When it comes to getting ahead, Malcolm X College Advisor Jennifer Jackson often shares three keys for success with her students: networking, communication, and responsibility.

The three keys are all related, as Jennifer says that students who are connected to college tend to stay in school, and the personal connections they build help students hold themselves accountable. It’s sound advice from the advisor of nearly a decade, who is passionate about seeing her students achieve their dreams.

And while much of her advice to students stems from those three keys, Jennifer starts all interactions by listening to her students and getting to know them as people. Living in the Gage Park neighborhood of Chicago, Jennifer often runs into students off campus. Regardless of whether she’s in the office or the grocery store, she makes a point to be available to her students. It’s her goal to meet them where they’re at, both literally and figuratively.

Beyond coaching, that also means making sure her students are aware of all of their options when it comes to receiving financial support and aid. It helps that City Colleges offers innovative programs so students can receive a quality education at an affordable cost, she says. That’s one of the reasons that she enjoys working at CCC – the community college model offers a pathway to education that can change students’ lives.

Jennifer knows the journey is not always easy and every road has its hiccups. But as an advisor, she wants to empower her students with the information they need to create their own success, helping to fill in the blanks so they can move past hiccups and even avoid them in the future.

She likens her work to the old saying “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” To Jennifer, college is not just about the degree but the doors her students can open with it.

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