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WIZS 1450 AM, Henderson, NC | 2015

UNC-Chapel Hill: Giving back to the lower income counties of NC

By Noah Whittacre – WIZS

Since 2014 Vance County has been a part of the recently-developed Carolina College Advising Corps program. The program at UNC-Chapel Hill was created in 2007 to give lower income schools and areas the tools and resources to help students apply for scholarships, schedule testing, apply to the colleges that best suit individual needs and to encourage all to consider their future at college. The program at UNC-Chapel Hill is part of a bigger organization called the College Advising Corps, and this program works in tandem with AmeriCorps, another national organization to aid the citizens of America.

Why do we need college advisers in our high school?

College advisers play a huge role in the process of applying to college, according to the College Board. High-achieving students from low-income families have the same chance of enrolling in college as low-achieving students from high-income families. The Advising Corps was created to bridge the gap between college and these students from low-income families. Advisers work closely with school guidance counselors and other school staff to create programs that meet the needs of the students in the high schools they serve.

The advisers help students research and apply at a large range of two-year and four-year universities and seek to fit the student’s individual needs. The primary goals of the Advising Corps are to increase post-secondary enrollment rates of the schools served, create a college going culture within the schools served, and broaden the range of two and four year schools to which students are exposed. These advisers are essential for students who have no desire to look for what suits them best or those who just don’t know all of their opportunities.

The impact at Northern Vance

When I started my freshman year, there was no college adviser at Northern Vance. The encouragement to apply for college and to achieve was there but the talk and buzz about college wasn’t. When our college adviser came in 2014, the entire atmosphere surrounding college changed. Students were excited to talk about their plans, to discuss scholarship information, to encourage other students to keep on applying. We started having college fairs where college representatives came and set up booths to give us information. The number of college visit field trips increased and students were shown opportunities that they didn’t know were there. From my own perspective, these advisers have a tremendous impact on the schools of North Carolina. I hope that all schools will have an opportunity to eventually receive a college adviser because the impact is really remarkable.

What impact has this program made in NC schools?

According to the Carolina College Advising Corps website, these are the impacts made in the 2014-2015 school year:

  • Held over 45,000 one-on-one meetings with students in grades 9-12
  • Organized and offered 283 college campus visits for students at partner high schools
  • Held 863 college representative visits to high schools, allowing 5,605 students to have direct interaction with a college representative
  • Held over 1,000 parent meetings
  • Directly assisted over 3,300 students with registering for a college entrance exam (ACT and/or SAT)
  • Supported over 3,600 eligible students in obtaining a fee waiver to take a college entrance exam
  • Helped students submit over 16,000 college applications to four-year and two-year institutions
  • Assisted students in earning over $109,405,000 in scholarships (not including federal Pell Grant awards)
  • Celebrated 4,630 students at Decision Day events across the state
  • Worked with 5 students who were awarded the Morehead Cain Scholarship
  • Supported and assisted with over 4,100 student submissions of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by June 1, 2015
  • Collaborated with colleagues to offer 272 sessions on financial aid and financial literacy to their communities

These statistics are proof that the CCAC has made great strides from when they started to aid students on the pathway to success. When the CCAC started in 2007, they had four advisers serving eight schools. In the 2015-2016 school year, 45 advisers served 64 schools across 25 counties in North Carolina. These numbers will only continue to grow and the program will continue to serve the students of NC schools.