Empowering Students 

Andrea Brown, first-year adviser within Missouri College Advising Corps, serves at Ruskin High School. For her, every day brings new challenges and rewards as she guides students through the maze of post-graduation possibilities.

Andrea Brown, a recent University of Missouri graduate, serves in Kansas City, Missouri, as a Missouri College Adviser.  

The Missouri College Advising Corps is a program that hires recent graduates to serve in 48 partner high schools across Missouri to empower Missouri students to go to college and succeed. 

Brown has a deep enjoyment for her role, finding it both challenging and enriching. She particularly appreciates serving at Ruskin High School, her alma mater, seeing it as a fulfilling, full-circle experience.  

Ultimately, the most rewarding aspect for Brown is the students themselves, who often inspire and bring her joy.  

Read on for a Q & A with Brown. 

How have you enjoyed being an adviser?  

I really enjoyed it. The work is challenging, but with every challenge comes a lesson. MCAC encourages us to take advantage of the professional development opportunities, so that after we serve, we have the necessary tools to be successful. I enjoy serving at Ruskin High School because it is the high school that I graduated from. It’s a full-circle moment to be able to serve with kids with similar backgrounds. 

What does an average day look like for you? 

An average day for me is very busy. I typically see about 10 to 15 students a day and we meet one-on-one. However, every day can look different. I might be doing one-on-one meetings one day and the next, I might be hosting and planning workshops and events on college related activities. For example, we have the College Application Blitz, where students can come together and work on college applications, complete scholarships or fill out their FAFSA. Other days, I typically input all that information within our data system, because we track every college application submission and parent we speak to.  

How are you preparing students for life beyond high school?  

Typically, we like to encourage students to look at all different types of career pathways. Whether they want to attend a community college, four-year college or university, join the military or attend trade school, we’d like to expose them to all avenues. Some students might not see it as a possibility because of financial obstacles or just not knowing that you have opportunities to attend college if you have the right GPA or the ACT scores. We also plan Career Week, and during this time, we might have students work on their resumes and learn how to interview. 

How did your MCAC training prepare you to be your best for the students you work with?  

I truly enjoy the training and believe that it is the best training I’ve ever received from any job so far. The program brings in different speakers to let us know how to interact with students from different backgrounds. Students may be first generation, may have parents who are immigrants or may be experiencing homelessness. Trainers also inform us of new items that we need to be aware of like the recent FAFSA changes.  We are also trained to teach students how to read their financial aid and award letters. 

It also provides professional development opportunities. We went to San Diego for a conference and met with advisers from all over the country and learned how they advise their students which provides inspiration for how we may want to bring those tips and advice back to our high schools.  

What has been the most rewarding aspect of serving at Ruskin High School?   

The students are the most rewarding aspect, they’re funny and inspiring.  I see myself in a lot of them because I attended Ruskin High School and have shared similar experiences. I had an MCAC adviser during high school too, and she exposed me to many different opportunities. I probably wouldn’t be where I’m now if it wasn’t for her. So, I like to think about my own situation and make sure that I’m inspiring every student that I work with in the same way that I was.