Alumna Helping Students Succeed Beyond High School

Alumna Angela Magbag, who graduated from Michigan State University in May 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in English, is now an advisor for MSU’s College Advising Corps (MSUCAC), which places recent MSU graduates in high schools throughout the state of Michigan to serve alongside counselors and other college-access organizations. Magbag joined the program knowing firsthand how it affects students as she worked with an MSUCAC advisor when she was in high school. 

How long have you been an MSUCAC advisor? 

This will be my first year of advising for MSUCAC at Galesburg-Augusta High School. 

What initially drew you to MSUCAC? 

When I was a student at Waverly High School, I had an MSUCAC advisor. She helped me a lot during my senior year of high school, and even during my freshman year of college. Also, in my Career Strategies class (AL 250) at MSU, MSUCAC came in for mock interviews. After doing that, everything clicked, and I applied that very night. 

What was your experience like working with an MSUCAC counselor when you were in high school, and how did that experience inform your current role? ​ 

My MSUCAC adviser was the first to come into Waverly High School. I remember bawling my eyes out to her when I realized that my high school years were about to come to an end. While my adviser helped me navigate through that time, it was hard considering we had more than 200 students in my class. I do remember going to her events, like FAFSA night, and even applying for a handful of scholarships. However, due to my personality, I did most of it on my own and never asked any questions. I suffered greatly my first year of college, and I remember contacting my MSUCAC advisor for advice, which helped a lot. I am almost sure that if I never called her, I would still be at MSU due to failed classes. If I could be that one adult for my students to lean on at Galesburg-Augusta, then I can definitely say that I have fulfilled my role as a college advisor. I will exhaust all resources in order for my students to be successful. 

What are your responsibilities as an advisor? 

I help students, particularly seniors, navigate their plans after high school graduation. This includes any trade school opportunities, certificate programs, and two-year and four-year colleges and universities. I do this by actively engaging with them in their classes and communities through one-on-one meetings, college-access events, financial aid workshops, and parent interactions. The number one thing I tell my students is this: “If you are struggling with a subject, whether it ranges from Spanish to calculus to chemistry, I do not care if I have to relearn algebra all over again. I will take the time out of my day to help make sure you succeed.” Whether or not I know anything about the subject, I encourage any student who is struggling in academics to use me as a resource, even if they just need someone to be there for them. Sometimes students just need a quiet place to work so they can get things done. 

How do you think your MSU education prepared you for your role as an advisor? 

MSU prepared me for this role through the many mistakes I made in my four years of college. I struggled during my first two years of college for both personal and academic reasons. I switched my major four times before I finally decided to go back to my roots – English. I want students to be able to understand what they want to do after graduation so they will not make the same mistakes I did. If they are still undecided, then I will help them with where they should go next. 

What are your career plans for the future? 

This job will be where I find that out. However, ever since I started at Galesburg-Augusta, I can definitely say that I just want to help people. I will most likely go back for a graduate program in order to achieve this, but until then, I am not quite sure. 

What advice would you give to students who have recently graduated? 

Connect. Go to as many career and college fairs as you can. Step outside of your comfort zone and branch out to meet new people. Do not be afraid to send emails and make phone calls to ask questions or to even introduce yourself in person.