ACAC Announces Schools of Excellence Program, First Winners

Applying to college is a necessary step towards a postsecondary degree. But for some students—especially first-generation students and students from low-income families—the application process can be stressful and confusing if guidance isn’t readily available. Moreover, effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused many young people (including those from populations who typically participate at higher rates) to have even greater reservations about pursuing higher education.

The American College Application Campaign is rooted in the belief that every student is college material and that education beyond high school remains the best investment students can make in themselves. Each year we work with coordinators in every state and the District of Columbia to reach students in their schools and communities and encourage them to apply to college. With so many high schoolers questioning if college is right for them, those relationships are more vital than ever before.

ACAC is acknowledging these important partnerships through its new Schools of Excellence award program announced last week. The 2019 Schools of Excellence represent 20 states and the District of Columbia and have been chosen as exemplars of commitment to student success. Along with public recognition, each school will receive a plaque (by mail in lieu of in-person presentations that had originally been planned). ACAC plans to honor schools each year.

The winning schools were key contributors in helping ACAC reach the following national achievements, as reported by state campaigns on the 2019 annual survey.

  • Nearly 7,300 high schools (more than one-fourth of high schools in the U.S.) hosted a College Application Campaign event.
  • More than 763,400 seniors (30 percent more students than in 2018) submitted at least one college application during events.
  • More than 1.2 million college applications were submitted during 2019 College Application Campaign events.
  • Additionally, at least 600 elementary schools, 540 middle schools, and 160 community-based organizations also hosted college application events to learn about the college-going process.

It is our goal that all students at ACAC events have a plan for education after high school be it a certificate, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree. We’re here to help counselors and college advisors support their students through the college application and admissions process.

To kick off the 2020 college application season, ACAC will host its fourth annual #WhyApply Day. On Friday, September 18, everyone is encouraged to head to their favorite social media channels and share supportive and motivating messages about the importance of applying to college. Be sure to use the hashtag #WhyApply when sharing your photo or video.

ACAC also has a wide variety of resources and events available to ensure school counselors and college advisors have the tools they need to support students. Up next are the webinars, Making the Case for College During COVID-19, on Tuesday, August 4 at 3:00 p.m., CDT (register now) and How to Host a College Application Event, on Tuesday, August 11 at 1:00 p.m., CDT (watch here for registration to open later this week).

Schools interested in hosting a college application event can register here.