Program Overview

Goal: The AmeriCorps Ohio College Guides maintains that all students deserve equal access to educational opportunities. The goal of the College Guides is to ensure that students, especially typically underserved students – first generation college-going, low-income, and minority – get the information and knowledge they need and deserve to make educated decisions and plans for their future.

Need: Ohio’s educational attainment is below the national average, and in terms of rankings, is 38th in the nation. Because economic viability and quality of life are indisputably related to educational attainment, it is essential to promote educational opportunities if we wish to see both the economic state of Ohio, and ultimately, the quality of life for Ohioans, improve. Often, the barrier to pursuing education seriously (whether it’s a high school diploma, a bachelor’s degree, or anything in between) is a lack of knowledge, which is easily rectified, given the resources, will and people to do it. Problematically though, according to The American School Counselor Association, Ohio’s student-to-guidance counselor ratio is 481:1 (the national student-to-guidance counselor ratio is 479:1, and the recommended ratio is 250:1). Obviously, counselors are too often overwhelmed, causing information and motivation needed for students to pursue educational opportunities after high school to be in short supply.

Approach: The Ohio College Guides combats issues of educational access in school districts who need them the most – those with low graduation and college-going rates, but hard-working students who face the obstacles that come with the “status” of low-income, minority, or first-generation college student. Endeavoring to fill the information demand in districts where advising is in short-supply, the College Guides draw on the volunteerism and passion for service of those who know that one voice can make a difference. The Ohio College Guides places recent college graduates into high schools in order to provide a pipeline of new and current information about the college-going-process and experience, ultimately striving to be a caring adult committed to motivating students to think seriously about the plans and goals that will lead them into an opportunity-rich future. The College Guides is a corps of driven and highly-qualified professionals getting a start in education, whom students can relate with, confide in, and eventually emulate as they are guided in planning for their future and taking constructive steps toward successful completion of their goals.

As an AmeriCorps initiative, members of the Ohio College Guides undergo ample training, and are provided with valuable professional development, networking, and guidance and support with career and graduate study goals. Members serve full-time, or 1,700 hours over 11 months, and in return receive a modest living allowance, health insurance, and an Educational Award upon completion of the full-time commitment.

For the 2014-2015 academic year,  70 AmeriCorps Members are serving through the Ohio College Access Network’s College Guides initiative at the following host sites: Canton, Ohio (Stark Education Partnership); Cleveland, Ohio(College Now Greater Cleveland); Cincinnati, Ohio (Cincinnati Youth Collaborative); Columbus, Ohio (I Know I Can); Yellow Springs, Ohio (Greene County College Success Partnership); Marietta, Ohio (Connect to Success), Oberlin, Ohio (Ninde Scholars Program); Youngstown, Ohio (Mahoning Valley College Access Program); and Zanesville, Ohio (Scholarship Central).

Recruitment for the 2015-16 program year will begin in the first quarter of 2015. Check back soon for updates!

For more information about the program, please contact Bridget McFadden at 216-635-0447 or bmcfadden@collegenowgc.org.

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