January 14 marked one year since the American College Application Campaign joined ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning and it has our team reflecting on the past 12 months. ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning had been a long-standing partner of ACAC so the transition allowed us to align our efforts to close the gaps in equity, opportunity, and achievement for underserved learners. It has also amplified our voice about the importance of every student having the opportunity to apply to college.
Jim Larimore, chief officer of ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning said in an Oct. 16 blog, “For the American dream of opportunity to be realized, we need to ensure that all students have the resources and support that they need in order to develop their talents and pursue their ambitions.” Though the college application process is one step in the college-going journey, it’s a critical step where all students must be supported.
Being in the ACT family increased our reach to directly connect with high school and district staff to share learning opportunities and resources for the college application process. We launched a webinar series geared for high school counselors and college advisers to help strengthen college-going activities and events. Each webinar drew anywhere from 300 – 500 participants. In the coming year we are also looking to host webinars around how to engage younger grades in college application campaigns and other college-going activities.
Our bi-monthly newsletter also saw an increase in subscribers jumping from approximately 250 to more than 3,000! The ACAC newsletter provides timely campaign tips, quick links to national resources, featured articles about ACAC state campaign efforts and national partners, and national campaign updates. New this year, we plan to add a “Counselor Corner” section dedicated to sharing best practices for helping students navigate the college-going journey at every grade level.
Joining ACT has made us stronger in our fight for a more just and equitable future for all underserved learners. Together, we are changing the narrative for students facing complex challenges. State campaigns work with host site coordinators to develop events that ensure all students have the opportunity to apply to college and are applying to a best match and fit. All state campaigns have concluded, and results are rolling in. Based on data submitted to date, we anticipate exceeding our reach of 7,200 high schools in 2018.
We are excited to bring the state campaign coordinators together in May for our annual ACAC National Convening to discuss lessons learned from our 2019 campaign efforts and we look forward to reaching even more students in 2020. Thank you for joining us in this journey to supporting students as they navigate the path to college.