The Missouri College Advising Corps (MCAC) recruits, trains and places recent graduates from any undergraduate institution to serve as full-time college advisers in Missouri high schools that have high percentages of low-income, underrepresented and first-generation-college students at risk of not going to college. Advisers are often from backgrounds and schools similar to the high school students they are serving. They guide students – and their families – through college planning, preparation, application and financial aid processes. Advisers help students find their “best fit” post-secondary option – whether technical, two-year, four-year, public or private – and they help provide students with the knowledge and tools to persist and graduate from college. MCAC is one of 25 partner programs in 14 states with the National College Advising Corps – and one of 10 inaugural members. In 2008, MCAC placed its first college advisers in seven high schools. Now in its 11th year, MCAC serves 48 partner schools throughout Missouri.
MCAC College Advisers will:
- Meet one-on-one and in small groups with students, and intensively with seniors to help them research and identify multiple best-fit postsecondary institutions;
- Make classroom or workshop presentations focused on the college planning, admissions and financing processes and advise and provide information to family members;
- Organize campus tours to a variety of colleges and universities so that students can envision themselves as a college student and determine what type of institution best suits their needs. Tours include students in grades 9-12;
- Organize campus rep visits and ensure that students participate;
- Assist with FAFSA completion so that students meet deadlines to qualify for financial aid and scholarships;
- Lead ACT preparation sessions; help qualifying students arrange for registration fee waivers; and assist with ACT registration;
- Help students complete admissions and scholarship applications and review admissions essays; Advise family members;
- Organize evening and weekend college planning workshops, focusing on financial literacy and budgeting-for-college workshops for students and their parents;
- Conduct early college awareness activities in 7th and 8th grade classrooms;
- Organize events that celebrate college-going (e.g., May 1 Decision Day, Wear Your College Colors Day);
- Organize college fairs at the schools and take students to local college fairs.