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The Carolina College Advising Corps is an organization that should be celebrated every day, UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol L Folt said during a luncheon Wednesday that did just that.

Held at Top of the Hill restaurant on Franklin Street, more than 100 people – including 41 current Corps advisers; Folt, who hosted the event; Tom Ross, president of the UNC system; several N.C. legislators; Board of Trustees member Dwight Stone and Durham Mayor Bill Bell — attended the annual lunch to applaud the work of the Corps, a major public service effort of UNC-Chapel Hill and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

The Carolina College Advising Corps helps low-income and first-generation students across North Carolina find their way to colleges and universities that will serve them well.  The program hires recent UNC-Chapel Hill graduates and places them as college and financial-aid advisers in high schools statewide.  Through one-on-one advising, group workshops, and other activities, our advisers encourage students to continue their education beyond high school, help them search for colleges that are good matches for their talents and aspirations, and assist them with applications for admissions, scholarships, and financial aid.

Led by Yolanda Keith, with help from coordinators Eric Smith and Meredith Allred, the Carolina Corps last year helped 4,328 seniors submit 11,858 applications to college. Partner high schools enjoy college-enrollment rates that are as much as 13 percentage points higher than the rates at comparable schools with no adviser.

During her remarks, Folt emphasized the importance of the Corps’ work to improve the college-going rate for first-generation, low-income and under-represented North Carolina students to attend and graduate from college.

Later, Ross reminded attendees that only 26 percent of North Carolinians have a bachelor’s degree, underscoring the necessity of the Corps to prepare the state’s work force for the future.

Then Briana O’Neal, a current adviser representing high schools in Bertie and Hertford County, spoke poignantly from her own experience of being a first-generation college student with parents in the military. She noted the importance of having a solid support system for students who aspire to college and the impact of the Corps on the lives of the students she serves.

Mindy Oakley, Executive Director of the Edward M. Armfield, Sr. Foundation, a philanthropic organization which has helped support the Corps for four years, finished the event on a high note.

“We at the Armfield Foundation are so proud to support the Corps for the work this organization does for this state,’’ she said. “Whenever I bring a request for funding for the Corps before our board, the answer is always yes, yes, yes.”

For more stories and news from the Corps, please visit the website for the Carolina College Advising Corps.

By Ashley Memory, Office of Undergraduate Admissions

Published October 2, 2014