College success coach Gao Nou Xiong, a 2023 graduate of St. Cloud State University, serves with College Possible Minnesota because she is passionate about creating access to higher education and opportunities for students, particularly those facing socio-economic barriers. To her, the idea of being part of an organization dedicated to coaching and supporting students on their journey to college resonated deeply and aligned with her personal values and aspirations. According to Gao Nou, this motivation stems from a belief that “education is a powerful equalizer, and every student deserves a fair chance to reach their full potential.”
As a coach at College Possible, Gao Nou works with a small cohort of college students at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, which means she can connect with them frequently and deeply. One of her most memorable experiences involved working closely with a second-year student named Sarah. Sarah was a first-generation college student facing challenges navigating her first year at a university. Midway through Sarah’s first semester of college, she expressed that she was overwhelmed and wanted to possibly withdraw from one of her courses. Gao Nou offered not only academic support but also a reassuring voice. Together, Sarah and Gao Nou developed a plan that included accessing tutoring resources on campus and forming a study group with students in that class. Words of encouragement and strategic advice empowered Sarah to persevere. As the semester progressed, Sarah’s confidence grew. With Gao Nou’s support and guidance, Sarah was able to explore extracurricular activities, connect with faculty mentors, and tap into resources like her school’s career center.
“Being a college coach serves an important purpose of supporting students academically, while also providing emotional and motivational support systems” says Gao Nou. “Emotional and motivational support systems are crucial for a student’s college journey. College can be overwhelming, and students may face moments of self-doubt, stress, or uncertainty. Becoming a College Possible coach allowed me to provide reassurance, and motivational guidance to help students like Sarah overcome obstacles and stay focused on their goals.”
A stronger Minnesota begins with college equity. If College Possible didn’t exist, countless students like Sarah might miss the opportunity for the guidance and resources they need to navigate their college journey to academic success. “This organization plays a crucial role in bridging gaps and ensuring that students, regardless of their background, have the support system required to access higher education,” says Gao Nou. College Possible is essential for promoting equity and breaking down barriers that could prevent intelligent students from pursuing their educational aspirations. The organization’s existence is founded on the belief that education is a fundamental right and a key driver in achieving equality and success in society.
Would you like to support students like Sarah and coaches like Gao Nou? Make a donation today to help support students when unforeseen challenges arise.