Advice to CAC Advisers from a College Counselor

Sarah Gomez with CAC Adviser Preston Kilgor

Sarah Gomez with CAC Adviser Preston Kilgore

Advice to CAC Advisers from a College Counselor

Sarah Gomez, the Managing Director of KIPP Through College at KIPP DuBois Collegiate Academy in Philadelphia, has a team with the knowledge and skills to inspire students to pursue higher education. Yet, finding the time to assist students in need is a challenge.

“Sometimes, a conversation with a student about a particular application can take five minutes,” she says. “Other times, it takes 50 minutes. It is unpredictable.”

To deal with this, Gomez believes the support from a College Advising Corps adviser is a tremendous asset to her school’s counseling services. She has enjoyed the process of on-boarding a CAC adviser who is integral to this work.

“Students just don’t do what you tell them.It takes time and hands-on experience to learn the triggers that will motivate students to take action.”

Therefore, Gomez suggests that advisers heed the following tips:

1) Realize that on-boarding is a process. 

“It doesn’t just take one day or one week to learn the ropes. It will take months of observation and asking questions before you really get an understanding of what is going on in a new workplace. Make sure in those first few months that you are taking in as much information as possible and taking time to step back and assimilate what you are learning at your site with what you learned through CAC. Then, go back and ask your next set of questions.”

2) Make relationships as quickly as possible by putting yourself out there.

“Don’t just ask questions about how things work to your direct supervisor. Ask these questions to other counselors or support staff, senior or junior teachers, grade level chairs, etc.  Find ways to build relationships on a person-to-person level with others around you; this will help when you need to ask something of someone.”

3) Set up a regular meeting with your direct supervisor and ensure they happen. 

“In fact, at first you may want to set up a quick daily check-in. Regular check-ins not only help you clarify how to complete tasks, they also help ensure that items you are working on in a given week are the most useful and the most pressing. Prepare yourself for the meeting with updates on what you’ve done on tasks previously assigned and questions about what is upcoming.”