A good advisor can mean the difference between going to college or not. In the words of Nicholas Bryant, a high school senior in Duplin County, “If it wasn’t for [my advisor], I probably wouldn’t have gone to college anywhere.”
College Advising Corps (CAC) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to get more underserved students into college. They embed college advisors on high school campuses across North Carolina, focusing on communities with a history of low postsecondary attainment.
According to CAC, students who work with one of their advisors are 30% more likely to apply for college and 24% more likely to get accepted. By 2025, they have set a goal of 1,000,000 of their students, who otherwise would not have pursued postsecondary education, enrolling in college or university.
We visited a few high schools throughout the state to learn more about where students were headed for higher education and what role their advisors played in that process. What we found were celebrations — of education, of college, and of relationships.
Most people are familiar with athletic signing days, where high-profile athletes announce which college they’re going to attend. At the end of the year, CAC hosts college decision days with a similar premise. Students have the opportunity to celebrate where they’ll continue their academic career.
Whether they were signing their names and listing their future college or workplace, watching it scroll on a screen, or holding signs boasting their future destinations, students were proud to announce their next steps in life.
It was noteworthy that most students at high schools we visited were choosing to attend community college. When asked why, they said the community colleges had the classes or programs they were looking for, and they wanted to save some money.