Two new college advisers are being welcomed this week at Bullock Creek, Academic and Career Education Academy (ACEA), Meridian, and Coleman High Schools, through Michigan College Access Network’s new program, AdviseMI. John Bonello and Brian Cone are part of the new college advising program aimed at helping more students navigate the process of applying to colleges and understanding how to apply for financial aid. John will work alongside the counselors at Bullock Creek and ACEA, and Brian will work with the counselors at Meridian and Coleman.
“We are excited to have a dedicated college adviser join us in helping our students prepare for higher education,” said Mary Pitchford, Superintendent of Coleman Community Schools. “Brian’s assistance, working collaboratively with our counselor and staff, will greatly support our college readiness efforts so that all of our students make it successfully through the college-going process.”
The Midland County schools were selected as four of 50 high schools to join Michigan College Access Network’s program, AdviseMI, which seeks to help more Michigan students pursue postsecondary education. AdviseMI places recent college graduates from 12 colleges and universities into high schools to serve as college advisers, working alongside counselors and other school staff to support students as they make the transition from high school to postsecondary education. Schools were selected with a high percent of low-income, first generation college-going or students of color.
“Almost all of the students at ACEA are first generation college-going and low-income students,” said Michelle Zielinski, principal at ACEA. “We’re pleased to have an adviser who is a recent graduate of a university and understands the unique challenges for this population of students; John can be a catalyst to inspire and guide our students through the postsecondary enrollment process.”
The Midland County high schools’ new college advisers, John and Brian, are two of 40 recently hired college advisers. In July, the advisers attended an intensive four-week training period, ensuring they are ready to advise students beginning in September. Advisers will help students navigate the complex college exploration process, retake college admissions tests, apply to colleges, complete the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), secure financial aid and enroll in a postsecondary institution.
“The college adviser has a huge impact in our ability to counsel students,” said Jennifer Brown, a counselor at Bullock Creek High School. “With a dedicated college adviser assisting us, as counselors, we have more time to work directly with students to ensure they are taking the steps necessary to graduate high school and prepare for college.”
The advisers are recent graduates of 12 partner colleges including: Alma College, Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, Madonna University, Oakland University, Saginaw Valley State University, University of Michigan-Dearborn, University of Michigan-Flint, Wayne State University and Western Michigan University.
High schools were selected through a competitive review selection process. The four Midland County schools worked with Valerie Gerhart, coordinator of the Midland County Career & College Access Network (MCCAN), in completing their applications for this program. MCCAN is part of the Midland Area Community Foundation. To see the complete list of partner high schools and colleges, and to learn more about the new program, visit www.micollegeaccess.org/statewide-initiatives/advisemi.