From the time UC Merced opened its doors, helping underrepresented students in the San Joaquin Valley has been a goal.
By joining with the College Advising Corps, the university now has a partner to help low-income and first-generation Valley students enroll and succeed in college.
The partnership will serve about 3,800 students by placing adviser fellows at Madera, Madera South, El Capitan, Atwater, Buhach Colony, Los Banos, Pacheco and Turlock high schools.
College Advising Corps uses “near-peers” — advisers who recently graduated from college and closely resemble the student populations they are advising — to walk the younger students through financial aid and college application processes. Eight in 10 adviser fellows involved in other College Advising Corps partnerships are first-generation, low-income or Pell-eligible themselves.
The adviser fellows serve two-year terms and often focus on seniors, though students of all grade levels can use their services, including providing individual academic plans, SAT and ACT registration, career workshops and individual parent meetings. The advisor fellows do not have to come from UC Merced.
"We are excited to partner with the College Advising Corps whose mission aligns with UC Merced’s Center for Educational Partnerships to provide district, student and parent-centered services that ultimately result in students from the San Joaquin Valley having the greatest number of postsecondary choices from the widest array of options upon graduation,” Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Charles Nies said.
UC Merced is the 25th American institution to join with North Carolina-based College Advising Corps, and the only new partner in 2018. University of Southern California and UC Berkeley are the only other partner schools in the state.
College Advising Corps said the partnership with UC Merced is a natural fit because of the university’s work in helping underserved students.
This partnership supports the expansion of UC Merced services to two new service regions, the Turlock and Los Banos unified school districts.
“Our daily presence will hopefully contribute to an increase in Valley students’ pursuit of a postsecondary education," Nies said.