Among the many career fair events held last Wednesday, Bristol Day and Jacqueline Ruhland, co-directors of the AdviseMI program of the Michigan College Access Network, held an informative session on a special job opportunity for graduates of Kalamazoo College.
Noting that only 38 percent of Michigan residents hold college degrees, the Michigan College Access Network seeks to assist more students in their work to “pursue postsecondary education” by “coordinating dialogue initiatives between K-12 schools and higher education.”
The two co-directors addressed the fact that the state of Michigan had no “college agency,” a state body to promote the perusal of higher education in the state of Michigan, and students were “subsequently disadvantaged.”
The network emphasizes that “any postsecondary credential is important”—be it welding certification or an Associate’s Degree—but notes that “college is a public good” explained Ruhland.
Spread across Michigan are 40 “well-trained recently college graduates [who are] dedicated college advisers. [They] serve alongside existing school counselors as trained resources, mentors, and champions for higher education” describes a handout provided by the co-directors.
In addition to the 40 advisers who MCAN supplies—hired from colleges all across the state—Michigan State University contributes 31 and the University of Michigan another 12.
“High school students need a young fresh face to [spur them on]” Day said, with Ruhland continuing to explain that advisers are tasked with “changing the [school] culture” but aren’t responsible for anything “social-emotional.”
By acting solely as academic advisers to provide educational guidance to high school students, advisers complement high school counselors and meet one-on-one with students. Advisers rely on data tracking and analysis to demonstrate their effectiveness in motivating students to apply to and possibly later attend college.
Advisers become AmeriCorps members, granting them access to alumni resources, and receive double the normal AmeriCorps stipend, a financial encouragement for advisers to continue pursuing graduate school upon completion of their year with MCAN.
Students interested in filling this position or pursuing careers in education can find opportunities on www.micollegeaccess.org.