Adviser Warche K. Downing of Guilford County spoke on Fox 8 News about his advice for students seeking scholarships. As a Gates Millenium Scholar and an adviser with the Carolina Corps, Mr. Downing is eager to share insights with his students and families in his community.
Second year advisers Warche Downing (Guilford County), Briana O’Neal (Hertford and Bertie Counties) and Alyson Courtney (Rowan County) speak with stakeholders at a lunch celebrating the Carolina College Advising Corps on October 1st.
The Carolina College Advising Corps helps low-income and first-generation students across North Carolina find their way to colleges and universities that will serve them well. The program hires terrific recent graduates of UNC-Chapel Hill and places them as college and financial-aid advisers in high schools statewide. Through one-on-one advising, group workshops, and other activities, our advisers encourage students to continue their education beyond high school, help them search for colleges that are good matches for their talents and aspirations, and assist them with applications for admissions, scholarships, and financial aid.
Led by Yolanda Keith, with help from coordinators Eric Smith and Meredith Allred, last year the Carolina Corps helped 4,328 seniors submit 11,858 applications to college. Partner high schools enjoy college-enrollment rates that are as much as 13 percentage points higher than the rates at comparable schools with no adviser.
The event was hosted by Chancellor Carol L. Folt, who delivered an inspirational welcome, citing the Carolina Corps as one to of the reasons why she is so proud to lead the University. In addition to the 41 current Corps advisers, she recognized key attendees among an audience of nearly one hundred, including Tom Ross, president of the UNC system, several N.C. legislators, Board of Trustees member Dwight Stone, Durham Mayor Bill Bell, and several representatives from organizations who provide funding for the Corps. “The Corps is an organization we should celebrate every day,” she said, stressing the importance of its work to improve the college-going rate for first-generation, low-income and under-represented North Carolina students to attend and graduate from college. Throughout the event, she made her way to every table of advisers, offering words of support for their work.
After lunch, we heard from President Ross, who reminded attendees that only 26% of North Carolinians have a bachelor’s degree, underscoring the necessity of the Corps to prepare our state’s work force for the future. Next, we heard from Briana O’Neal, a current adviser representing high schools in Bertie and Hertford County. As a first-generation college student with parents in the military, she spoke poignantly from her own experience about the importance of having a solid support system for students who aspire to college and the impact of the Corps on the lives of the students she serves.
Mindy Oakley, Executive Director of the Edward M. Armfield, Sr. Foundation, a philanthropic organization which has helped support the Corps for four years, finished the event on a high note. “We at the Armfield Foundation are so proud to support the Corps for the work this organization does for this state. Whenever I bring a request for funding for the Corps before our board, the answer is always yes, yes, yes.”
The Carolina College Advising Corps helps low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students find their way to colleges that will serve them well. By providing well-trained, enthusiastic advisers who are close in age and circumstance to the students they serve, the program aims to increase college-going rates at partner high schools across North Carolina.
We recruit advisers who are recent graduates of partner colleges/universities. This allows them to more easily develop relationships with students and serve as both peers as well as role models.
Our advisers work in partnership with teachers, counselors and administrators, as an additional staff member whose focus is singularly on improving the school’s college-going culture and ensuring that students apply to and enroll in colleges where they will succeed.
Advisers focus on helping students to identify and apply to post-secondary programs that will best serve them both academically and socially, thus increasing the likelihood that these students will persist to earn their degrees.