Become a Host Site


New High School Partnerships Announced: January 20th, 2023
Adviser Candidate Interviews: March – May 2023
College Adviser Training: July 2023
Adviser reports to High School Placement: Early August 2023

VCAC Host Site Application


High School Partnership Expectations

VCAC is seeking response from high school leadership (central office administrators, principals, and school counselors) who are committed to a systemic team approach to college access. Successful applicants will share VCAC’s long-term goal of building a college-going culture from an asset-based framework. For the 2023-2024 academic year, VCAC expects to have up to 10 new host sites available. New partner high schools will be selected via a response to this application.

VCAC has secured investment commitment from College Advising Corps, AmeriCorps, the University of Virginia, Virginia529, and other funding partners to sustain the program over multiple years. By braiding together funding from multiple sources, the program does not cause a financial strain on any one organization. New sites will receive VCAC services for two years at no cost. Starting in year three local match funding for the adviser position is required. These funds can be provided by any of the following sources: a philanthropic entity such as a community foundation, a corporation/business, a local government, an individual or group of individuals, the school division, or any combination. The VCAC executive director will meet with division staff on specifics and provide support regarding identifying and securing funding.  

Selection Process

Final decisions regarding site selection will be based on the information provided in your application, the level of need communicated in relevant metrics, and participation in a meeting with VCAC central staff to determine site fit and viability. Schools with a senior class of under 100 students are encouraged to apply alongside a second school of equal or smaller class size that is geographically close so that they can share a single adviser. In 2022-2023, 4 VCAC advisers share their time between two schools.

Program Context, History, and Mission

VCAC is committed to increasing the number of low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented high school students who enter and complete higher education. Postsecondary educational opportunity and attainment are critical to a just and equitable society, strong economy, and healthy communities. Since 2005, VCAC has embedded recent college graduates in high schools throughout the Commonwealth to work alongside school counselors on college and career readiness. These near-peer college advisers assist high school students and their families with college searches, essay writing, SAT/ACT prep, college applications, FAFSA completion, scholarship searches, college visits, and successfully transitioning to post-secondary education. Where school counselors are overstretched, college advisers serve as a capacity builder and a support in partnership with the high school counseling staff.

College advisers serve full-time in their placement sites for two years. They become mentors within the school setting and are often the key person ensuring that students persist in their education beyond high school. In 2022-2023, 55 advisers are serving 59 partner high schools. The program became the model for the national College Advising Corps, now present in 19 states and over 800 high schools.

Virginia College Advising Corps is a joint venture of the University of Virginia and College Advising Corps, and is an AmeriCorps program. Our service area is geographically diverse, including both rural and urban districts.

Program Model
  1. Near-peer advisers: VCAC is a "near-peer" mentoring model. The program recruits recent college graduates who are near in age and have similar backgrounds to the high school students they serve.

  2. Well-trained advisers: VCAC college advisers attend a comprehensive pre-service training program before entering their school sites, as well as ongoing in-service training throughout the program year, continuously learning and sharing best practices.

  3. Whole school approach: VCAC college advisers serve the whole school, rather than a cohort of particular students, in order to foster a school-wide college-going culture. Postsecondary education is a prerequisite to success in a knowledge-based economy, and every student deserves the opportunity to advance in their education.

  4. Fit and Match advising: VCAC focuses on best-fit and best-match colleges. College advisers help students identify and apply to postsecondary programs that will serve them well academically and socially - thus increasing the likelihood that these students will earn their degrees.  (VCAC uses the term “college” to refer to the attainment of valuable postsecondary credentials beyond high school, including professional/technical certificates and academic degrees.)

  5. Data and Evaluation: VCAC participates in a national, external evaluation conducted by College Advising Corps, to quantitatively measure outcomes and qualitative results.

VCAC Results
  • Over time VCAC partner high schools see an average increase in post-secondary enrollment anywhere between 2 and 17 percentage points, with a program average of 9 percentage points.
  • VCAC erases the achievement gap for low-income and underrepresented students in key college-going milestones such as submission of a college application and FAFSA completion.
  • Students served by VCAC persist into their second year of college at a higher rate (75%) than the national average (69%).

VCAC has adopted the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia’s (SCHEV’s) goal to be the “Best State for Education” and overall target of 70% educational attainment of all 25 to 64-year old working-aged Virginians by the year 2030.