For many students, college is the first time they’ve lived away from home—and away from daily interaction with their families. But for Pensacola Christian College students, it’s never hard to find a caring person ready to offer support.
As PCC students prepare to influence the world for Christ, the PCC Care Office supports their goals by providing a safe, impartial, and confidential place to receive help in four areas: whether a student needs help figuring out finances, improving study skills, making career plans, or talking through personal issues.
“All four areas have their own dedicated staff members, yet the services are all located on the first floor of the Academic Center, making it easy for students,” said Dr. Robert Achuff, director of PCC Care. “And for students who don’t need a one-on-one meeting with a PCC Care team member, there are resources found on Eagle’s Nest. If students come to the office with concerns we are not able to address, we’ll get them connected to the department that can help them.”
College takes place during some of the most formative years in a young adult’s life, and world events over the last two years have presented many extra challenges. In early 2022, up to 70% of surveyed college-aged students reported experiencing mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. When distressing times come, students can find guidance and counsel by visiting PCC Care’s Biblical Guidance Office. Since all sessions between the advisor and student are confidential, “it’s a place where students who are really struggling with some serious issues can come and seek help and not feel like they would get in trouble,” said Dr. Dale Adkins, director of biblical guidance.
Advisors have worked with students over matters such as assurance of salvation, developing devotion and prayer habits, anxiety, depression, homesickness, self-harm, relationship issues, grief, addictions of various kinds, and self-image, among others. Although the advisors can provide referrals to licensed professionals if a student has specialized needs, they always start by guiding the students to seek help from God’s Word. “You notice that with most of the issues, the root problem goes back to your relationship with the Lord, and so [you’ve] got to start there to build up,” Dr. Adkins explained. “We don’t try to just turn to somebody and say, ‘You need to pray more, read your Bible more.’ There’s more to it than that. But that oftentimes is the first building block that needs to be put in place before you start building.”
While some students visit the office with serious issues, others simply need some encouragement. In addition to the resources available on Eagle’s Nest, it’s nice to know that there’s always someone available with a listening ear and wise advice. “Sometimes they just need a grandfather-figure sitting there saying, ‘The best thing you can do is get yourself back out there and get busy,’” said Dr. Adkins.
Many students find that they’d like some extra academic support, whether they’re writing a research paper, working through a difficult class concept, or needing suggestions for better class notes. At the Academic Success Office, students can find the help they need! This office offers free academic coaching in most liberal arts subjects as well as select higher-level, course-specific subjects. “The purpose of the Academic Success Office is to help students achieve the highest GPA possible,” said Laura Vaught, academic success coordinator.
“The Academic Success Office is staffed by faculty and GAs [graduate assistants] across various disciplines to offer a wide range of coaching and tutoring expertise,” Mrs. Vaught explained. “Student tutors are also a vital extension of the office and may have additional availability outside our regular office hours.”
Because of the tutoring and writing support from the Academic Success Office, hundreds of students every semester have enjoyed getting better grades and a stronger understanding of what they’re learning.
Often, a college education is the largest financial investment a student has ever made. Although PCC’s low tuition cost—among the lowest compared to other Christian liberal arts colleges—has enabled 82% of alumni to graduate debt-free, students may still need financial guidance along the way. At the Financial Advising Office, students can meet with Malcolm Edwards, the financial advisor, to explore all financial aid options and find what works best for their situation.
There are five options available to most students: scholarships, Work Assistance, student loans, the PCC Cares Fund, and the Fourth Year Tuition-Free program. “Not all students are aware of the financial resources available to them,” said Mr. Edwards. “We provide personalized support for students who are trying to find a way to pay for college.”
The whole point of attending college? Getting a degree and moving on to the next step: a successful future, influencing the world for Christ wherever God leads.
The Career Services Office connects students and alumni with hiring businesses and ministries across the U.S. and around the world. “Students are not alone when they take the next step after college, when they leave here and go into a career,” said Brad Mullenix, alumni and career services director. Any student can visit Career Services for résumé and cover letter assistance, preparing for interviews, getting involved in the mentorship program, or making connections that lead to amazing career opportunities.
Students can greatly benefit from the resources and instruction the office provides, but many simply need someone to talk to about what’s next. “One of the biggest helps we do is not the technical, but encouragement—encouraging students to take that leap, go for it with that ‘dream’ job or company,” explained Mr. Mullenix. “We have seen a lot of students that just need that little nudge.”
College can be a challenging time for many students, but they don’t have to “tough it out” on their own. The people of the PCC Care Office are ready and willing to assist with any problem they have. “The end goal, of course, is to see students complete what they’ve started,” said Dr. Achuff. “Unfortunately, one’s college career can be upended because he or she lacks funds or perhaps a particular skill set. The PCC Care Office wants to provide the support students need to make it through those challenges—and to walk across the graduation stage at the end.”