According to a report by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the following facts about college counseling are proven:
- “Counselors, when consistently and frequently available and allowed to provide direct services to students and parents, can have a positive impact on students’ aspirations, achievements, and financial knowledge.”
- “Schools that have improved counseling and college counseling have increased college access for low-income, rural, and urban students, as well as students of color.”
- “If counselors were available to begin actively supporting students and their families in middle school in preparing for college … students’ chances of enrolling in a four-year college would increase.”
- “Increasing the numbers of counselors available and the amount of time they devote to college advising tasks is one of the top three reforms needed to improve college access.”
The reality, however, is that the national counselor to low-income student is 1:1000, making these recommendations difficult to implement. Given this research, and the reality of the counselor to student ratio, The College Initiative supplements our partner schools’ existing services with college access programming and outreach, helping to carry out the recommendations from the National Association of College Counseling listed above. Working alongside administrative staff, teachers, and guidance counselors, our team works to strengthen the college counseling programs in our partner schools by reducing the counselor to student ratio in our partner schools; creating more consistent and frequent college guidance conversations with students and their families; and by increasing the amount of time each student has with a college counseling mentor.
Members of our program team are assigned to one of our partner schools and support a smaller group of students and their families. Through weekly assignments, one-on-one in-person check-ins, emails and text communications, and workshops, our team guides students at our partner schools and their families through all aspects of college preparation and success. Each member of our programs team has a caseload of 200 students, 25 per grade across the 9th through 12th spectrum, across two partner schools. Through the implementation of a comprehensive curriculum, workshops, and one-on-one counseling conversations, our team provides college counseling to students and their families by exploring the following aspects of the college-going process: aspiration, preparation, application, transition, and graduation.