What is DC Decision Day?
DC Decision Day is the District’s adaptation of College Signing Day, a national movement created in 2015 within former First Lady Michelle Obama's Reach Higher initiative. The goal of DC Decision Day is to recognize high school seniors for their postsecondary education plans and encourage younger students and families to prepare early for postsecondary education. National College Signing Day is held annually on or around May 1 and is designed to coincide with the date that seniors must inform most colleges of their plans to enroll.
Decision Day initiatives are inspired by the NCAA’s National Signing Day where student athletes are celebrated for selecting the college where they will attend and signing a letter of intent to commit to the athletic program, often accompanied by a partial or full athletic scholarship. Decision Day events reinforce that academic excellence should be given as much pomp and circumstance as athletic excellence. By supporting the tradition of DC Decision Day, we want every student in the District with a postsecondary plan to receive as much attention and experience the same feeling of importance.
Like College Signing Day, DC Decision Day seeks to:
- Encourage community leaders, schools, and celebrities, as well as nonprofit and advocacy groups to host a “Decision Day” to support students planning to Reach Higher by attending and graduating from college; and
- Celebrate ALL students and their commitment to complete their education beyond high school.
Celebrating Decision Day in the District
While DC enjoyed a comprehensive and culminating DC College Signing Day event in prior years, feedback from individual schools led us to transition to support school based celebrations in 2018. Additionally, in an effort to fully embrace and recognize all learners with viable postsecondary plans, the name of the initiative has been changed to DC Decision Day.
This year, OSSE is launching an official Districtwide campaign and will be providing sharable resources needed to help schools quickly and easily host a DC Decision Day event within their community. Decision Day addresses the gap between college application rates and enrollment rates among our students as well as the often complicated process for officially pursuing and enrolling in postsecondary options.
The DC Decision Day initiative is one of OSSE’s college-readiness pathway events that, along with College Application and Exploration Month and our Districtwide FAFSA Completion Initiative, help guide seniors and their families in planning, applying, paying for and completing college.
Why Host DC Decision Day?
- Recognize all students for their postsecondary plans;
- Support the best match and fit for every student;
- Encourage younger students to observe and participate;
- Create an opportunity for elementary and middle schools and community to join in; and
- Foster a postsecondary-prepared culture within the school.
“I Have a Plan!”
In the District of Columbia, individual LEAs and high schools are encouraged to host DC Decision Day events during the months of April and May with the “I Have a Plan!” theme. The OSSE College and Career Readiness team is excited to support you in planning and promoting your own DC Decision Day event. We want to promote your events through the OSSE social media channels so make sure to register your event!
No matter which postsecondary options your students are pursuing after high school, we want to them to be excited to shout, “I Have a Plan!” Across the District, we intend to celebrate our students and get it trending! In promotion of your event and throughout the festivities, we encourage you to download the suggestions in the Social Media Guide from Better Make Room and include our DC-specific hashtags:
The OSSE College and Career Readiness team is excited to support you in planning and promoting your own DC Decision Day event. The official DC Decision Day Toolkit is coming this spring! In the meantime, the following resources are an excellent place to start:
- Better Make Room – College Signing Day; register your school’s event in the national Signing Day database and learn about the national campaign that started it all!
- Donors Choose – Create a College Signing Day project and email Reach Higher with a link to your project for a chance to receive up to a $500 micro-grant towards your DC Decision Day event.
- Michigan College Access Network – Decision Day; view webinars on Decision Day and hosting your own event, download the comprehensive Decision Day Resource Manual for planning checklists, sample agendas, activity ideas, stakeholder letter templates, and student resources.
- West Virginia College Foundation – Decision Day; read about their statewide Decision Day movement through articles and photos, get ideas for your event through their Idea Book and download a comprehensive College Decision Day Toolkit to assist you in planning a celebration at your school.
If your high school is hosting its own DC Decision Day event and would like press or promotion, or need more general information, please contact Janel Young at (202) 481-3485 or [email protected].