Peer advocates: Leading by spreading college knowledge

The Newaygo branch of the MSU CAC College Ambassadors Program was one of the founding three programs in the state of Michigan. In 2013, the program piloted as a way to actively involve underclassmen by a peer-to-peer college advising model within the high school. The purpose of this program is to allow high school students to serve as post-secondary education advocates by engaging in peer-to-peer outreach and education, parent involvement, and public relations to promote college access and create a college-going culture.
As a first-year college adviser – I must admit – this group of students is helping me serve NHS in a greater capacity than I would by myself. I am Rocio Blanco, a first-generation Mexicana college graduate that understands the inherent difficulty of navigating the college-going process when resources are lacking; and for this reason, I am grateful to have 11 leaders assist me with spreading college knowledge at NHS. So far this school year, my college ambassadors have worked closely with me to help promote and create promotional material for events and activities such as college representative visits, college tours, College Application Week events, FAFSA events, and assisted with creating bulletin boards as well.
 
11224719_1648370285438649_7739453323539482306_nNewaygo High School College Ambassadors after the county-wide training in November.
 
Soon they will be presenting to underclassmen on topics such as the importance of taking standardized test taking seriously (especially retakes), considering dual enrollment and early college programs, and the importance of continuing education high school through classroom presentations and games, and lunchroom activities. They are most excited about reaching out to the middle school and elementary school in the coming months.  In order to accomplish all of this, we meet before school at 7:30 am sharp once a week to strategically plan and prepare for our events. 
 
I witness and am aiding these young individuals become experts on getting ready for college- and helping their peers get ready for college- as they gain leadership and mentoring skills, and learn about event planning and professionalism. There is no doubt in my mind that each of my college ambassadors exemplifies the characteristics of a leader.
 
12243548_1648370112105333_816630251151898517_nMs.B with NHS college ambassador debriefing during the debriefing  session at training
12274644_933487306738245_4720953669243659252_nHaving fun while gaining the tools to spread college knowledge
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