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Faculty and Staff

A Day in the Life as a Member of NC State’s College Advising Corps

The NC State College Advising Corps gives a glimpse at the work their college advisers do every day, particularly during the pandemic this year.

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By the NC State College Advising Corps staff

The College Advising Corps “works to increase the number of low-income, first-generation college and underrepresented high school students who enter and complete higher education.” This call to action moves each and every adviser in the NC State College Advising Corps (NC State CAC). Every day we experience our students’ resiliency, strength, and courage as they face a reality divided by politics, oppression and fear. 

Our work as college advisers centers around supporting our students in realizing their post-secondary plans. Specifically, we work with students to navigate the college process, and we work to reinforce college-going cultures in the communities where we work. 

What does that mean? What does that look like? 

There is no single answer. At Franklinton High School in Franklin County, N.C., Ally Pearsall helps her school put on the Franklinton Showcase, a fair where students and families can learn more about the school and what clubs and sports there are at the school. It also helps students and families connect with local businesses, colleges and military recruiters. This fantastic event, despite the pandemic, is still at the forefront of Pearsall’s mind this semester. She plans to create virtual meeting links that families and students can tune in to for the same fair-like experience. 

At East Bladen High School in Bladen County, N.C., adviser Aliaha Austin gives her students a hands-on approach to scholarship and college application assistance. Last January, students could stay an hour after school every Tuesday to get in-person assistance on any part of the college process. This year, she is planning to host virtual office hours during which students can get the same hands-on support while meeting their application deadlines. 

Adviser Cindy Cortez hosted a community college fair last year in Duplin County, N.C. She had several local community colleges come out to East Duplin High School to connect with students. This year, she has been hard at work organizing virtual visits with those community colleges to ensure that her students have all of the necessary information to make informed decisions.

These shifted efforts led to new initiatives in the way of College Application Week and the opening of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA Nights turned into Drive-In FAFSA events using school parking lots and hotspots. College Application Nights transitioned to individualized appointment times after school, where students could get one-on-one support through their applications.

The pandemic has indeed reimagined how we advise and support our students. Our once in-person events are now primarily virtual. Career and college fairs have turned into video meetings. But that doesn’t mean that the work we do has lost its significance. Our students still need assistance working through the college process; our students still need strong advocates who believe in their goals, who believe in their success, and who believe in them as rising leaders in our society. 

As the world adjusted to life in the virtual space, our Corps took bold steps to bring new ideas and creativity to the college-process. The NC State CAC continues to carve out space for our students to succeed, and we cannot do that vital work without the support of the donations that you and many others have so generously offered. If you are not currently a donor, and would like to become one, please visit our website at