THCF Grant Recipient Helps Eastern Jackson County Students Plan For College

The Missouri College Advising Corp (MCAC) is hoping to change the life of Missouri students, one counselor at a time. The program employs recent college graduates to act as near-peer advisors in over forty partner high schools across the state with the goal of making college readiness and accessibility available to one-hundred percent of the senior class.

MCAC is one of the many programs serving the Eastern Jackson County region that has received funding from the our Competitive Grants Program for the last seven years. The program currently operates in five Eastern Jackson County area high schools. In 2017 alone, 1,500 high school seniors from Fort Osage, Raytown, Raytown South, Van Horn, and William Chrisman benefited from the counseling services MCAC offers.

Jerron Johnson, the Program Director for MCAC, notes that this program is made possible thanks to the generosity of grantmakers. The program is provided to each of the participating high schools at no cost to students, faculty, or parents. This allows counselors to focus fully on the students needs.

“We provide this program to the high schools free of cost and grants are what allow us to do that. The money we receive from grants not only supports our program, but allows us to expand to more high schools across the state.”

Advisors are equipped to help students navigate college-prep exams, FAFSA and financial aid, and the application process. And for some advisors, the program hits close to home.

Peyton Covert, an MCAC advisor and graduate from the University of Missouri - Columbia, is a first-generation college student herself. After hearing about the program while in her final year at Mizzou, Peyton decided she wanted to get involved with MCAC and help students who were in her shoes.

“Being a first generation college student myself, I thought it would be a really good fit. I wanted to help those students who were so much like myself. The most rewarding part is seeing them at graduation and seeing what their next step is.”

For many students, like Fort Osage Senior Alexis Cook, the program was there for them when their plans for college changed. Alexis had planned on going to law school until her senior year when she found herself pulled toward social work and nonprofit management. Her counselor helped her navigate this sudden change in her plans and answered questions that Alexis had about applying for college.

“I wanted to study criminology and practical law, but that all changed by my senior year. My college advisor helped me decide which university would be the best fit for the field I wanted to go into. And she asked me questions that I hadn’t thought about before, questions that really needed to be answered. It made me think about my future and really helped me decide what I was going to do with my college plans.”

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