College Advising Corps (CAC) could well be likened to the "Teach for America" of college advising. In Texas, five partner institutions recruit highly talented recent graduates, provide them with six weeks of intensive training, and provide supervision and professional development for college advisers throughout the year.
Advisers are then placed in Texas high schools with a high proportion of historically underserved—students. These highly trained, near-peer advisers work full time and have the singular mission of building a college-going culture and helping high school students find the best fit college for their career aspirations and academic preparation. This includes assistance with ACT, SAT and college application fee waivers, college exploration, college application, FAFSA completion and submission, and--when college acceptance letters arrive—helping students understand the different financial aid packages they are offered.
CAC and Advise TX
CAC program was founded in 2006 and now has 23 partner institutions in over 14 states. Texas launched with a pilot of 15 advisers in 2010 and scaled the next year to 120. In 2011-2012 Texas Advisers served in 120 schools, in 60 Districts, serving 228,979 students, including 49,308 seniors. Of these, 18% were African American, 72% Hispanic, 8% White, and 2% Other ethnicity. Currently, Advisers are serving in 125 schools with a combined total student population of over 234,000.
"Best Fit" Advising
Advisers are not recruiters for their alma mater and employer. Their mission is to help high school students enroll in the post-secondary option that is the best fit—where they will be most likely to succeed and persist to degree or meaningful credential—be it a four-year university, two-year college, or technical school.
During their training, advisers learn about colleges and universities across the state, as well as certificate programs and associates degrees available in the geographic regions where they will serve. They visit community colleges in their area soon after assignment to their school. Advisers encourage students to apply to three or more institutions so they still have multiple options if their first choice does not accept them or offers a financial assistance package that is insufficient to make that institution a viable option.