College access mentoring requires specific skills and knowledge that are rarely, if ever, formally taught.  The Ayers Institute College Access Project (CAP) is a series of courses that provide innovative professional learning tool for any college access professional.  Our goal is to build a cohort of college access leaders across the state of Tennessee, equipped with the tools to be agents of change in their schools and communities.

This strand provides participants with the knowledge and tools needed to coach middle and high school students through the college admissions process. Course material includes information and learning activities to understand youth development, the role of non-cognitive skills such as grit in navigating college access and success, advising students early in high school regarding the role of grade point average and standardized testing in the admissions process, as well as providing counseling to higher-need students. An emphasis is placed on best practices for serving low-income, first-generation students and special student populations such as military-connected youth and homeless youth are also addressed.  

This strand equips participants with the knowledge and tools needed to make sound ethical decisions when considering a variety of potential situations as they work with young people on college access and success. Course material includes information on adopting a coaching mindset and guarding against personal bias in order to establish a transformational relationship with students, upholding confidentiality, applying legal and professional considerations to interactions, and promoting equity.

This strand equips participants with the knowledge and tools needed to deepen the college-going culture within their school or organization. Course material includes information on establishing a baseline and goals using quantitative and qualitative data, involving internal and external stakeholders in college-going culture, and sustaining and growing college-going culture over the long term, including overcoming barriers that may arise.

This is the College Admissions Process strand of the College Access Project developed by the Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning & Innovation in partnership with the Tennessee College Access and Success Network.

This strand provides college counselors with information and resources needed to guide students through the college admissions process. 

In this course, participants will:

  • Connect with other college access counselors
  • Learn about available resources
  • Consider the steps in the college admissions process
  • Build a portfolio of useful tools