The Welcome Advising Center – ‘We Get You Where You Need to Be’
The Welcome Advising Center is the first stop in your journey to success. The staff is trained to help new students negotiate the maze of admissions, financial aid, assessment, and advising. Services and programs offered for new students include:
- “Getting Started” with admissions, testing and financial aid information
- Online access to “ApplyTexas” admission form
- International Student admissions
- Guidance through the Advising process, including Academic Advising for new students through Group Advising Sessions
- Assistance with online Fall/Spring/Summer registration
- Guidance with completing FAFSA application online
- Computer Lab to view or print unofficial transcripts, class schedules and tuition bills.
- Early Alert Program
- Referrals to Community Resources
- Scholarship information and assistance
Come by or call the Welcome Advising Center at (210) 486-3100 if you need assistance or information. The Center is located in the Palomino Center, Room 111. We will get you where you need to be!
The College bookstore operates as a service to students, faculty and staff. Textbooks, school and office supplies, and course-related materials are provided along with gift items, greeting cards, paperbacks and other items. It is located in the Student Center, and operating hours are posted each semester.
The cafeteria is located in the Student Center. Breakfast, lunch, and snacks are available to the campus community. Hours of operation are posted at the beginning of each semester. Special hours are followed during registration and holiday periods.
The Ray Ellison Family Center (REFC) provides high quality child care and early childhood education for the children of the Palo Alto College community while supporting family development and parents’ pursuit of a college education.
The Ellison Center is comprised of four classrooms serving children ages 21 months through 5 years old. The program features low child-teacher ratios, innovative programming, family activities, and a highly qualified staff. Flexible schedules and fees are available; limited financial assistance may be available to eligible PAC students. Please visit the REFC website to learn more about the program’s philosophy, curriculum and schedule: www.alamo.edu/pac/REFC.
The REFC is located conveniently between the Ozuna Library & Academic Center and the Student Center. To obtain more information, please call the Center at (210) 486-3500.
Disability Support Services (Special Populations)
PAC is committed to ensuring that all programs, services and facilities are accessible to and provide equal opportunities for education to all students.
The Disability Support Services (DSS) Office coordinates accommodations for PAC students with permanent and temporary disabilities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The ADA prohibits discrimination in the recruitment, admission or treatment of students. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states: “No otherwise qualified individual … shall solely by reason of … handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
Guidelines to Establish Accommodations:
- Students self-disclose and request accommodations through the DSS office.
- Provide current documentation to include a specific diagnosis with a link to the requested accommodations and the Functional limitations of the individual. Initial request for accommodations requires 7-10 business days to process once the student’s documentation is complete.
- DSS will schedule an intake interview to discuss reasonable accommodations.
- Confidential Letters of Accommodation are issued to and delivered by the student to the instructor(s).
- A Renewal of Services Form is required each semester the student seeks accommodations.
Accommodations to students may include:
- Peer Volunteer Note-taking
- Extended Test Time
- Readers, Scribes
- Sign Language Interpreter Services
- Adaptive Equipment
- Assistive Technology
- Priority Scheduling
- Tape Recorders for Classroom Use
- Reading Material in Alternate Format
- In-Class Accommodations
However, DSS does not provide tutoring, personal attendants, disabled parking permits, personal counseling, etc.
Disability Support Services is located in Palomino Center, Room 101.
Students of the Alamo Colleges are required to display their County Tax Assessor Collector-issued disabled parking placard behind the Alamo Colleges vehicle registration or have disabled parking license plates in order to park in spaces designated for persons with disabilities.
Palo Alto College provides several convenient VIA Trans drop off and pick up locations. For a map or information, contact the Disability Support Services (DSS) Center at (210) 486-3020, TTY 486-3022 or stop by the office at the Palomino Center, Room 101.
Palo Alto College is a commuter college, and no College dormitories are available. The College does not maintain lists of available housing. Housing is available within the area. Students assume sole responsibility for locating appropriate housing.
The Palo Alto College Student Center offers opportunities for socializing and relaxation. A T.V. area is available for student viewing. The bookstore, cafeteria, Student Life, Student Government, Health Center, Bursar’s Office, Alamo Colleges Police Department, automatic teller machine, copy machine, lockers and vending machines are located in the Student Center and are accessible for student use.
