Home Features The 4-1-1 on TRIO Advising

The 4-1-1 on TRIO Advising


By Carly Chapman

Grand Rapids Community College offers a multitude of advising and counseling options to its students based on their specific needs. One of those options is TRIO, a federally funded academic advising center specifically for students who are either low-income, first generation, or have disabilities. 

The Collegiate met with the Academic Advisor for the TRIO STEM program, Evan Macklin, for an in-depth discussion on what TRIO does:.

“During our first appointment… We try to get a sense of the student’s ‘why,’” said Macklin. “Why are they here at GRCC, why are they pursuing the program they say they are pursuing, and get a better sense of their overall goals…We care very deeply about our students that are coming from underrepresented backgrounds, and there is somebody that is here at the college that wants to connect with them and be that cheerleader… the one that’s gonna be there every step of the way… even after they graduate’.”

Macklin, being a first generation student himself, shares his experience.\

 “I didn’t connect with TRIO programs, but I wish I would have, because now that I’m in this position and I can see the level of support that is provided… we care… I can relate to the students that I’m working with across the desk, and that, to me, means the world.”

In terms of speed of accessibility, TRIO is one of the faster advising centers on campus. Since TRIO caters specifically to students with disabilities, or who are low-income or first-generation, it allows for these students to be served much quicker. 

“That’s part of the reason why this federal program exists,” said Macklin. “It allows us to have a smaller caseload… so we are easily accessible, within a day or two, a student can usually get on our calendar.”

GRCC’s TRIO program is the second-largest in Michigan, and thirteenth largest in the nation. However, it only serves 600 of GRCC’s students, which is all that their federal funding allows for.

 “We can’t serve more than what our grant tells us we can serve, but the goal would be to be able to connect with all of our first generation students,” Macklin said. 

“We want to see every one of our students cross the commencement stage, and what’s part of doing that is making sure that we demonstrate that we’re here for them and that we’re practically working alongside of them… that they’re not walking in this journey alone, that they have somebody they can count on”.

More information about TRIO is provided on their website. For GRCC-related TRIO information, click here.

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