Oh, The Places You’ll Go
Prior to the beginning of the 2021-2022 academic year, my goal was to get seniors proud to be excited about the college/military/workforce process. “No one said it would be easy, you just have to believe in yourself,” I shared when meeting one on one with any student. It could all seem so stressful at first from making sure they are creating/revising their Senior schedules, meeting graduation requirements, trying to submit college applications, FAFSA, RDS, and then maintaining coursework on top of everything- stressful/nerve-racking, right?
Well, to be honest, it’s the most exciting time for me as a first-year college adviser at Wallace Rose Hill High School. The first couple of weeks is used to my advantage by meeting with these seniors and relieving some stress and anxiety to start off their senior year. I can remember how many seniors thanked me for talking to them after they got their schedules. After those days, it was almost time for school to start. Started getting my desk/work area ready, presentations about who I was, and finally meeting and greeting the entire Class of 2022. I soon thereafter created a College Ambassador’s Club to allow students, just like them, to assist them in the process and encourage them to keep applying. The goal was to apply to more than three colleges (WHICH HAPPENED!!!).
As October 18 through 22 started to approach, I was so nervous but excited at the same time. While attending WRH, I never had a College Advising Corps adviser nor a chance to communicate with someone about the college application process but I made it known to my students that I will be there every step of the way and ready to leap into this experience with them. That week was just the best week of my college advising experience yet. I originally thought maybe 30 students were going to apply. I WAS WRONG SO WRONG AND HAD 74 STUDENTS APPLY! What an accomplishment and exciting moment, if I do say so myself.
As this year was winding down, so many students came to me excited. For what exactly you ask? It was all about their proud acceptance letters from the numerous colleges/universities they were applying for. From Appalachian State to UNC Charlotte to ECU to WSSU to NCCU and Fay State! Still as of this week, January 18, they are still coming to me with the biggest grin on their faces to tell me where they were accepted and to state. “Ms. Knowles, you helped me in so many ways and so glad you believed in me,” shared one student. I am proud to give back to the community who molded me into the individual I am today and can’t wait to lead these students to success.
As a College Advising Corps adviser, I have had the opportunity to reflect on my first-year journey, and thinking about all these successful stories my students bring to me is what motivates me to keep giving more of my time. As they leave Wallace Rose Hill, I know without a doubt they understand their purpose and that is to continue their educational journey and embrace the journey that they will endure. Also, I truly want them to understand that no piece of paper defines them and it’s important to remain true to themselves.
If you are a College Advising Corps adviser and have a story or promising practice you’d like to share, please contact Karen E. Butler, Sr. Director, Marketing & Communications. If you are a recent or soon-to-be college graduate interested in learning more about becoming a College Advising Corps adviser, please visit Becoming An Adviser.
HaLee Knowles is a first-year College Advising Corps adviser at North Carolina State University. She serves first-generation and underrepresented students attending Wallace Rose Hill High School in Teachey, North Carolina, where 74 percent of students enrolled identify as persons of color. In her role as a college adviser, HaLee empowers students to pursue their postsecondary education goals.