The Virginia College Advising Corps (VCAC), formerly the College Guide Program, at the University of Virginia is a groundbreaking public service program designed to increase the number of students entering and completing higher education in the Commonwealth. The VCAC model is a targeted approach that integrates recent college graduates into the secondary school to address non-academic barriers to student achievement and success. What distinguishes VCAC from other college access and support programs is the combination of five innovations that are pillars of its approach:
1. VCAC is a "near-peer" mentoring model. The program recruits recent college graduates as advisers whose backgrounds are similar to the high school students they serve. Advisers assist students and their parents or guardians with college applications, college essay writing, financial aid, ACT/SAT test preparation, transfer processes and college visits.
2. VCAC works in partnership with colleges and universities across the Commonwealth. These institutions share VCAC's commitment to increasing the numbers of low-income, first generation, and underrepresented students who succeed in postsecondary education, and they commit their own staff and resources to supporting VCAC's work.
3. VCAC provides full-time college advisers who serve the whole school, rather than a cohort of particular students. College Advisers collaborate with counselors, teachers, administrators, families and community members and function as additional staff members whose focus is singularly on enhancing a school-wide college-going culture and ensuring that students apply and enroll in colleges where they will succeed.
4. VCAC focuses on best-fit colleges. College Advisers help students identify and apply to postsecondary programs that will serve them well academically and socially--thus increasing the likelihood that these students will earn their degrees.
5. VCAC participates in a national, external evaluation conducted by Evaluation and Assessment Solutions for Education, a research group at Stanford University, to quantitatively measure outcomes and qualitative results.
Grants Awarded to University of Virginia: Virginia College Advising Corp:
May 18, 2018
over 1 year to support college advisors in postsecondary planning at high schools in Martinsville-Henry County current grant
Apr 28, 2011
over 2 years to the University of Virginia College Guide Program to place recent UVa graduates in each high school to aid in college application, FAFSA, and SAT prep processes
Mar 30, 2006
over 1 year to support the training and placement of three Guides that will provide college preparation counseling and related activities to Martinsville and Henry County youth.