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In the Business of College Advising

D'Angelo Allen is a college adviser at Taylor High School. He has a bachelor's degree in business administration/marketing and writes about his experience serving in the AdviseMI program.

As a college student, I can honestly say I went through many struggles. As a freshman at the beginning of my journey at Madonna University, I started to create a network. I gravitated toward a few faculty members who helped me navigate my courses and the school’s campus. These faculty members became part of the reason for my success in college. But, if there had been someone in my high school to inform me about college and advise me on how to prepare, I probably would’ve had an even greater advantage.

My counselor in high school was great, but her work was split among four different grade levels and a dozen different responsibilities. This made it pretty hard for her to counsel individual students in the entire senior class. After my graduation from Madonna University, I saw the AdviseMI program as providing an opportunity for me to give back to a field where I wish more help was available when I was in high school. In my short time of service as an AmeriCorps member, I have changed. I find myself opening up to students and in return, I’ve become a great listener. This helps me communicate with students in a more transparent way while also giving them the education they need to survive at the next level.

As a professional, communication has always been one of my areas of growth. Since I’ve entered this role, my communication skills have strengthened and also had a positive affect on my personal life. I am more open to new conversations and also interacting with many new people to expand my professional network. Students can attest to the fact that I often talk about business in my office, whether it is about administrative or entrepreneurial topics. I always have fun with these conversations and use them as teaching moments. I’ve joined a few of my students in writing out plans to create a short show on our school's Instagram page; it’s about the difficulties of matriculation and also discusses business ideas. For now, it’s been postponed due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Whenever a student comes to me with postsecondary questions, I am happy to start a conversation with them. Sometimes they come to me with business-related ideas and I encourage them to pursue those as well, as long as it relates to continuing education! These conversations give me a chance to reinforce principles I know, and provide much-needed assistance to students on their postsecondary paths. They also help spark students’ questions about short and long-term goals, and are among the reasons I love this position so much!

Author: D'Angelo Allen, AdviseMI adviser 
Posted: March 31, 2020

How MCAN is Adapting in Response to COVID-19

We Are Open and Available to Serve You

MCAN prioritizes the well-being of our staff and network. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic and state of emergency caused by the novel coronavirus, staff has been given the opportunity to work virtually. However, we are continuing normal operations as much as possible. MCAN staff is still accessible during regular business hours (9 a.m.–5 p.m.) via phone, email, and other virtual means. Our team might not always be working from the office, but we are ready to serve you! Please continue to lean on us.

Events and Meetings

As you likely have heard, MCAN's 10th annual conference was postponed until Nov. 23-24. We will keep the network updated regarding upcoming events and meetings. We are evaluating the situation daily and will make decisions as needed. Future events and meetings may look and feel different than we are accustomed to. MCAN respects individuals' personal and professional decisions about event and meeting participation.


AdviseMI college advisers are doing their best to provide support to students and families, but will not be serving in school buildings at this time. If you have questions about the program's plan, please contact AdviseMI Program Director Mel Steward via email: Melissa(a)micollegeaccess.org.

Ready to Help You Move Onward!

MCAN is 100% committed to college access and attainment of Sixty by 30. There is still important work to do. In that spirit, we are tackling each day with the same energy in order to maintain momentum. As we move forward in this fluid, ever-changing environment, know that MCAN is ready to support the entire network in navigating how to accomplish our tasks under these unique circumstances.

I’m grateful to the MCAN team members for their unwavering commitment to our mission and goals. We are in this together!

Wishing you good health,

Ryan Fewins-Bliss
Executive Director

Author: Ryan Fewins-Bliss, MCAN executive director
Posted: March 17, 2020

A Non-Traditional Advising Experience

College adviser Leah Fast serves at two high schools and writes about her experience with with Relevant Academy of Eaton County — a non-traditional high school. 

AdviseMI Adviser Leah FastDuring my time as an adviser with AdviseMI, I have been serving at two schools: Maple Valley Jr./Sr. High School and Relevant Academy of Eaton County. One school is a traditional high school and the other is a non-traditional high school. While I have learned a great deal at both sites, serving at a non-traditional school has created a lasting impact on me personally, and in my work as an adviser.

On my first day at Relevant Academy of Eaton County I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect. I knew this wasn’t like my traditional high school and that it would have its own hurdles to overcome, but I had no idea how much I would enjoy serving the academy’s students. The students at Relevant Academy are some of the most incredible students I have come to know. They come from many different backgrounds, and each brings an important contribution to the table. I had to quickly understand that my own ideas and expectations of their lives turned out to be wrong. I had to understand that not every student lives in a stable home. I had to understand that some students have supportive parents, but many do not. This school, in some cases, is the only consistent part of their life.

While I understand that every school and every district is different, I grew to learn that every student is also different. You have to leave your stereotypes at the door. You have to start each conversation with a clean slate and be willing to listen and truly hear them. Once you create that bond, your belief in them turns into them believing in themselves. I walk into Relevant Academy every day with a blank slate and an open mind for each of my students. I understand that a four-year institution might not always be the best choice, but also that it might be a great choice!

Most of the students are looking to pursue a certificate or associate degree at the local community college. With that being said, some of them plan on transferring to a four-year institution to complete their bachelor’s degree. A majority of the students will work during enrollment in school and already do great with online learning. Community college is a great first step.

I am doing everything I can to help my students follow through on their goals. I have been learning more and more about skilled-trade certificate programs because those types of degrees are more exciting for some of the students at Relevant Academy. I want to make sure every student knows that I believe in them, as do their mentors (teachers), and every staff member at the academy. I also make myself available to help any student who has already graduated this school year. Relevant Academy remains a resource for students whether they are currently enrolled in the school, or graduates out in the real world.

Author: Leah Fast, AdviseMI adviser
Posted: Feb. 27, 2020

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