Student Engagement and Retention
The Office of Student Engagement and Retention provides a student friendly resource center at Palo Alto College, offering opportunities to become involved in campus life through participation in clubs, student organizations, student government, cultural activities, education, entertainment, games and hobbies, food classes, and arts and crafts activities. We welcome students to take part in co-curricular activities.
The following services and programs are among those provided by the Office of Student Engagement and Retention:
- Informational clearinghouse for all campus activities;
- Advisement on the formation of clubs/student organizations;
- Promotion of student involvement in campus governance;
- Development of interpersonal and leadership skills;
- Advisement for off-campus and on-campus resources;
- Scheduling and planning of special events on campus;
- Budget advisement for club funding;
- Assistance in event planning;
- Responsibility for on-campus posting;
- Issues discount bus cards; and
- Coordinates Student Activity Fee.
For more information, call (210) 486-3125 or visit the Student Activities website at http://www.alamo.edu/pac/student-life/.
In addition, recreational activities and sports are coordinated through the Student Engagement and Retention Office. These recreational events are open to all current students, faculty and staff. The program also maintains open hours in the Gymnasium for recreational activities.
Recreational Activities and Sports programs include:
- Men’s and Women’s Basketball
- Women’s Volleyball
- Basketball Shooting Contest
- Flag Football
- Table Tennis
- Sports & Outdoor Activities
For more information, call (210) 486-3135 or stop by the office, GYM 101C.
Student Clubs and Organizations
Palo Alto College students have the opportunity for membership in social, service, religious, special interest, political, professional, and honorary organizations. Guidance and direction are provided to these organizations by faculty and staff advisors. An official list of registered organizations is available in the Student Life Office. Recruitment activities are held at the beginning of each term to help new students get acquainted with the organizations.
For more information about joining a club or organization, please contact the Office of Student Engagement at 486-3125 or stop by the office in the Student Center, Room 100.
For more information, visit the Student Life Office website at http://www.alamo.edu/pac/student-life/.
Student Government Association (SGA)
The Student Government Association (SGA) consists of Palo Alto College students elected by the student body to promote beneficial understanding among the students, faculty and administration. The SGA insures representation of students in the college governance structure and assists with the dissemination of information to the student body. SGA also is responsible for appointing student members to the Student Services Fees Advisory Committee (SSFAC). Students interested in finding out more about SGA should call 486-3129 or visit the SGA Office in the Student Center.
“Empowering Today’s Students to be Tomorrow’s Leaders”
The Alamo Colleges’ Student Leadership Institute (SLI) is a district-wide program that provides leadership training. This yearlong commitment provides instruction in skills that enables the Alamo Colleges’ representatives to lead a group or work in collaboration with other leaders to accomplish organizational objectives. Students are able to meet various successful community leaders, use lab models, consider case studies, and participate in field studies, while drawing upon the expertise of those who have held leadership roles in all sectors of the community. Students selected to participate in the Alamo Colleges’ SLI receive scholarships and have opportunities to travel to Washington D.C., utilizing the skills and knowledge acquired throughout the year in meetings and presentations with officials from private, non-profit, and government.
For applications or further information, please contact your Student Life Office or call the SLI office directly at (210) 485-0790.
The Palo Alto Natatorium was designed as a world-class aquatic facility. The connected swimming, warm-up, and diving pools; the competition-height spring boards, and the diving platforms meet national championship qualifications. But you don’t have to be a world-class competitive swimmer to enjoy the Natatorium’s water facilities. It is open to the community for open swimming sessions several times a week and is used for college credit and continuing education classes as well as special lessons for children and adults. The Natatorium is fully accessible for physically challenged persons. Contact the Natatorium at (210) 486-3800 for details and a current schedule.
The Palo Alto Testing Center offers a variety of testing programs to assist students with state test requirements and academic placement. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the resources and services provided by the Center.
Testing programs available to students and the community include:
- Placement Testing/Texas Success Initiative Testing
All Palo Alto students except those enrolling in Corporate & Community Education or pursuing certain state-approved technical certificates are required to have test scores for academic advisement and TSI purposes. Scores must be less than three years old. In some cases, additional placement testing may be required for placement into some college-level courses. Tests accepted at Palo Alto include:
THEA/QUICK THEA/TASP – only passing scores may be used for placement
- College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)
Only specific CLEP Subject Examinations are administered and accepted. A list is available online or at the Testing Center.
- Departmental Exams
With faculty approval, students may challenge some courses by taking an examination.
- Academic-Makeup/Distance Testing
Scheduled dates and times vary by semester. Contact the Testing Center to confirm an appointment.
- Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA)
The THEA is offered on the Palo Alto campus several times per year. Consult the THEA website (www.thea.nesinc.com) for dates and procedures.
- ESOL Testing – for placement into PAC’s ESOL program.
Standardized tests are administered on scheduled dates and require advance registration and payment if applicable. The placement tests or TSI exams are offered on a scheduled basis and during registration periods. Contact the Testing Center for more information.
The Library is an instructional component of Palo Alto College. It is composed of a progressive teaching library, technology facilities and services, and a self-contained Children’s Library. The Library selects, acquires and maintains library resources in print, electronic and media formats. The Library provides point of need, introductory, academic and certificate instruction for individuals and groups, and also offers a free series of classes on research (Information Research Certificate – a total of seven classes) as well as an academic degree and certificate program in Library Technology. The Library provides periodic Library Café events for students to get together and interact informally.
The goal of Community Resources is to identify the needs of students and determine the categories of community, institutional, and child care resources required to address those needs. Referrals are made to United Way agencies for financial assistance, utility relief programs, child care, domestic violence, and housing which may include the following: Child Care Delivery Service (CCDS), Catholic Charities, De Paul Family Center, Housing Authority of San Antonio, CARE LINK, City of San Antonio-Department of Community Initiatives and Family Violence Prevention Services. Students may be referred by faculty, staff, and/or self-referral. All inquiries are welcome. For assistance, come to the Office of Student Engagement & Retention located in the Student Center Center, Room 124, or call (210) 486-3127.
Located in the Center for Academic Transitions in the Student Center, Transfer Services provides the educational road map for successful transfer from Palo Alto College to the four-year university.
Our services include:
- Recruiter Visitation Schedules with dates when university representatives visit to answer questions and provide admissions information;
- Annual Fall Semester Transfer Fair when up to 60 universities provide admissions information;
- Education Express field trip visits to four-year universities;
- Transfer-themed workshops providing insights for a successful transfer;
- Transfer Guides/2+2 Transfer Plans providing information on courses to complete prior to transfer to the university. Some of the university Transfer Plans include:
- Our Lady of the Lake University
- St. Mary’s University
- Sam Houston State University
- Texas A&M University at College Station
- Texas A&M University-San Antonio
- Texas State University-San Marcos
- University of Texas at Austin
- University of Texas at San Antonio
- University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
- University of Northern Iowa
- University of the Incarnate Word
- University applications and catalogs with specific information on admissions deadlines and academic program descriptions;
- Transfer scholarship information for the four-year universities.
Located in the Center for Academic Transitions in the Student Center, Career Services provides assistance in the areas of career exploration and job placement. Our services include:
- One-on-One Career Services, including assessment, are available to assist students in matching career goals with academic majors. Other individual services include helping students conduct online job search and job search skills (i.e., resume writing, mock interview, contacting employers, etc.)
- Job Resources, including books, magazines, videos, and Internet access, are available for students to research occupations, salaries, labor market data, employer information, job search processes, and transfer college information.
- Career and Job Fairs, both on- and off-campus, are coordinated annually to allow students the opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge on careers and interview for jobs.
- Internships, both on- and off-campus, are coordinated with community businesses to enable students the opportunity to gain valuable experience and potential employment.
The Counseling Services Center provides all students with comprehensive services designed to enhance their ability to define and attain academic, career and personal goals. Students are encouraged to speak with a counselor to develop strategies that will promote academic success and personal success.
When enrolling in College for the first time, students meet with counselors or advisors for academic advisement and registration. Thereafter, counseling services are available to assist students in various phases of academic, career and personal development. Professional counseling is available for day and evening students. All counseling is confidential. Individual counseling, small group discussions, seminars and workshops provide students with information and strategies in the following areas:
Students can receive information on courses needed for a certificate, a two-year associate degree or courses required for transfer from Palo Alto College to other colleges/universities. Counselors can also assist with information about 2+2 programs, joint admissions programs, and articulation agreements. In addition, counselors help students in overcoming academic difficulties, improving study skills, or advising students placed on Academic Probation or Academic Dismissal.
Counselors can assist students in individual counseling with issues such as depression, domestic violence, academic problems, relationships, mental health and other personal matters that may affect educational goals. In addition, counselors provide referrals to professionals, community agencies, and resources not available at PAC, when necessary.
