a plan for transfer.

How can I be sure I'll be accepted?

Most universities are very straightforward about their requirements and competition level. The counseling department keeps track of who is accepted from Sierra and so can give you a realistic prediction of whether you are a strong candidate. For example, most CSU campuses, and most majors at those campuses, are open to students who complete 60 transferable units, and have taken oral communications, English composition, critical thinking, and university-level math, and a good portion of their other general education, with a "C" average. Most UC's are open to students with 60 units and certain general education requirements and a "B" or even "B-" average. These are very attainable requirements. A few universities are extremely selective; and some majors in other universities are selective as well. Stanford and Caltech are examples of the "extreme" category. Berkeley is very selective, but we still transfer dozens of students there each fall. Major programs like Nursing are selective at most schools. So there is no general answer to this question--it is always a matter of checking the school and major specifically.

What kinds of transfer information are available at Sierra?

Our counseling staff keeps informed on transfer requirements of universities and colleges throughout California, and has access to many information sources to help students select and enter colleges all over the United States. Moreover, we are able to write Transfer Admission Agreements guaranteeing acceptance at several colleges in Northern California, including UC Davis. Career and Transfer Connections provides many resources to assist students, including workshops, appointments with university representatives, catalogs, applications, as well as our annual Transfer Day, when representatives of over fifty colleges come to campus.


  • Image Location: L 156
  • L 156
  • 5000 Rocklin Rd.
    Rocklin, CA 95677
  • Summer M-Th: 8:00am - 5:30pm
  • (916) 660-7400
  • (916) 630-4510

Florence Charlie Counselor, Guardian Scholars Program Coordinator

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  • 5000 Rocklin Rd.
    Rocklin, CA 95677

Jamie Chin Counselor

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  • 5000 Rocklin Rd.
    Rocklin, CA 95677

Riana Howard Instructional Assistant, Student Equity

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  • 5000 Rocklin Rd.
    Rocklin, CA 95677

Terri Maddux Instructor/Counselor

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  • 5000 Rocklin Rd.
    Rocklin, CA 95677

Tonya Times Counselor, Umoja Program Director, Instructor

  • L 153
  • 5000 Rocklin Rd.
    Rocklin, CA 95677
  • Image Location: N1 216
  • N1 216
  • 250 Sierra College Dr.
    Grass Valley, CA 95945
  • Summer M-Th: 8:30am - 5:30pm
  • (530) 274-5303
  • (530) 274-5307

Allison Aguilar Part-time Counselor

  • N1 111
  • 250 Sierra College Dr.
    Grass Valley, CA 95945

Cheryl Axton Counselor, Instructor, Personal Development-Nevada County Campus

  • N1 216
  • 250 Sierra College Dr.
    Grass Valley, CA 95945

Deborah Meadows Student Services Technician, Nevada County Campus

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  • 250 Sierra College Dr.
    Grass Valley, CA 95945

Cynthia Melby-Harada Part-time Counseling Instructor, Personal Development

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  • 250 Sierra College Dr.
    Grass Valley, CA 95945

Nicola Murphy Instructional Assistant NCC SSSP, Outreach

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  • 250 Sierra College Dr.
    Grass Valley, CA 95945

Rebecca Ortega Counselor, Nevada County Campus

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  • 250 Sierra College Dr.
    Grass Valley, CA 95945
  • Image Location: Tahoe-Truckee 105
  • Tahoe-Truckee 105
  • 11001 College Trail
    Truckee, CA 96161
  • Summer M-Th: 9:00am - 4:30pm
  • (530) 550-2225
  • (530) 550-2229

Cynthia Flores Part-time Counselor, Tahoe Truckee Campus

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