College advisers returning to local schools

Those who have just finished their own college experiences are some of the best to guide their slightly younger peers to higher education.

This is the mission of the Virginia College Advising Corps, reported director Joy Pugh. Recent graduates of the University of Virginia, UVA’s College at Wise and several other schools will spend the next year guiding high school students toward college.

Thirty-six graduates from 2017 and 2018 make up the corps. They will spend the next academic year in Virginia high school counseling offices, including Lancaster, Northumberland, Richmond and Westmoreland counties, working with students who might otherwise not think about higher education. The advisers help students navigate financial aid questions, arrange college visits and assist with college preparation.

“Statewide, the trend has been for postsecondary enrollment rates to remain steady; however, we see an increase in enrollment rates from our partner high schools,” said Pugh. “This amounts to thousands more low-income and first-generation students going to college who wouldn’t have without the support and assistance of a college adviser.”

The program started 13 years ago at the University of Virginia and has since expanded into a national organization that operates in 14 states…