Thousands of students in high schools across Texas now have access to the best college advising available.
Advise TX College Advising Corps placed highly trained college advisers in 120 Texas high schools this fall in an effort to lead low-income and first-generation students to college. The advisers will guide students through the complex college and financial aid application process, a time-consuming task, that overburdened guidance counselors and faculty rarely have the luxury to take on.
“The advisers are exceptional recent college graduates from all fields of study, chosen for their leadership abilities and their desire to help students get into college,” said Dr. Nicole Hurd, Executive Director of the National College Advising Corps, who oversees Advising Corps programs in 14 states.“Before arriving at their assigned campuses in August,” Hurd continued, “the advisers received six weeks of comprehensive training in college admissions and financial aid, from qualified professionals in public education, higher education, and government. We are truly grateful for their service and the creativity and innovation they bring to this important effort.”
The advisers are qualified to help students and their parents with the following:
- Assessing college-going options—four-year colleges, community colleges, junior colleges, technical schools, and vocational schools. The advisers urge students to aim as high as they can.
- Choosing the right college by comparing entrance requirements, academic programs, freshman transition programs, extracurricular activities, and other services at multiple colleges.
- Determining college costs and exploring financial aid options.
- Finding relevant scholarship opportunities.
- Preparing for standardized college entrance exams.
- Completing the Texas Common Application on the ApplyTexas web site.
- Working with ROTC and government assistance programs.
- Composing college essays and resumes and seeking letters of recommendation.
- Meeting college application and admission deadlines and preparing for college interviews.
- Interpreting scholarship and financial aid award letters.
- Overcoming fears of college and explaining what students can expect when they arrive on campus.
Collaborating with school principals, counseling staff, teachers, and student organizations, the advisers aim to build a college-going culture on their campuses by making college as visible as possible to students. For example, advisers might organize college application workshops for juniors and seniors, schedule visits from college recruiters and trips to college campuses for students, and plan school-wide events celebrating students’ acceptances to colleges.
As part of the National College Advising Corps effort, the Advise TX advisers are recent graduates of the four participating Advise TX universities: Texas A&M University, Texas Christian University, Trinity University, and The University of Texas at Austin.
The Texas Corps launched in fall 2010 when 15 advisers were placed in high schools in Houston, San Antonio, and the Rio Grande Valley. The program was so successful that this year it received an expansion of its original federal College Access Challenge Grant, to put a total of 120 advisers into Texas high schools in 10 regions—Austin, Beaumont, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Kilgore, San Antonio, and the Rio Grande Valley.
The additional advisers will dramatically increase the number of Texas students who receive guidance on applying to college and, it is hoped, contribute measurably to building a college-going culture across Texas. Currently, Texas ranks 26th among states whose residents have bachelor’s degrees (16.9 percent). College degrees translate into better lifetime earnings and into a more robust economy.
To meet the advisers and learn about the schools they are serving, visit the Advise TX web site,www.advisetx.org/advisers.