Currently, fewer than 50% of Alaska high school graduates promptly pursue education beyond high school. Whether this is due to a: belief it is unnecessary, perception it is out of reach, or lack of encouragement and assistance, many young Alaskans never pursue the many high skilled careers which require postsecondary education and training.
The Alaska College & Career Advising Corps (ACAC) can bridge these gaps. ACAC engages committed recent college graduates to work in high schools as near-peer mentors. ACAC guides work with counselors, school staff, families and communities to get students on track for entry into college and career training pathways. In classroom presentations, group workshops, and one-on-one, guides engage students in candid conversations about their future. They help them:
- Explore careers and develop a career plan
- Research and apply to college and postsecondary institutions
- Apply for financial aid including the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and scholarships
- Register for appropriate tests including the PSAT, SAT, ACT, and ACCUPLACER
Fresh from their own college experiences, Alaska’s College & Career Guides can easily connect with students interested in skilled careers but who otherwise might fall through the cracks. The guides’ intensive training and orientation program focuses on college access, admissions, financial aid, student services, diversity, community service, and professionalism.
ACAC is an initiative of the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education is one of 24 programs of the College Advising Corps. The creation of the ACAC program was made possible through the federal College Access Challenge Grant. The program has now transitioned to a partnership funding model that engages ACPE, the national College Advising Corps, and local contributors to support the placement of each guide.
Since inception, ACAC has served students in many Alaskan schools and districts and assisted students in developing plans and taking positive action towards the education, training and career goals. ACAC has developed multiple delivery models to increase reach to a variety of communities. Program sites for the 2016-17 year are: