According to state reports from the Washington Student Achievement Council, direct college enrollment rates to four-year universities and colleges fell across the state to only 31 percent during the 2021 school year. “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated challenges and gaps that first generation students, students of color, and students from under-resourced communities were already facing,” says Tim Tran, a College Possible Washington board member. “During online learning, the academic gaps between students from affluent communities and students from under-resourced communities widened.”
At College Possible Washington, near-peer coaches help narrow the college graduation gap for Seattle and South King County high school students, starting in the students’ junior year in high school and following them wherever they go to college. Let’s dive into some unique benefits of AmeriCorps service at the Washington site, and see how College Possible Washington coaches spend their time in and outside of their service hours.
Enjoy an AmeriCorps service year empowering college opportunity
College Possible Washington offers AmeriCorps service positions supporting both high school and college students to and through college; these roles are called college access and success coaches. Running August through June, this service term averages 40 hours per week, with every Friday devoted to professional development for coaches.
As a college access coach, you work with an assigned cohort of students at various partner high schools in Seattle and throughout South King County. Your coaching runs Monday through Thursday and may include in-person support, tech-connected support, or both. During a typical school week, you’ll manage day-to-day interactions with students while logging student engagement data into Salesforce to track student progress. Time with students is spent helping them navigate key college milestones: college selection, test prep, applications, and financial aid.
If you’re selected to serve as a college success coach, you’ll support a cohort of college students to stay on track through degree completion – typically with students spanning multiple universities and colleges. In this role, you’ll help students navigate through that tough first year by helping them find study groups, directing them to campus and community resources, and strengthening their time-management and budgeting skills. “I wanted to be a college success coach because sometimes students just need that extra push. I know that I needed that when I was a student, so I do my best to do that for the students I support,” says Gyssel, a College Possible coach. “I help them use their resources already available to them and build a community within their college. This opens up a whole new world of opportunity for them.”
Live in exciting and affordable Seattle neighborhoods
One of the best perks of serving at the College Possible Washington site is living in the beautiful city of Seattle. Well-known for its impeccable coffee culture and iconic outdoor landmarks, Seattle is a fast-growing hub for both adventure seekers and tech professionals – as companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and REI are headquartered in the area.
Most College Possible Washington coaches have found that living with one or more roommates is the most affordable housing option in Seattle, while others have found studios or one-bedroom apartments in the Beacon Hill, University District, or Rainier Vista neighborhoods. If you’re looking to relocate to Seattle for your service year, you’ll receive a $500 relocation reimbursement to offset the cost. Funds can be used for a variety of expenses, including hotel fees while you search for your new apartment in Seattle, a lease deposit, or a moving truck, just to name a few.
Getting around Seattle to your assigned schools is a breeze with public transportation. Sound Transit, the city’s public light rail, offers a route stop just two minutes from the College Possible Seattle office. Bike and scooter sharing is also available 24/7 through the City of Seattle bikeshare program. Coaches who prefer to drive to the office enjoy free parking in the office lot.
Explore Washington with your fellow college coaches
An AmeriCorps service year with College Possible is one of the best ways to gain invaluable professional skills to jumpstart your career. It’s also a transformative time to build lifelong friendships with your cohort of college coaches. “My best advice for the next generation of AmeriCorps coaches is to be ready to work hard,” says Madeleine, a college coach. “Most importantly, have fun with the students you’re serving and with your fellow AmeriCorps members. This is an incredible time to meet new people and gain invaluable experiences. Enjoy every moment!”
When they’re not working with students, College Possible Washington coaches can be found enjoying Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier, and taking in all that the city has to offer. Green Lake Park, a common coach hang out, boasts two lifeguarded swimming beaches, tennis and basketball courts, and even hosts Arts in the Parks festivals and events. Just six miles south of the park is another coach favorite, the Pike Place Market. An iconic landmark of Seattle, the Pike Place Market is open 363 days a year for dining and shopping at Seattle’s original farmer’s market which overlooks the Elliott Bay waterfront on Puget Sound.
The Seattle Art Museum is another frequented destination for our Seattle coaches. Home to fifteen exhibits and installations, the museum offers free admission the first Thursday of every month.
A service year at College Possible Washington offers a unique way to empower college opportunity in Seattle. It is also an excellent launching pad for those deciding between disciplines for master’s degree programs, or for those seeking tangible experience before entering into the nonprofit or education work field. If gaining invaluable professional skills and making a proven impact in your community sounds like a year well spent, please join us at one of our upcoming information sessions or view or open positions.