New advising program focuses on student success and transfer


Northeast Texas Community College recently partnered with A&M University-Texarkana to launch its latest program designed to offer advanced advising services to NTCC students. 

The Transfer Support Team program, funded by the Title V Federal Grant, offers a wide range of assistance, advising and workshops to students transferring from high school to NTCC as well as students preparing to transfer from NTCC to a university. The offices are located in the new Career and Transfer Center in the Business Technology building. The center is open Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to noon. 

Title V Co-op Grant Director Linsey Harwell called the style of counseling offered through the program “individualized advising.” Students connect with transfer coaches who offer them guidance in specific areas related to their academic careers. These advisers do not just recommend classes or degree plans to students, they also play the role of mentor, friend and counselor. Throughout the transfer process, students receive continuous interaction with their coaches. 

The Support Team coaches stay in contact with the students through phone calls, text messages and emails and meet up with them regularly to offer advice and assistance and to check on their progress. The program also has coaches who continue assisting students if they transfer to A&M-Texarkana for their four-year degree.

“Our goal is to support students throughout their college career at NTCC by providing resources starting at the dual credit stage through completion of their degree at NTCC,” Harwell said. “We’re here to help eliminate hurdles students encounter as they move forward in their educational journey.” 

Harwell said the program’s main focuses is to assist students with the transfer process to a 4-year university. 

“We partnered with TAMU-T and have additional coaches at their main campus in Texarkana as well as on the NTCC campus,” she said. “Coaches at TAMU-T will provide additional support for transfer students at the university level to encourage completion of their 4-year degree.”   

Although the program is relatively new, Academic Transfer Coach Jessica Dorantes said many of the students are beginning to develop a close connection with the team. 

“We have seen so many of the students already. The same students come in every day and they update us by saying, ‘Hey, I made a good grade on my quiz’ or ‘I was able to purchase my book.’ It’s just little things like that. They think of us and come and share those good moments.” 

Dorantes said as a first-generation college student herself, it is rewarding to actually see the impact that the coaches are having on students’ lives. 

Harwell said the members of the team are available to help with a number of issues students face when trying to advance their college career. 

“We are willing and ready to help any student who needs assistance with college transfer and career counseling.” 

Along with Harwell and Dorantes, the NTCC Support Team also includes Noemi Deciga, academic transfer coach, Briseida Speidell, career services and transfer center specialist, and Crystal Guerrero, high school transition coach. 

Harwell said, “We are willing and ready to help any student who needs assistance with college transfer and career counseling.” 

The coaches assist students with college applications, financial aid, scholarships and developing degree plans. The goal of the Transfer Support Team is to help students transfer to a four-year campus of their choice. 

Deciga said team members are assisting students with everything from financial issues to degree and university options. 

“We want to make sure that all of the courses that are done at the community college are transferable to that degree and help them with the application process to the university,” she said.  

The Transfer Support Team follows in the footsteps of the Student Success program that started through the Title V Grant in 2015. 

While the Student Success program focuses on assisting freshmen, the Transfer Support Team mostly work with sophomore students who are preparing to transfer. 

“It’s not just walking them through it,” Deciga said. “It’s helping them learn how to do it on their own. It’s empowering to the students.” 

As a part of the new program, Crystal Guerrero, high school transition coach, will travel to local high schools in the area and help students prepare for attending college once they graduate. 

She plans to meet with students to help them prepare FAFSA documents and admission applications and walk them through the steps that they will need to enter college. As a first-generation college student herself, Guerrero said her role is to help high school students understand the opportunities in higher education and encourage them to pursue a degree at NTCC. 

“This will help them because a lot of students don’t know where to start, or they don’t know who to talk to,” Guerrero said. “Having someone come to them so they can see that we are making an effort to help get them into NTCC will be a big thing for them.”  

The team also aids students who are looking to move into the workforce and gain employment. As the career service specialist, Speidell helps students explore career choices and complete resumes, cover letters and job applications. 

She said the team is doing what they can to help the students reach their goals. “When you feel that someone cares about you, that helps you to feel confident and able to ask questions and feel like someone can help and is there for you,” she said.  

Students can set up an appointment with a coach of their choice through email or by stopping by the center. Emails: Linsey Harwell (Director):, Briseida Speidell (Career Exploration and Transfer Specialist):, Noemi Deciga (Academic Transfer Coach):, Jessica Dorantes (Academic Transfer Coach):, Crystal Guerrero (High School Transition Coach):