To & Through Advising Challenge

Key Lessons From the To & Through Advising Challenge

The To & Through Advising Challenge is a project that finds NCAN supporting 20 school districts and partner organizations across the country. The goal is to change the way these organizations do business around postsecondary advising. The Challenge puts effort in four high-impact practices: 1) incorporating fit and match into advising, 2) increasing access to financial aid by driving Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion, 3) reducing the effects of summer melt, and 4) putting data-driven processes into place that are guided by data from the National Student Clearinghouse. This work was made possible by support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


In February 2020, NCAN published "The Data that Matter and the Plans that Work," a white paper profiling five of the organizations from the Advising Challenge. Find that white paper in its entirety and each of the profiles below.

The Data That Matter and the Plans that Work: New Districtwide Approaches to Student Success Beyond High School

This brief examines five school districts and partner organizations using big ideas to improve their students' postsecondary outcomes and discusses steps for replication for others who want to do the same.

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Leveraging Partnership for Districtwide Postsecondary Advising with AchieveMpls

Formed in 2002, AchieveMpls is a 501(c)(3) based in Minneapolis and is the strategic nonprofit partner of Minneapolis Public Schools. Their work focuses on leveraging the partnership of a college access program to provide districtwide support.

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How JefCoEd Created a Communitywide 'Journey' to Transform Postsecondary Pathways

Jefferson County is the second-largest school district in Alabama, serving more than 36,000 students across 57 schools. Their big idea during the Advising Challenge was to engage stakeholders in a communitywide campaign to change perceptions of what college is and can be.

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How Sending Letters Helped Sacramento's Students Find the Right College

Sacramento City USD is the 10th largest public K-12 school district in California and serves about 43,000 students across 76 campuses. Their big idea during the Advising Challenge was sending letters to students and families informing them about their best match college options.

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Harnessing the Power of NSC Data with The Partnership for Los Angeles Schools

The Partnership for Los Angeles Schools manages โ€œ18 of the most historically underserved schools in LA Unified,โ€ which enroll about 14,000 students annually. Their big idea is big idea is harnessing the power of National Student Clearinghouse data to create counselor resources and strategies for improving postsecondary fit and match for students.

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Using Peer Mentoring to Change Postsecondary Advising in Broward County

Broward County Public Schools is the second largest school system in Florida and the sixth largest in the United States. The district serves nearly 268,000 students across 241 schools . Through the Advising Challenge their big idea was adding specialized personnel and using peer mentoring to assist school counselors and improve studentsโ€™ outcomes.

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To & Through Resources

This page offers a collection of resources related to postsecondary advising, postsecondary data use, FAFSA completion strategies, and combating summer melt. NCAN will continue to update these pages!

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