Did you know that Crosby Scholars seniors receive individual college advising throughout the senior year? We have 26 advisors who, in 2019-2020, met with more than 800 students for a total of more than 3,600 meetings. Our Senior Advisors include retired school counselors and education professionals who are well-versed in the application process. We also have Near Peer Advisors, who are recent college graduates that students can relate to as they navigate the path to college. In addition, Crosby Scholars provides essay reviews and mock interviews for our students applying to college.

For many families, hiring an individual college advisor is unaffordable. U.S. News and World Report noted that: “According to IECA data, the average hourly fee for a consultant in 2017 was $200…Comprehensive package fees can range from a low of $850 up to a high of $10,000.”

With the counselor to student ratio in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System 1:375, our program works in conjunction with school counseling to provide individualized college and career planning services to assist our senior Crosby Scholars. Each high school has a counselor who serves as a Crosby Scholars liaison to connect students to Crosby Scholars resources, and Crosby advisors meet individually with seniors at school multiple times throughout the year.

Mike Garcia is a first-generation Forsyth Tech Early College student. He graduated in May 2020 with his Associates in Arts degree. He has been accepted into UNC-Chapel Hill’s Business Direct program and awarded the Carolina Covenant scholarship. He met with Blaine Pugh, Crosby Scholars Near Peer Advisor at Forsyth Tech.
“I kind of saw myself in him, and if he can do it, and he’s here to lead me, then I can do it, too,” Garcia said.
A 2020 graduate sent his senior advisor a note and wrote, “Thank you for your help through the past year! You have helped me go to the best place for me, UNC! I couldn’t have done this without you.”

And another graduate who is headed to Appalachian State University wrote, “Thank you for editing and proofreading my essays, answering my questions, giving me recommendations and congratulating me on my accomplishments.”

When Crosby Scholars was introduced in 1992, Johnetta Huntley’s principal asked her to be the liaison for her middle school, a position she held for 16 years. She served as a high school liaison for nine years.

“From the onset, I became a solid supporter of the program, and I continue into the present day,” said Huntley, who received her B.A. degree from Knoxville College, Knoxville, Tennessee, and M.S. in Counseling Education from N.C. A&T State University. She has worked as a Senior Advisor now for six years. She enjoys staying connected to the students and assisting them in self-actualizing their post-secondary goals.

A key message she shares with her advisees at East Forsyth and Atkins high schools is “in all matters, particularly in the pursuit of your educational/ professional goals…it takes time and effort.”

Natalie Harding joined the Crosby Scholars Senior Advising team in 2014 when she retired as Director of Student Services at Robert B. Glenn High School.

“I am passionate about assisting high school seniors with reaching their post-secondary destination,” said Harding, who received her undergraduate degree at Livingstone College in Salisbury and her Master’s degree in School Counseling from the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. “The Crosby Scholars program provides me with a plethora of resources and a unique opportunity to connect seniors to the post-secondary education that best fits their interests, abilities, and ambitions.”

Harding advises seniors who attend Atkins, Kennedy, and Walkertown high schools.

“What I enjoy most is the feeling of accomplishment evidenced by seniors who have followed the roadmap we created for a successful college-bound experience,” she said. “I want students to know that time management is your friend…not your enemy. Create a monthly plan of action for the senior year.”

In 2017, Crosby Scholars added Near Peer advisors to assist seniors. Blaine Pugh has been working the past two years as a Near Peer Advisor for Crosby Scholars seniors, and he also assists Crosby Scholars who enroll at Forsyth Technical Community College to guide them to completion and transfer to a 4-year college, if that is the student’s plan. He is well-suited for his role: he started his collegiate journey at Cape Fear Community College and completed his Bachelor’s degree at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“As a Crosby Alum, I know how important this program is to creating a bright future for today’s youth,” Pugh said. “Winston-Salem is one of the hardest cities to escape from poverty. Education provides that upward economic mobility that so many people from my hometown lack.”

His perspective provides balance for seniors who may be stressed during the college application process, and he tells them, “You have many years ahead of you to figure out who you want to be and what you want to accomplish. Take the pressure off of yourself to have everything figured out.”

Crosby alum Taylor Jones-Curtis has been a Near Peer Advisor for one year. She graduated with a B.A. in Sustainable Tourism & Hospitality Studies with Sustainability Studies from UNC-Greensboro and is in graduate school for Sustainability with an Urban & Economic development focus at UNC-Greensboro.

She valued Crosby Scholars academies throughout middle and high school.

“The classes helped with time and stress management,” she said. “What I enjoy most about my job is being a resource to my students and their families. I don’t tout myself as all-knowing, but I do love displaying the multitudes of resources, offices, and templates to help in admissions and college life management.”

“My favorite piece of advice is a quote by Misty Copeland: ‘You can start late. Look different. Be uncertain and still succeed.’ My job as your advisor isn’t to condemn you for what you’ve done or not done up to your senior year, but rather to say, Okay! This is what we have–how can we make a plan and succeed?”

Crosby alum Megan Tang is the Associate Director of the High School Program. She graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in Political Science and worked in WFU admissions after graduating. She received her MPA from UNC-Chapel Hill and joined Crosby Scholars in 2015 after working in several other roles directly related to educational access.

“My passion has always been to assist students in achieving their educational goals and overcoming any barriers they may face along the way,” Tang said. “As a participant of Crosby Scholars, many moons ago, I know firsthand the lessons and services that Crosby Scholars provides for countless students in our community. I am most proud of my work with the Senior Advisor team, as they are a critical part in working one-on-one with our students in mapping out their senior year and plans for the future. It has been a pleasure to continue this work for an organization that made an impact on my future.”