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Partnering with Your Coach: Developing Agency for Your College Experience

by Jason Pender, Felicia Tripp, and Richard Rose

Making Waves Education Foundation » Resources » Partnering with Your Coach: Developing Agency for Your College Experience

At Making Waves Education Foundation, we are committed to student success. Our Wave-Maker Success Framework is meant to open a pipeline for student success in college, career, and life by making explicit the supports and resources available.  

One of the critical supports we offer for students is college coaching.

Our Wave-Makers partner with their coaches to navigate resources, reflect on making meaning of their experiences, and chart a path forward toward their goals. All of this is rooted in agency toward long-term positive outcomes. 

And now you might be thinking: “What exactly is agency?” 

Agency is the power or ability to act. As college coaches, we think of agency as encouraging choice and exploration to reinforce informed decision-making. We do this by helping name structures and power dynamics. We partner with you in pursuing options that feel attainable with support.  

When you exercise your agency – especially with an understanding of the hidden curriculum or unspoken norms of higher education – we hope you see more clearly the choices you have within your college experience.

We also hope you see how institutional barriers and opportunities as well as personal strengths and areas of growth influence those choices. 

It takes time to develop agency. No worries! We got you. We are with you for the entirety of your college journey to help you identify the benefits, risks, and impacts of your daily choices on your short-term and long-term goals. 

Support during your college journey and beyond 

Our college and career success program at Making Waves is unique in that Wave-Makers can access coaching throughout the entirety of their college journey and into their career.   

Our conversations during our coaching calls support your growth in a multitude of ways as we examinine your holistic needs and develop goals related to those needs. Goal setting is an integral part of coaching – and your agency is a core skill required to meet your needs and achieve your goals.  

To help address the systemic barriers you face, we also work together to understand and clarify what is in your sphere of control and what is outside of your control.  

Once you see what you have control over and determine where you want to do things differently, working around barriers or voicing your needs or desires strategically, you are more equipped to exercise your agency and to navigate your college experience. 

Over time, it is our hope that your conversations with coaches and your practicing building your agency leads to the development of a critical consciousness to anticipate barriers to your goals and how to best resolve them. 

You might say: “Look, I just want to talk with my coach, get my questions answered, and move on with my life. Why would I want to learn about the mindset and relationship-building in coaching?” 
Because that is how the MAGIC happens!  
Magic meaning: the mindset of critical consciousness and the process of building a learning partnership with your coach leads to you developing your own voice, agency, and problem-posing and solving skills to navigate life. 
We look forward to partnering with you this upcoming academic year! 

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At Making Waves, we are committed to educational equity. Making Waves Education Foundation is a Bay Area nonprofit that supports Making Waves Academy – a public charter school with more than 1,100 5th through 12th grade students – and leads college and career programming with more than 430 college students.​

Knowing the opportunities that come with a college degree, we partner with historically underrepresented and underserved students to help make college affordable and graduation attainable. Centering the journeys of our students, our personalized approach includes college and career coaching, scholarships, and financial planning.​

Our alumni network includes more than 730 college graduates, who earn their degrees and land jobs at more than twice the rate of their first-generation, low-income peers, with 85% graduating debt-free.

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