November is DC College Application and Exploration Month: Explore, Plan, Apply!
Sponsored by OSSE and the DC College Application and Exploration Month Steering Committee, DC College Application and Exploration Month is part of a larger national effort, coordinated by the American Council on Education, to increase the number of first-generation and low-income students who pursue a postsecondary education. The goal of DC College Application and Exploration Month is to provide all graduating seniors, especially those who may not otherwise apply to college, with the preparation, opportunity, and support needed to apply to college and ensure that each participating student completes and submits at least one application. The district-wide effort has occurred annually since 2011.
This month-long effort allows students to do more than just submit a college application. Within this time frame, students can participate in the college exploration and planning process at their own pace -- and schools can align this initiative with the many college exploration activities that are already taking place during the fall. DC College Application and Exploration Month aims to:
- Help schools and college access programs establish and/or build upon a culture of college-readiness.
- Communicate to all students the importance of preparing for and applying to college.
- Engage and inform underrepresented students (first-generation college students, students of color, and low-income students) about postsecondary opportunities, culminating in the application process.
- Provide a districtwide message and excitement about exploring and planning for college.
- Increase the number graduating seniors from the District of Columbia who complete the college admissions process.
If you are interested in participating as a host site, OSSE requests the following:
- Set aside time and space during the school day and provide technology for12th grade (or adult) students to complete applications online. (Please use your own discretion when determining the amount of time and space needed for students to complete applications.) 11th grade students and younger can complete various other college awareness activities that will be featured in the Site Coordinator planning toolkit;
- Designate a site coordinator as the main organizer of the event;
- Complete the required site coordinator survey (after the event), which allows OSSE to evaluate the impact of DC College Application and Exploration Month;
- Promote a college-going culture via messages and excitement about exploring and planning for college; and
- Set the goal that “100 percent of all graduating seniors will apply to at least one postsecondary institution.”
Participating schools and community based organizations are not expected to hold a month full of events. Host sites should use the month format to create a schedule of events that best meets their school or program needs. If the week-long format from College Application Week works best, schools should feel free to condense the initiative into one week.
Need more information?
If you would like to volunteer at a host site during DC College Application and Exploration Month, please register by Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017.
Volunteers from colleges and the community are critical to a successful DC College Application and Exploration Month event. Volunteers can lend their individual expertise at any of the registered sites and are needed in a variety of ways, depending on the needs of the high school or community based organization.
Examples of volunteer tasks include:
- Greet and sign-in students at events
- Assist students with the completion of online college applications
- Speak to student or parent groups
- Share information about the college application process
- Share personal stories about your career or college journey
- Share about your area of expertise (financial aid, college persistence, college preparation, essay writing, etc.
Training sessions for DC College Application and Exploration host Month host sites will emphasize the importance of effectively utilizing and communicating with volunteers. Site coordinators are encouraged to contact you on a first-come, first-serve basis to confirm your availability and schedule you for their event(s). For this reason, registering to volunteer does not guarantee that you will end up volunteering at a specific site, or at all. We appreciate your time and willingness to contribute to DC College Application and Exploration Month.
Site Coordinator Support and Training
District of Columbia public and public charter schools, and community based organizations interested in participating provide time and space during the school day or regular working day for college exploration activities with a special focus on support for seniors to complete college applications. College access programs that work within schools or districts can host DC College Application and Exploration Month events and serve students within their pre-existing program structure.
Guidance and support for students and their families will be provided by high school and/or college access staff and volunteers from colleges and the community. The DC College Application and Exploration Month steering committee will provide resources, materials, technical support and training for registered sites to assist with the implementation of their activities and events for the month.
2017 Site Coordinator Resources
November Planning Calendar
Training PowerPoint [PDF] - updated in 2015. Access the DC College Application and Exploration training for new and returning site coordinators.
2017 List of Participating Postsecondary Institution - a list of schools in the United States that accept the Collegeboard fee waiver or waive fees during DC College Application and Exploration Month.
Toolkit Items - this is a list of downloadable tools and links from your Site Coordinator Resource Guide. Feel free to customize documents and resources as you see fit.
Planning Your Events
a. Site Coordinator Planning Checklist (template)
b. Ask Me About It
c. College Bingo Activity
d. Online Scavenger Hunt
Recruiting and Organizing Volunteers
e. Volunteer or Donation Request Letter (template)
f. An Overview for Teachers/Staff/Community (template)
g. Volunteer Reference Guide (template)
h. Volunteer Thank You Letter (template)
Promoting the Month
i. Press Release (template)
j. Follow-up Press Release (template)
k. Student/Family Letter (template)
l. DC College Application and Exploration Month Flyer
Working with Students
m. Student Sign-in Sheet
n. NACAC Eligibility and FAQ’s
o. NACAC Application Fee Waiver
p. Senior Resource Guide (2015 Edition)
q. Senior Application Information Worksheet
r. College Application Worksheet
s. College Comparison Worksheet
t. Teacher Recommendation Request
u. I applied..Now What?
v. What You Need to File the FAFSA
w. 2015 DC Scholarship Guide
x. 2017 Glossary of Terms
Useful College Planning Resources
- Step by Step: College Awareness and Planning for Families, Counselors and Communities
- Preparing Students for College: What High Schools are Doing and How their Actions Influence Ninth Graders' College Attitudes, Aspirations, and Plans
- Step by Step: College Awareness and Planning for Families, Counselors and Communities - this curricula offers training for counselors and others who work with underrepresented and underserved students. It provides comprehensive tools for meeting the needs of first-generation students and their families as they navigate the college exploration and application process starting in middle school.
History of DC College Application and Exploration Month
Looking Back on DC College Application Week 2015
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