First-Year Adviser Reflection

By Christine PottsPCAC Headshot[1] copy

When I arrived at my first day of training for the Pennsylvania College Advising Corps, I remembered what it was like to start
as a first year student on an unfamiliar college campus. In both situations, I wondered if I could handle what was expected of me. I was so nervous about all I had to learn. However, just like my first days of college, training provided the perfect environment for forging relationships and finding support.

Each day of training, I learned not only from my Program Director, Bob Freund, and our guest speakers, but also from my fellow advisers. Our shared uncertainties created opportunities for encouragement, and our curiosities sparked one another’s interests. Training taught us details of accessibility, fit, finance, and showed us techniques for getting students and parents on board. We learned how to investigate specialty majors, how to utilize net price calculators, and we became familiar with countless acronyms of financial aid. We role-played conversations between advisers and students entering their senior year, and we were encouraged to always share what we discovered with our fellow Corps members. All of the advisers talked college access at dinner, in the dorm, and in the vans on the way to our 22 college and university visits. Similar to my first-year orientation experience at college, my knowledge and preparedness increased exponentially because training not only allowed me to learn my skills, but to live them too.

The advisers returning for their second year of service became role models of professionalism and collectedness to those of us new to the program. The communication, planning, and researching skills that they had gleaned from only one year in their schools showed me what I could go on to do and made me anxious to start making an impact.

I will be the first College Adviser to serve in my school.  My Program Director tells me that I “will be the face of the program,” so I know that my next two years will be challenging. Yet, the past four weeks have given me the tools that I need to be a confident adviser. I am equipped with information and practice, but most importantly, I am bringing the College Advising Corps experience. Training recreated my time as a student preparing for college, but also offered me a new perspective on the process that I can bring to my students. I have lived the time of newness that they’re encountering now, and I have relived it through training.

I became a College Adviser because I want to help each of my students find their best fit. Through training, I learned that achieving best fit is not only about what you do following high school graduation, but also what you do at several points in your future. I’ve found my best fit for the next two years, and I cannot wait to spend that time helping students to find theirs.

Christine Potts is a first-year adviser at Franklin & Marshall College serving Greater Nanticoke Area High School.