What We Do

Our Program Model

Appalachian College Advising Corps places well-trained, recent college graduates as full-time college advisers in high schools throughout western North Carolina.  Advisers work to foster a college-going culture within the schools they serve.  They collaborate with administrators, support staff, and teachers to tie college-going into the life of a school and support students as they plan out their next steps after graduation.  Most importantly, advisers supplement and support, not supplant, existing high school counseling staff and college access efforts, thereby reaching more students.

Our Core Values

Grace and Humility

  • At CAC, we prioritize service to others as core to our mission. We believe that students, advisers, and communities are at the center of our work. And that listening, supporting, and learning with them are vital to address equity and advance opportunity.

Tenacity and Persistence

  • At CAC, we persevere and persist to accomplish our goals in the face of challenges and setbacks. Just as our advisers work in selfless service of our students, we commit ourselves to overcome obstacles on the journey to realize a more just and equitable education system.


  • At CAC, we make strategic decisions based on data analysis and interpretation with the goal of increasing our impact and advancing knowledge. Our focus on data will strengthen the field of college access and lead to better outcomes for our students and advisers.

Learning and Innovation

  • At CAC, we are continuously creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge. We are committed to testing and innovating in service of advancing the college access field and to learning and scaling effective practices which will empower all students.

Where We Work


Our work exists through our partnerships.  Appalachian College Advising Corps functions through three major partners; Appalachian State University (our university partner), College Advising Corps (our national nonprofit partner), and the schools and communities where our advisers serve (our school partners).  Our goal is to build upon our partnerships in western North Carolina to support students throughout our region.  Our school partners for the 2021-2022 academic year will be:

  • Alexander County
  • Alleghany County
  • Ashe County
  • Avery County
  • Burke County
  • Cherokee County
  • Clay County
  • Cleveland County
  • Graham County
  • Jackson County
  • Macon County
  • Madison County
  • Marjorie Williams Academy
  • McDowell County
  • Mitchell County
  • Rutherford County
  • Swain County
  • Transylvania County
  • Wilkes County
  • Watauga County
  • Yancey County

Near Peer Model

Our advisers can connect to the students they serve through their own lived experience.  All of our advisers have graduated within two years of the start of their service experience and, as recent graduates themselves, are closer in age and "near-peer" to the students in our partner schools.  Many of our advisers are first-generation college students, students from backgrounds underrepresented in college, and/or from western North Carolina.  Using the near peer model, our advisers can share current, real-world college knowledge with the students they serve.

Building Post-Secondary Plans

College advisers support students as they plan what they hope to do after they graduate high school.  We work to support students in finding their own best pathway.  Advisers help students identify postsecondary programs that are connected to their long-term plans and career goals and where our students can succeed.  They then support students in identifying postsecondary programs that are a good academic match for their academic interests and profile and a good fit for their financial and personal needs and interests.  We want to help all students finish the following sentence: "After high school I want to engage in postsecondary learning at  ______to learn how to ________ so that I might have the opportunity to _______ in my home community.”

Our Approach

Advisers support the whole student body to foster a college going culture.  Appalachian College Advising Corps advisers work to help students plan, prepare, apply, and pay for their post-secondary opportunities.  Through working with the school's support staff on ACT/SAT support, FAFSA assistance, college applications, and scholarships our advisers become experts on college access.  

Appalachian College Advising Corps defines college as any post-secondary pathway after graduation.  Our advisers understand that many options are available to our students as they graduate, including bachelor degree and associate degree programs, and certificates, diplomas, and apprenticeship programs.  We want to support students to find and achieve the best post-graduation pathway and opportunity that prepares students for success in their future careers.


From the Advising Corps inception at Appalachian State in 2019, our advisers have been making a positive impact in the lives of our students. Here are some highlights!

2019-2020 Impact Infographic

Impact Highlights by the Numbers

Instagram Highlights