Michigan College Advising Corps (MCAC)
The Michigan College Advising Corps (MCAC) is a diverse group of recent University of Michigan graduates working full-time as college advisers in under-served high schools throughout Michigan. To address the widening gap in college preparation, counseling, and programming, advisers help students navigate every aspect of the college-going process and identify their personal best fit among various post-secondary options. Additionally, they work with principals, counselors, teachers, and other college-access advocates to foster a college-going culture in their school and community. Through this work, advisers help contribute to the mission of the national College Advising Corps (CAC): to increase the number of low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students entering and completing higher education.
History of the College Advising Corps
In 2004, the University of Virginia piloted a project that placed recent college graduates in under-served high schools in the Charlottesville area as “college guides” to serve as a resource for low-income, first-generation and underrepresented high school students in need of assistance navigating the college-going process. In 2007, the project received a large grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, and the College Advising Corps was formed and moved to the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With increased funding from sources such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lumina Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and Bank of America, the program has grown to employ over 800 advisers serving 240,000 students in approximately 780 high schools in 17 states. MCAC is one of the 31 constituent programs that comprise CAC’s consortium of college and university partners.
Who are MCAC Advisors?
Following in the tradition of the AmeriCorps and Teach for America programs, MCAC recruits and trains advisers to work for one or two years following the completion of their undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan. Under this near-peer model, MCAC advisers can augment the advising skills they learn through summer training and monthly in-services with their own experiences navigating the college setting as recent undergraduates. Moreover, given that students may often feel more at ease asking for assistance from someone closer to them in age, our advisers can leverage this comfort to strengthen their understanding of students’ needs and better advocate for their long-term goals.
Given that students from under-served schools in particular do not often have adequate access to programs and services that expose them to the possibilities of a college education, our advisers’ ability to quickly establish rapport with them is even more crucial. Advisers are often many students’ entry point into the knowledge and information they need to prepare for college, and for our seniors, they serve as critical pathfinders. As seniors near graduation, our advisers not only assist them in deciding which post-secondary goals to pursue, but in finding the academic, social, and financial resources they need to make these an attainable and sustainable reality. Likewise, advisers’ passion and drive allows them to motivate students to make it to and through the finish line of senior year.
MCAC advisers do not replace professional counseling staff, but rather supplement them, serving as students’ advocates, mentors, and liaisons. Advisers facilitate programs that address a wide array of topics, including awareness of college-going opportunities, knowledge of financial aid resources and application processes, practice for personal essay writing, and other college-going processes. They make individual contact with students and families to ensure that they each exposure to the college-going process, and they facilitate connections between students and relevant support staff at the high school or college. Above all, our advisers work to ensure that every student has equitable access to the resources they need, whether at their partner high school, in their community, or beyond.
Where are MCAC Advisers?
Current MCAC partner high schools include:
- Battle Creek Central High School, Battle Creek
- César Chávez Academy High School, Detroit
- Chandler Park Academy, Harper Woods
- Eastern High School, Lansing
- Flint Southwestern Classical Academy, Flint
- Holland High School, Holland
- Jackson High School, Jackson
- Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, Detroit
- J.W. Sexton High School, Lansing
- Ottawa Hills High School, Grand Rapids
- Pontiac High School, Pontiac
- Saginaw High School, Saginaw
- Western International High School, Detroit
- Ypsilanti Community High School, Ypsilanti
For more information about MCAC:
MCAC Program Director