by Jonique Lyles, 1st Year College Adviser at South Granville High School, October 25th, 2017
October is the time of year when the pedal hits the metal; it’s application season and students are hard at work! As an adviser I have the opportunity to help all of my students along this path, but more specifically first generation, low-income, rural students.
This time of year calls for many of my students to buckle down and complete each task required for college applications. Students are completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the Residential Determination Service (RDS), retaking the SAT or ACT, and requesting letters of recommendation. The steps they have to take to be college-ready do not stop there! Students are also applying for scholarships, sending transcripts, and most importantly – submitting college applications.
This journey has certainly been filled with many opportunities to see my students grow. We started the year with the college fair then continued on with college parent night, financial aid night, Spanish financial aid night, FAFSA Workshops, College Rep Visits and more.
As each day and step goes by, I am truly proud of each of my students and the progress they have made thus far! As my students continue to take these steps, I am glad to say I have been able to assist them every step of the way. Entering a community of students, faculty, and staff has highlighted the dynamics and importance of college access. In my short time of being an adviser, I have witnessed the quick moments, actions and words that either tilt students towards college or an alternative path. Time has shown me that various students need additional support within the school. As a new, unbiased staff member, I have the opportunity to be that person for my students. This opportunity allows me to become an advocate and support for students that may not have had previous support, for one reason or another. Many students have spoken to me of their background, issues they have faced, and more.
As each student enters my office I am gladly met with the challenge of meeting each student where they are and guiding them toward hope and the options that are still available to them. As I tackle each day, reality sets in of the work ahead for each student, but the resilience of my students has not only set them on a new path, but also ignited a fire within myself.