Two of the most stressful experiences many students will encounter are choosing the college they’re going to attend and selecting a career.
The Missouri College Advising Corps is a program that strives to aid Missouri’s youth in both of these life-defining decisions. The MCAC is comprised of recent MU graduates placed in high schools around the state to serve as college advisers for students.
MU is one of the founders of the National College Advising Corps. Starting with 10 founding institutions, the NCAC now has 18 members spread across 14 states and employs 321 advisers in 368 high schools. The MCAC is in its fourth year as a running program and employs 24 advisers in 25 different partner schools in Missouri.
“There were only nine advisers at first,” MCAC program head Beth Tankersley-Bankhead said. “We’re really growing, and it’s great.”
Placed in small towns and big cities alike, the college advisers are dedicated to ensuring their students find the college that’s best for them. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re pushing people into becoming the next generation of Tigers, though.
“We just come from Mizzou because it’s the flagship university of the state,” adviser Erin O’Neil said. “We try to open up their minds and introduce them to what’s best for them.”
Advisers are responsible for a variety of tasks. They are there every step of the way, meeting individually with students to help them with a variety of college preparation tasks like studying for the ACT, filling out applications and the FAFSA, picking the appropriate college and even coordinating college visits.
The program offers a unique stance in the field of college advising; advisers are hired directly after graduating college and allotted a time span of only two years for the job.
“We use a ‘Near Peer Model’ so everything is fresh in our minds,” adviser Kelly Sample said.
The students aren’t the only ones benefitting from this experience. Advisers get something out of it as well.
“I had no clue what I wanted to do after graduation,” Sample said. “I just needed a job. I got the MCAC email information in May, so I applied and set up an interview.”
O’Neil said there are other benefits coming from the position.
“I never thought I’d want to work in a high school,” O’Neil said. “It’s worth it. We’re in it for the students and because we care.”