Selecting a program of study (major) or making long-term career goals is critical for success in college. This can be accomplished, with assistance from a counselor, through career assessment that can help students explore their personal attributes and skills to match them with compatible career choices.
Crisis intervention services are available to assist with psychologically based urgent situations. Such interventions may include involvement with other agencies, health care professionals, and law enforcement personnel.
Student Development Courses (SDEV 0170, 0171, 0172, 0370)
Counselors teach Student Development (SDEV) 0170 (College Success) and SDEV 0370 (Foundations for College Learning) courses. These classes are taught in the traditional classroom setting, but can also be taught over the Internet. All students entering Palo Alto College with fewer than 15 college-level semester credit hours are required to enroll in either SDEV 0170 or SDEV 0370. A benefit of the traditional classroom and Internet formats is the ongoing access of students to a counselor who offers guidance and support throughout the semester. One of the functions of the course is to provide academic advisement for the subsequent semester.
Counselors also teach SDEV 0171: Strategies for Success, for students placed on academic probation, continued academic probation, and/or financial aid suspension and SDEV 0172: Career and Life Planning, for students who are undecided or need more information in selecting a program of study. Counselors can be reached by visiting the Counseling Center, calling 486-3333 or visiting the website at http://www.alamo.edu/main.aspx?id=1057.
Early Alert is designed to promote student success and retention by serving as a resource tool to faculty in efforts to enhance academic success. The primary objective of the program is to identify academic difficulties within the first 6-8 weeks of a semester that may negatively impact overall student success. The Early Alert program is initiated when a faculty member identifies students who are experiencing academic difficulties. As a result of a faculty-initiated referral, an Early Alert Specialist contacts the student and advises the student about ways to address their academic difficulties. A final report is given to the faculty regarding the outcome of the meeting with the student through academic counseling and community resource referrals.
International Student Services
All persons seeking admission holding non-permanent F-1 visas will be processed as International Students. The Designated School Official assists prospective international students with admission application, advising, registration, medical insurance, USCIS (former INS) compliance, etc. Enrolled international students are also assisted with transfer to other institutions or return to their home country.
PASSkey Program (TRIO Student Support Services Program)
PASSkey, located in the Palomino Center, Room 107, is a retention program funded by the U.S. Department of Education and is designed to:
- Increase college retention and graduation rates of eligible students.
- Increase the transfer rates of eligible students from two-year to four-year institutions.
- Foster a supportive climate of success for low-income and first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities.
PASSkey participants must meet the established federal criteria of academic under-preparation, first-generation college, low-income and/or a disability as defined by the ADA. Students enrolled in the Student Support Services program have particular academic, personal, and social needs that may become a deterrent to their academic success.
One of the key components is the Individual Plan for Success (IPS) designed to develop a holistic personalized plan of action that will assist each student with transition to college and to the university and/or work. PASSkey’s retention initiatives incorporate a broad, flexible system of supportive services.
Description of services:
- Academic, career, and personal counseling
- Financial aid preparation and securing of educational funds
- Registration assistance
- Academic advisement and registration assistance
- Access to cultural events and activities
- University Education Express trips
- Laptop, Graphing Calculator and PDA lending program
- Referral and assistance with campus services and resources
- Assistance in securing community resources to resolve issues relating to health, relationships, and financial needs
- Linkages with colleges and universities, professionals, and other students nationwide
- Computer and Internet access
- Supplemental Instruction for developmental Math and College Algebra.
In addition to the services outlined above, weekly student success workshops are offered on:
- Stress management
- Test-taking strategies
- Money management and budgeting
- Healthy families
- Budgeting your time
- Career exploration
- Resume writing
- Dealing with depression
- Essay writing
- Transferring to a four-year university
- Getting organized
Reading Learning Center (RLC)
The Reading Learning Center (RLC) provides all students enrolled at Palo Alto College with tutoring at no charge in all levels of reading courses (READ 0301, READ 0302, READ 0303). Tutoring is available on a “drop-in” basis in the tutoring facility. A variety of instructional software for reading is also available. The Reading Learning Center is located in Nueces Hall, Room 114. For more information, call 486-3262.
Math Learning Center (MLC)
The Math Learning Center (MLC) provides all students enrolled at Palo Alto College with tutoring at no charge in all levels of Mathematics. Math Skills Specialists and peer tutors are available on a “drop-in” basis in the tutoring facility. Other learning assistance, such as computer-aided instructional software and advanced mathematics software (Maple), is available in the Math Learning Center. Math videotapes may be checked out from the Math Learning Center and taken home overnight. The Math Learning Center is located in Gutierrez Learning Labs, Room 105. For more information, call 486-3273.
