USC College Advising Corps

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USC College Advising Corps (USC CAC)


The USC College Advising Corps places recent college graduates in high schools to serve as full-time College Advisers for two years. These College Advisers become mentors within the school setting, and are often the key resource for students to access and persist in their education beyond high school.  

  • The current counselor to student ratio in California is 609 students to 1 counselor
  • The American School Counselors Association recommends a ratio of 250 students to 1 counselor
  • Nationally, the student-to-counselor ratio is over 482:1, leaving many students with as little as 20 minutes a year with a college counselor. 

High-need students often lack the guidance and support they need to prepare for college, apply to best-fit schools and for financial aid, enroll, and and graduate.

Our District Partners

  • Alhambra Unified School District
  • El Monte Unified School District
  • Glendale Unified School District
  • Long Beach Unified School District
  • Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Lynwood Unified School District
  • Paramount Unified School District
  • West Covina Unified School District

Mission and Goal

The mission of the USC College Advising Corps is to improve college outcomes for low-income, first- generation, and underrepresented students. The goal of the program is to raise the number of California students who attend and complete college by encouraging and assisting high school students with their college searches, college applications, financial aid, and making the transition to post-secondary education. As we continue to impact college-going rates with students, we also seek to create partnerships with local districts and schools.

Our program works in high schools that have demonstrated need.

In 2018-19, USC CAC advisers served in our 41 partner schools that collectively had over 16,000 seniors.

  • 48% of graduates met minimum admission requirements for CA four-year colleges (UC/CSU)
  • 80% of students qualified for free and reduced lunch
  • 84% of students are underrepresented minorities (URM: Latinx, African American, American Indian or Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, )

In 2018-19, with almost 46,000 one-to-one meetings with over 10,600 students, our USC CAC advisers helped to achieve:

  • Over 11,100 (68% of all) seniors to submit at least one college application
  • Over 7,200 seniors to submit at least one four-year college application
  • 10,450 students to submit financial aid applications (FAFSA)
  • Over 10,000 students to be accepted into at least one college!

Our advisers help their students reach important college-related objectives and outcomes.

In our partner schools, students who met with a USC CAC adviser were:

  • 18% more likely to apply to college
  • 19% more likely to apply for financial aid (FAFSA)
  • 20% more likely to apply for a scholarship
  • 6% more likely to be accepted to college


In the fall of 2013, the USC Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice partnered with the College Advising Corps to launch the USC College Advising Corps (USC CAC). The launch, featuring only one district and three college advisers, was made possible by a seed grant from the College Advising Corps. Over the years, the program has grown to partner with eight school districts serving 36 schools and thousands of students each year. See our list of current partners on the Partner Schools page.