WASHINGTON, D.C.— Sept. 18, 2017— In an unprecedented collaboration, higher education advocates and leaders are partnering on a new effort that supplements their existing work to help high school students learn about, apply for, and transition into college.
The new resource, launching today, is Steps2College (www.steps2college.org), a one-stop website for everything high school counselors, students, and family members need to support students through the college-going process. The partnership is composed of ACT Center for Equity in Learning, American College Application Campaign from the American Council on Education (ACE), American University School of Education’s Center for Postsecondary Readiness and Success, Better Make Room, and the National College Access Network (NCAN).
The interactive tool allows visitors, including students and their families as well as school counselors, to learn about the various milestones during a student’s final year of high school. The site explores what support is available to assist students with the college application process, what student aid options are available, helps celebrate college decision-making, and helps ensure that students know the critical enrollment and transition steps once they have decided where to go. The resource section allows visitors to filter the items of most interest based on where in the college-going process they are.
Steps2College focuses on four key milestones in the journey to college:
- September – November: American College Application Campaign, an initiative of ACE, partners with all 50 states and D.C. to conduct school-day events designed to assist high school seniors as they navigate the college admissions process, ensuring each student submits at least one admissions application.
- October – April: Form Your Future, a national campaign organized by NCAN, works to help students get money for college, no matter what. Through social media and online toolkits, the campaign shows students their great odds of getting financial aid when they file the FAFSA, and supports the professionals who help them do so.
- April – May: College Signing Day. Better Make Room, along with schools, organizations, community leaders, and influencers hosts College Signing Day, a chance to rally around local students, show them support, and celebrate their choice in making a commitment to higher education.
- June – September: College Transition. Often the time between graduation and the first day of college is a time when steps can be missed, postponing attendance and delaying dreams. Resources are provided to assist students, their families, and the professionals who work with them in identifying and successfully navigating those key transitional activities, supporting students as they journey from secondary to postsecondary education.
Jim Larimore, chief officer, ACT Center for Equity in Learning, says, “ACT saw a tremendous opportunity to bring these partners together to define the landscape of and streamline the college going process, and we hope more partners will join the effort. Steps2College, in ensuring that the necessary resources for college-going are clearly laid out for students and their families, goes to the heart of the center’s mission of closing gaps in equity and achievement. Working together with our partners in this way is a big step toward our goal of education and workplace success for all our children.”
Ted Mitchell, president, ACE, says, “ACE is proud of the impact ACAC has had on millions of students across the country as they complete their college applications. We also recognize that there are many critical steps in the college-going process. While we have always encouraged our state partners and participating high schools to connect their college application events to FAFSA completion, decision making, and preparing for the transition to college, the Steps2College collaboration allows us to make those connections even more seamless.”
Laura Owen, director, American University School of Education’s Center for Postsecondary Readiness and Success, says, “The college-going process requires students to successfully navigate a complicated maze of deadlines and paperwork. No longer facing an information gap, today’s students and parents need assistance sorting through a wide array of advice and resources available to them. Steps2College.org not only aligns several national campaigns, it provides a much needed timeline that organizes the tasks necessary for on time college matriculation. School counselors are now one-click away from resources needed to guide students and parents along their postsecondary path. The center is excited to partner with all of these organizations who have come together to simplify the process so that more students can reach their dreams for a bright future.”
Eric Waldo, executive director, Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative, which includes Mrs. Obama’s Better Make Room campaign, says, “Helping students, parents, counselors and partners better understand the big moments happening on the postsecondary calendar is critical for our long term success. A one-stop shop like Steps2College can help break things down into understandable pieces and make the college application process that much more accessible. We are so happy to be a part of this collaboration to help more students achieve their college dreams.”
Kim Cook, executive director, NCAN says, “NCAN launched Form Your Future to provide students and professionals with free tools to ease and increase FAFSA completion, which is inextricably tied to college enrollment. With the right supports and resources, students from all backgrounds can access and complete a postsecondary education, so NCAN is pleased to join this new collaboration that’s building on the important work our partners are doing individually.”
ACT Center for Equity in Learning
ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning supports research that focuses on closing gaps in equity and achievement. The Center works to produce actionable evidence to guide thought leadership and inform changes in policy and practice that will lead to improved learning and achievement. http://equityinlearning.act.org/
American Council on Education
Celebrating its centennial in 2018, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation’s higher education institutions, representing nearly 1,800 college and university presidents and related associations. It provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy. For more information, please visit www.acenet.edu or follow ACE on Twitter @ACEducation.
American University School of Education’s Center for Postsecondary Readiness and Success
The Center for Postsecondary Readiness and Success is devoted to the study of systems and processes that influence college and career readiness in K–12 settings as well as college persistence and completion. Utilizing a multi-disciplinary approach, the center focuses on research and practices that improve equitable student postsecondary opportunity — with implications for policy development.
Better Make Room
Better Make Room aims to celebrate education, change the national conversation, and reach students directly where they are and give them a space to create content while also navigating the college-going process. This campaign leverages traditional and new media platforms to celebrate student stories in the same way that we often celebrate celebrities and athletes. With partners in the business, philanthropic, media, and education realm, this campaign stretches across the country to inspire students and give them the tools they need to reach higher for college. www.bettermakeroom.org
National College Access Network
NCAN’s mission is to build, strengthen, and empower communities committed to college access and success so that all students, especially those underrepresented in postsecondary education, can achieve their educational dreams. For more information about NCAN and its approximately 400 members spanning the nonprofit, education, business and government sectors, visit http://www.collegeaccess.org/ or follow @collegeaccess on Twitter.