Removing Barriers in the College Application Process

This blog originally appeared on on Friday, September 20, 2019.

It is officially college application season and thousands of schools across the country are hosting American College Application Campaign events to support students through the college application process. This year, approximately 8,000 high schools will host college application events designed to guide and celebrate an estimated 600,000 students who may not otherwise have applied.

We know the reasons that can stop a student from applying to college all too well. Students may have doubts that college is worth it, fears about the application process, confusion about how to apply, or concerns they can’t afford a college application fee or the cost of college. ACAC events guide students through the application process, addressing uncertainties and concerns while empowering them for success in the college-going process. Together, with the support of state leaders, school staff, and community members rallying around local events and state college application campaigns, we can ensure all seniors complete at least one college application.

Why do we need a national initiative like the American College Application Campaign?

  1. A network of peers: The national and state-level college application campaigns are composed of engaged, creative, and committed educators. This network allows all participating schools to share what works and to learn from others for continuous improvement in service delivery. It helps schools reach all students – including and especially those from underserved populations.
  2. Setting high expectations: Schools are asked to include all seniors in the event to ensure students from underserved populations are following the same timeline as those students who are more privileged.
  3. Reaching students where they are: ACAC events provide students at participating high schools the opportunity to apply to college during the school day with a support network on hand to guide them through the research, preparation, and submission of college applications.
  4. Strength in numbers: This is more than a senior-year event at a participating school. It is a school-wide, community-wide, statewide and national movement. Administrators, teachers, counselors, and younger students can join in the celebration and recognition of this important milestone. Together, we can elevate all of our student-focused efforts and shine a light on the important work being done across communities to achieve a common goal.
  5. Collective impact: By working across schools, across communities, and across state lines, we can more successfully effect who pursues education and training beyond high school.
  6. Lifting up all pathways: ACAC events celebrate all postsecondary paths that results in a degree or credential, including professional/technical certificates and academic degrees. Students who pursue education beyond high school are going to college!

To demonstrate our collective reach and impact, last week on Friday, September 20, we asked you to answer the question “Why apply to college?” on social media. #WhyApply Day kicked off the college application season by sharing supportive and motivating messages on social media about the importance of applying to college – a critical and necessary step on the journey to postsecondary education. Though the day has passed, it’s never too late to share your #WhyApply to college inspiration.

It’s also not too late for high schools to commit to host an application completion event. We hope your school and community will join the national and state college application campaigns to further all of our important efforts! Visit to learn more, to register, and to find your state campaign coordinator.