Science Learning Center (SLC)
The Science Learning Center (SLC) helps students succeed in their science classes. The Center offers:
- Tutoring on a walk-in basis by an Instructional Specialist and peer tutors
- Science models and materials
- Computer-assisted instruction and Internet access to support course work
- Practice lab exams
- Workshops on research and lab report writing
- Special events, including a Nursing Career Information Day
The Science Learning Center has two locations: Frio Hall, Room 111, and Brazos Hall, Room 126. For more information, call (210) 486-3281 or 486-3232.
Writing Assistance Center (WAC)
The Writing Assistance Center (WAC) provides all students enrolled at Palo Alto College with one-on-one writing tutoring at no charge. Tutors help students with any writing assignment or task at any stage of the writing process – from brainstorming to final draft.
Students may use the WAC whether they have a writing assignment for a course in English or any other academic discipline.
Students may also receive assistance with other writing tasks such as resumes, scholarship essays, and college entrance essays.
The WAC offers access to a variety of writing resources including informative handouts and guides, manuals and texts.
Students are welcome to visit the Writing Assistance Center in Learning Labs Building, Rooms 119 and 121 by appointment or on a walk-in basis. For more information, call 486-3257.
Biomedical Science and Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine
Palo Alto College is one of only a few community college in Texas with an agreement allowing its students to complete a prescribed degree plan and automatically be admitted to the Biomedical Science program in the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine at College Station. Students must meet general admission requirements for Texas A&M University, must maintain no less than a 3.6 GPA in courses taken at Palo Alto, be eligible for graduation from Palo Alto, and must not have made any grade below a “B” in all of the Common Body of Knowledge science and math course work. The transfer agreement took effect with the Fall 2001 semester. For a detailed degree plan, contact Transfer Services in the Center for Academic Transitions in the Student Center.
The Biomedical Science program, the largest undergraduate major at Texas A&M University, is a pathway to careers such as medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, nursing, education, and many other related fields.
English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
The ESOL program of study at Palo Alto College is designed to: 1) prepare students for academic success at Palo Alto College; 2) empower students to become productive in their communities; and 3) assist students in reaching their professional and personal goals. Students may take the classes as credit or non-credit students. All students must have a high school diploma (from the United States OR their country of origin) or a GED certificate (in English or en español). Assessment for placement into appropriate ESOL classes is mandatory for all students. Students must demonstrate proficiency in English before transitioning to the Bridge Program or college-level classes.
The ESOL program consists of an Intensive English Program for full-time students who can attend classes Monday through Friday, an Evening ESOL Program for part-time students, and a new Bridge Program offered through the English Department for students whose first language is not English (see course listings for English 0346 and English 0347).
Intensive English Program (IEP): The Intensive English Program (IEP) uses the Focal Skills Approach to enable students to learn English as quickly as possible. IEP courses include Listening, Reading, Writing, Immersion and electives such as Grammar, Pronunciation, and Conversation.
All students are given a set of language assessment exams and then placed in classes according to their scores. Each student attends four hours of class daily, Monday through Friday, for up to four four-week sessions per semester. Students test every four weeks and move to different skill modules based on their scores.
After meeting the requirements for Listening, Reading, and Writing, students go to Immersion where they synthesize all the language skills in class activities which include research, group discussions, speech giving, interviewing, writing research papers, guest speaker visits, and exploration of community resources.
Bridge Program: The Bridge Program assists recent high school graduates as well as community residents whose first language is not English to transition to college-level classes. Bridge classes, which are offered in the day and in the evening, are designed for part-time students who are also working.
The Office of Veteran Affairs offers assistance to students receiving educational assistance under one of the public laws for veterans and/or their dependents. Students utilizing Veteran Affairs benefits should contact the Veteran Affairs Office before registration to obtain information regarding enrollment and specific requirements for the institution to process certification of attendance.
New student veterans are required to declare a major and provide official transcripts from every institution attended, including appropriate military transcripts (AARTs for Army, SMART for Marine Corps and Navy and CCAF for Air Force).
Students using VA benefits must notify the Office of Veterans Affairs of any adds, drops, course, or program changes.
NOTE: You must notify the Office of Veteran Services each semester/term regarding courses in which you are enrolled.