A New College-Advising Pilot Program to Support Students

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The College Board’s Access to Opportunity™ (A2O™) program identifies and breaks down barriers that prevent students—particularly low-income students, first-generation college students, rural students, and students of color—from applying to and enrolling in colleges that are their best academic, social, and financial fit. Our mission is to help all students make the most of the opportunities they’ve earned.

In early August, a group of approximately 6,000 students in the class of 2018 will begin receiving invitations from the College Board’s Access to Opportunity program to participate in an initiative to connect them to virtual advisers who can help them navigate the college application and financial aid processes. Students invited to participate in the pilot are high achieving—their scores are in the top 10th percentile nationally on the PSAT/NMSQT® —and SAT but they may come from a low-income household.

 

The advisers for this initiative are being provided by our partner, the College Advising Corps, and are sponsored through the generous support of Bloomberg Philanthropies. The College Advising Corps is a nationally recognized non-profit organization that trains recent college graduates to serve as near-peer college advisers, to assist students and their families through the complex college-going process. Through their virtual advising mode, advisers are available by phone, email, chat, and text messaging to answer student questions. Students in the pilot will have access to their advisers through their senior year of high school and can reach out to them to discuss college academics, campus life, and more.

As part of this program, the advisers will help students navigate the college application and financial aid processes by:​

  • Discussing a college application plan with the student and their parent or guardian
  • Checking your student’s eligibility for programs that reduce college application costs
  • Reviewing their admission and scholarship essays and developing an organizational plan to keep up with deadlines
  • Helping students and families complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and identifying scholarships they are eligible for
  • Creating flexible schedules to be available outside of normal school hours

This initiative is designed to supplement—not replace—the important work that you and other counselors are already doing, thereby joining forces. We are encouraging students who take advantage of this opportunity to share their invitation letter and adviser's contact information with you. College Advising Corps advisers are eager to work alongside you to support students in the pilot. Please reach out to the advisers directly to discuss how they can support the work you are doing with your students.

Students will receive follow-up messages with additional information about their College Advising Corps adviser and specific college planning milestones over the coming months. Students can opt out from this program at any point.

For questions about this initiative, contact us at access@collegeboard.org.

Meet the 2017-2018 virtual advisers.