As high school college counselor caseloads increase, they have less time for consistent one-on-one counseling to support students with college planning. Thus, for many students – particularly those in large or under-resourced schools – the process is depersonalized, focused on simply distributing information. Drawing on narrative and ethnographic research, this paper explores a unique program that positions young people as paid college access professionals in their schools. Findings show that these students – Youth College Counselors (YCC) – make college planning a more student-centered, meaningful experience. Strategies YCCs engage with to support peers are examined to shine a light on how YCCs use their unique position inside schools to rethink college planning. YCCs resist a dominant narrative of young people, particularly those who live in marginalized communities, as objects onto which policy happens, and instead serve as school change actors. Findings suggest that high schools must create space in policy and practice to thoughtfully position students as agents of school change.
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"'Don’t Worry, I Got You. You Can Do This': A Student-Centered Approach to Reimagining College Access,"
#CritEdPol: Journal of Critical Education Policy Studies at Swarthmore College: Vol. 3
, Article 3: 26-46.
Available at: https://works.swarthmore.edu/critedpol/vol3/iss1/3