We have an impact. I think that is what I would want this letter to show.
With a large amount of resources invested into this mission, we often need to prove that there is a need and an impact created by our presence. Numbers tend to be where those who would fund us look, but the real impact comes on the individual basis.
It's the student who realizes, while having help filling out a college application, that going to college could actually be a reality for them.
It's the student whose worldview opens up after receiving a letter from a college many miles away in a place they only dreamed of visiting.
It's the parent who breaks down into tears as they see the money a FAFSA will bring their student because a family dream has just been made a reality.
It's the student who didn't take high school seriously but, with a little help and attention, finds a renewed motivation to push forward and follow their dreams.
In my opinion, no series of numbers or colorful graphs can quantify the meaning captured in these moments, and I should know because these aren't just emotional hypotheticals. These are real moments that I have seen in the time I have spent as an Advisor.
So though there are hard times (as with any job), I believe there is an impact being made by this program on a daily basis, and I believe the stories of our area's most successful people will echo my call in the years to come as the students whose experiences were described above become those successful ones.
Editor's Note: This is our final Advisor letter for this batch, but we have a few surprises to come! Stay tuned to our social media and the website to catch our next projects come to life. In fact, I believe there are many more Letters to come!
When I first started as a NiswongerCARE Advisor, I was pretty nervous. Not necessarily about the tasks of the job, but about the fact that I will have a role in students’ making important decisions about their future. Even though they don’t always realize it, the choices they make during this time in their lives are some of the most crucial ones, as those start the foundation of their future. It is important that all students, no matter their background or situation, have any and all resources that will enable them to understand the opportunities available and how it is absolutely possible to take them.
In the short time I have been a CARE advisor, I have seen so many students with much potential in a variety of fields, and being able to help them start the post-secondary process has been more rewarding than I imagined. Some students have even asked about my college experience, which I gladly tell in order to help ease their concerns and uncertainties. These students need to know that they are not alone in having fears and that it is ok to be scared as long as they do not let it stop them from pursuing their dreams. Seeing a student get excited when they realize their dream school and career is a real possibility or having a student drop in to say thank you for my help (even when I don’t feel like I did much) makes me feel like I really am making a difference, even if I am only one of many roles for someone in the end.
I have met so many students as a NiswongerCARE advisor. All of them have different ideas and goals for what they want to do after high school. I am always very impressed when I meet students that have it all figured out and have already made solid steps towards their futures. We will discuss options and scholarships available and make sure that they are aware of deadlines and such. However, what I enjoy the most is helping those students that don’t know what they want to do or their aspirations might seem out of reach. For them, this time can be very intimidating and stressful. I like to sit with a student and we will do interest inventories and personality assessments and then begin to narrow down a focus. Hopefully by the time they leave, they have a better grasp on what they want for themselves and a path is more visible to them.
There is a student at one of my schools, who I have spoken with multiple times, who has a pretty common situation. He waited too long to take school seriously. However, during his junior and senior year, he has been trying to improve and choose a career. He will admit that he was not the ideal student, and understands his GPA is not going to meet many university standards. Yet, he is not giving up and still working very hard to meet other criteria that schools look for. He is dedicating time every day to study for the ACT with the goal of bringing his score up at least six more points. He also has an impressive amount of community service and work experience that has made him grow more mature and improve his work ethic. His hard work is paying off, he has already been accepted into ETSU, and with his most recent ACT score, shouldn’t have to take remedial classes. He wants to try to get into the Bridge program at UT. Because of this, we have been working on his application essay, setting ACT goals, and spoken with graduates from UT, who have given him tips and advice. He understands the challenge and is willing to go to ETSU or another school like WSCC to show UT that he can handle the coursework. This student has high aspirations and is using his past mistakes to push himself harder. His dedication to improving himself is very inspiring and if he continues to work hard, I am confident that his dream of going to UT can become a reality one day.