College Advisers work in high schools across Pennsylvania and in Camden, New Jersey. They work alongside school counselors, teachers, administrators, community organizations, and college representatives to build a culture of postsecondary success in partner high schools. Advisers guide high school students through the career exploration, college application, postsecondary training, and financial aid processes.
With a "to and through" emphasis, Advisers operate with students' long-term goals in mind. Advisers seek to provide students and families with essential and broad information about postsecondary opportunities, combined with offering relentless support for the student and his or her goals.
All new Advisers undergo an intensive month-long training program in the summer before their service in school begins, to prepare them to identify and assist future college students. Advisers split their time between the classroom and the road, spending time learning from college professors, community-based professionals, teachers, and school administrators. Then, they head out across Pennsylvania to visit postsecondary institutions from Erie to Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. Halfway through the training, returning second-year advisers join the first-years. The second-years share their knowledge gained from a year of college advising.
Learning in the classroom and then hearing about college opportunities on college campuses gives the Advisers a full picture of the world of college access and opportunity in Pennsylvania. PCAC promotes a variety of postsecondary opportunities. During training, Advisers visit traditional four-year colleges as well as two year technological and trade schools. They visit both public and private institutions and community colleges. Advisers form a broad understanding of how many opportunities are available to high school students.
In addition to the summer training, PCAC brings advisers back to Lancaster, PA on a monthly basis for professional development. These sessions allow the Advisers to delve into timely topics in financial aid and college admissions, and to share challenges and best practices with the larger group.
Finally, Advisers participate in an annual training with the greater College Advising Corps. This training brings together the hundreds of College Advisers from across the region, allowing Advisers to build communities of support in their work, and to learn how to excel in their jobs.