College Advising Corps Places Counselors in High-Need Schools

Today, in first lady Michelle Obama’s final speech, she recognized Terri Tchorzynski, the American School Counselor Association’s 2017 School Counselor of the Year.

ASCA has been working with Obama through her Reach Higher initiative, which encourages high school students to study hard, graduate, and pursue higher education. The recognition ceremony, which Obama initiated last year, acknowledges high school counselors who have demonstrated leadership.

College Advising Corps


Though not affiliated with ASCA, College Advising Corps is a program of AmeriCorps, the nation’s service program in which more than 75,000 Americans engage in intensive service each year at nonprofits, public agencies, and faith-based groups across the country.

College Advising Corps partners with about 25 colleges and places highly trained college graduates–69% of whom are people of color, 32% are black–as full-time advisers in high-need schools for two years.

I spoke with Shatera Davis, a College Advising Corps adviser in a St. Louis high school, by way of e-mail.

Why were you interested in applying to the Corps?

I was interested in the Corps because although I loved my counselor in high school, she was overwhelmed with helping my entire senior class research colleges, not to mention the other components of going to college and making a final decision. The thought of providing the full experience to students appealed to me.

What have you found most challenging?

This experience has been my most rewarding and challenging yet. The hardest part has been getting to know the school and earning the trust of the students as well as the administration. We have a college and career class that the bulk of seniors take, so I started going to that class every session. I partnered with the teacher and gave presentations, and I also assisted with college applications. Eventually, I became the “go-to” person for college knowledge and the person in charge of our school’s college tours. Once the students saw that I was invested in their success they started to trust me more, take my suggestions, and listen.

With the administration, data was a big part of the trust factor. I had numbers to back up what I was doing and how it was effective.

For more information about College Advising Corps and to check out the schools from which it recruits, visit its website.