Striving to prepare students for success upon graduation, Duncanville ISD is receiving some extra help in creating a college-bound culture. Duncanville High School is one of 120 schools across the state to receive a full-time college advisor from the Advise TX College Advising Corps. “It’s our goal to increase the number of low-income, underrepresented students attending and completing post-secondary education,” explained Duncanville High School’s new advisor Kevin Westerman.
Headquartered at the University of Texas at Austin, Advise TX also has chapters at Texas A&M University, Texas Christian University, and Trinity University. Each chapter recruits, hires, and trains their own graduates to serve as advisors in selected partner high schools. Westerman is a recent graduate of Texas A&M, and was hired in June to start training in July. “We went through six weeks of training and preparing to gain the knowledge and skills needed to be a college advisor,” commented Westerman.
According to the organization’s website, Advise TX operates under a near-peer model with advisors who are close in age to the students they serve. “I get to talk to them about all of the things that I wish I would have known when I was going through the college admission process five years ago,” said Westerman. “I applied for the job because I thought that working with high school students as they try to go to college would be a life-changing experience, and it has been so far.” The program allows for one year of full-time advising, with an option to continue on for a second year.
Back in the halls of a high school, Westerman says he’s currently helping students sign up to take the SAT and ACT tests. He’s also helping seniors get started on their college applications. “My goal is to meet with every senior at DHS and get to know him or her as a student,” commented Westerman. “I want to have an impact by increasing the number of students who apply to college and the number who attend post-secondary education. I also want to help students receive as much financial aid as possible.”