Carolina College Advising Corps in Rockingham County
We were thrilled to welcome a new set of College Advisors in Fall 2015 at all four of our high schools.
Meet the whole crew below!
Carla Salas – Dalton L. McMichael High School
Originally from Aurora, IL, I graduated from UNC-CH in May with a degree in English. I became a college adviser because I had an adviser in high school. The support she provided as I was navigating the college application process was tremendous, and really impacted the path I have chosen—of giving back to a community in a similar way that I was helped I look forward to continuing my work as an adviser with the students at McMichael, assisting them in any way I can as they navigate their post high school plans.
Tierra Williams – Dalton L. McMichael High School
Tierra hails from Caswell County. She graduated from UNC-CH with a degree in Psychology. Ms. Williams became a college adviser to mentor students who come from backgrounds similar to her own, and help them to develop a sense of direction for their lives by exposing them to possibilities through higher education. She is most excited about helping students navigate their individual paths to success through technical, 2-year, and 4-year higher education institutions.
Rachel Worsham – John Motley Morehead High School
Originally from Charlotte, Rachel graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2015 with degrees in History and Peace, War and Defense. Rachel became a college adviser because she wants to give the students of Rockingham County the chance to do everything they want, even if they think they cannot achieve it. She is most excited about the opportunity to be a change agent in the lives of her students, their families, and the greater Eden community.
Phoebe Bulls – Rockingham County High School
Phoebe came to North Carolina from Tomball, TX when she started her undergraduate career in Chapel Hill. After graduating with a degree in English from UNC-CH, Phoebe became a college adviser to advocate for students and their educational pursuits. She wants every student she interacts with to know they have someone in their corner who believes in them, no matter their background. Phoebe has been most excited to help open up students’ eyes to their own potential and to the myriad opportunities within higher education.
When The Rockingham County Education Foundation (RCEF) was formed in 2008, the first project we wanted to tackle was to increase the percentage of our high school graduates that were going on to college. RCEF joined with the Carolina College Advising Corps (CCAC) and The Reidsville Area Foundation to fund the placement of student advisors in all four Rockingham County high schools. CCAC is an affiliate of the National College Advising Corps, which operates in fourteen (14) states. The Advising Corps model is a targeted approach that integrates student supports into the high school model in order to address non-academic barriers to student achievement and success. By placing well-trained, recent college graduates as full-time advisers in our high schools, the Advising Corps provides the support that high-need students must have to navigate the complex processes of college admissions and matriculation and securing financial aid. Advisers also work to foster a college-going culture within the schools they serve, which is one of the best predictors of whether students will pursue higher education at all. While all students can access the talents of the CCAC advisors, the focus is on helping low-income and first generation college students.
In specific terms, the advisors focus on critical areas that are crucial to success in navigating the college application process. For many of the targeted high school students, the first step is convincing them that college attendance is a realistic goal and expectation. The primary concern often is financial in nature. The advisors walk hand-in-hand with both students and their parents through the federal financial aid process (FAFSA). Further, the advisors have been trained to know where additional financial aid can be found at specific schools. They have made contacts in the financial aid offices of colleges across the state as they visit campuses during their training. They are aware of scholarship programs across the country and become familiar with local scholarship opportunities as they are placed with their school. Bringing all of this together, the financial barrier to college attendance is removed.
Also, many of the prospective college-bound students have never thought seriously about what college might be a good fit for them. Their knowledge is limited to affinity to a particular college’s sports teams or to the closest school to their home. Our advisors drill down to determine the student’s interests, capabilities and qualifications. From this evaluation, the advisors look to match students with schools that will be a good “fit” for both the students and the colleges. This greatly improves the acceptance rates among applicants and their success rate after acceptance. Whether the “fit” is an Ivy League school or the local community college, the goal is to maximize the student’s opportunities to succeed and fulfill their capabilities.
Other areas of focus include parental counseling, campus visits (which can really be an eye-opening motivator for first generation college students), SAT/ACT test registration and preparation, and, of course, college application preparation and review. While much of the focus naturally is on the 11th and 12th grade students, meaningful time is dedicated to reaching younger students. The sooner that students focus on what they need to do to prepare for college, the better their chances are for success.