Advise TX is building momentum for Texas’ college-going culture

Advise TX“This fall, we’re seeing students express interest in their postsecondary futures a little earlier,” said Jennifer Pandya, Statewide Coordinator for Advise TX.  “Many of the rising juniors who saw Advise TX advisers last year had thought about their college and career options and were ready to start the application process when they arrived on campus this fall as seniors.

“Also, many high schools called us over the summer to say they were eager for the advisers to arrive this fall and begin their work,” Pandya continued. “Our high school partners see the advisers as energetic young role models who bring the excitement of college to their campuses and provide direct advising to students and their families as they navigate through the college-going process.”

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 organize college application workshops, schedule visits from college recruiters and trips to college campuses for students, and plan school-wide events celebrating students’ acceptances to colleges.

In 2011-2012, Advise TX advisers:

  • Held 185,000 one-on-one meetings and nearly 20,000 group meetings with students
  • Assisted nearly 30,000 students with college application fee waivers
  • Assisted students and their parents in completing some 14,000 financial aid applications
  • Distributed nearly 48,000 fee waivers for the ACT and SAT college entrance exams
  • Took more than 21,000 students on college tours and set up tens of thousands of visits with college representatives on high school campuses

Advise TX is funded by the federal College Access Challenge Grant, and Advise TX advisers are recent graduates of these participating universities: Texas A&M University, Texas Christian University, Trinity University, and The University of Texas at Austin.  A fifth partner, Texas State University-San Marcos, joined Advise TX this fall.

Advisers serve 120 high schools in nine regions: Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, Kilgore, San Antonio, and the Rio Grande Valley.

Advisers aim to dramatically increase the number of Texas students who receive guidance on applying to college.  Currently, Texas ranks 26th among states whose residents have bachelor’s degrees (16.9 percent). Postsecondary certificates and degrees translate into better lifetime earnings and into a more robust economy.

Advise TX, which began in 2010 with 15 advisers at The University of Texas at Austin, is part of the National College Advising Corps (NCAC).

“Since its inception in 2005, the National College Advising Corps has helped nearly 300,000 low-income, first-generation college and underrepresented students to make their dreams a reality,” said Nicole Hurd, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director of the NCAC.

“This academic year, we are honored to serve an additional 117,000 students at 389 high schools in 14 states across the country.  Our efforts in Texas are vital to our success and impact, and we are honored to partner with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, its commissioner, Dr. Raymund Paredes and the five outstanding institutions of higher education whose recent graduates we will engage in this important national service work. In Texas alone, we have 120 advisers placed in high-need schools and each day they work to meet the ‘Closing the Gaps by 2015’ statewide goal,” said Hurd.

To meet the Advise TX advisers and learn about the schools they are serving, visit the Advise TX web site: www.advisetx.org/advisers.

Meet the Advise TX advisers

Talented recent graduates of five Texas universities are serving in 120 Texas high schools this year, helping low-income, first-generation college and underrepresented students to make their dreams of post-secondary education come true.  Here, several Advise TX advisers talk about their hopes for their students’ futures, the ways in which they work with their schools to ensure their students’ success, and their students’ remarkable achievements.

Margarita VizcarraWhy I became an Advise TX Adviser
Margarita Vizcarra
2011 Texas A&M University
Serving Aldine High School in Houston

I want to change students’ lives as my college adviser changed mine.  She believed in my talent and pushed me to aim high.  Many of the students I advise need this kind of encouragement.


Why I became an Advise TX Adviser
Alma Limas
Alma Limas
2011 The University of Texas at Austin
Serving West Oso High School in Corpus Christi

I am a first-generation student who knows how daunting the college application process can be without proper guidance or family support. I hope to empower students by giving them the tools necessary to achieve a post-secondary education.


My goal for my students
Oscar Sevilla
Oscar Sevilla
2011 Texas State University-San Marcos
Serving Rowe High School in the Rio Grande Valley

I hope that the students I advise will be able to expand their imaginations and surpass the goals they set for themselves.


My goal for my students
Angel Martinez
Angel Martinez
2012 Trinity University
Serving South San Antonio High School in San Antonio

I am a graduate of a high school served by Advise TX.  I want the students at the high school where I serve to know that higher education is possible for each of them, regardless of their backgrounds.


My most exciting success
Chasity Shorts
Chasity Shorts
2012 Texas Christian University
Serving Longview High School in Longview

In the first week of school, I had a room full of students wanting my help signing up for the ACT and SAT. They had all come on their own after learning that I was available to help. They wanted to be there, and they were excited about college.


My most exciting success
Romey Imam
Romey Imam
2011 The University of Texas at Austin
Serving Ray High School in Corpus Christi

It’s really exciting when students start getting their acceptance letters. They all start talking about it, and the students who haven’t applied to college yet get into gear and apply.


How I enhance collaboration at my school
to create a college-going culture
Josh Barham
Josh Barham
2011 The University of Texas at Austin
Serving Hutto High School in Hutto

Teachers need to feel that they are part of the college-going process.  I send them information about student progress in the application process, telling them when a student is accepted to a college or wins a scholarship. I also supply teachers with college application resources that they can use to supplement regular lessons—samples of college-application essays and information about applying for financial aid.


How I enhance collaboration at my school
to create a college-going culture
April Osborne
April Osborne
2012 The University of Texas at Austin
Serving Lehman High School in Austin

I attend weekly counselor meetings, and I work with the college counselor and other college-access groups at my school. I work with teachers by giving classroom presentations on the importance of pursuing post-secondary education.

Meet all of the 2012-2013 Advise TX advisers by visiting http://www.advisetx.org/advisers.