Volume 3, Issue 6 – December 2019


In This Issue:

Director's Note

State Profile: South Carolina

Partner Profile: Partners for Education at Berea College


myOptions FAFSA Guide

As the college application process transitions into the next phase for students and families, affordability questions become critical for the final shaping of college lists. myOptions™ has provided an excellent bilingual FAFSA guide (English and Spanish) for your students and families to use! 

Learn more


Toolkit Tips:

Now that state campaigns have concluded, state coordinators are encouraged to:

  1. Follow up with host sites for application and participation data collection
  2. Prepare for winter meetings with steering committees
  3. Verify the date of your state school counselor association’s 2020 conference and submit a presentation proposal
  4. Issue a certificate of participation to host sites
  5. Issue a press release of state campaign success
  6. Thank volunteers and share data results

Proud partner of:




Director's Note

December is here, which means nearly all our state college application campaigns have come to an end. Yet our work supporting those who want to apply to college is not done. Our campaign takes place during the fall each year to ensure our students from the most underserved populations apply to college during the same timeline as their most privileged peers. But, as we say goodbye to 2019 and welcome 2020, it’s important we remind our students and their families that it’s never too late to apply to college.

Don’t forget, many of our available resources can be used to support students as they navigate the college application process year-round. A few of those resources are mentioned in the left-hand column of this newsletter. And, in case you missed it during this busy college application and FAFSA season, we recently released a Spanish version of the Pre-College and Career Readiness Curriculum for Students and Their Families. This curriculum is intended for high school counselors and college access professionals who work with students and their families to help them understand and prepare for the various college-going processes.

New to our campaign efforts this year, we shared a number of #WhyApply blogs from ACAC staff, state coordinators, and national partners. If you missed those blogs, we encourage you to give them a read and consider sharing on social media. If you would like to contribute as a guest blogger, please contact Lisa King at [email protected].

Finally, to help wrap up the campaign season, ACAC hosted an #IApplied Twitter chat with Better Make Room, Get Schooled, and Reach Higher. The goal of the chat was to remind students it’s not too late to apply by answering the questions students and their families most frequently ask about the college application process. Many of the top questions students ask demonstrate how the senior-year college-going process can be overwhelming, confusing, and intimidating to all students, but especially those who would be the first in their family to go to college. This Twitter chat was a great reminder of how impactful we can be when we come together to support students as they pursue education and training beyond high school.

Data for the 2019 Campaign events are being collected now. We can’t wait to share the results early in 2020! Though we don’t yet have final data to report, the effect of our state coordinators, host site coordinators, volunteers, and champions has shined brightly through news articles and social media. Thank you for your dedication to helping more students apply to college!

Warmly,
Melissa Caperton





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Students from the School District of Lancaster in Pennsylvania share their #IApplied statements.

State Profile: South Carolina

South Carolina Celebrates 10 Years of College Application Month
By: Gerrick Hampton, Ed.D., associate director for student affairs, South Carolina Commission on Higher Education and South Carolina College Application Month state coordinator

South Carolina’s College Application Month (CAM SC), an initiative of the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (CHE), celebrated its 10th anniversary in fall 2019. To mark the milestone, anniversary kickoff events were held across the state at three high schools: October 4 at Wando High School (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.); October 10 at Wade Hampton High School (Greenville, S.C.); and October 21 at Irmo High School (Columbia, S.C.). National, state, and local leaders, including members of the South Carolina General Assembly and American College Application Campaign (ACAC) staff, were on hand to take part in a special press conference at each event, and helped students complete college applications during the school day.

The CAM SC initiative began with a small pilot in 2009 implemented by CHE with help from the North Carolina GEAR UP program. Since that first year, College Application Month events have grown across South Carolina from 12 participating high schools with 1,000 high school seniors completing more than 2,000 applications in 2009 to more than 237 high schools with 47,000 high school seniors completing an estimated 65,000 college applications in 2018. In 2019, CAM SC will work with 240 high schools, including two virtual high schools that will allow college representatives to answer college application questions online through Blackboard. Additionally, CAM SC secured a partnership with the SC Treasurer’s Office to offer two scholarships to CAM SC students who attend an event and complete a survey. The scholarship winner will be chosen from a drawing in spring 2020.

The growth and impact of our CAM SC program has been vital to getting more students into the higher education pipeline. Each year CAM SC has increased the number of schools, number of participating students and applications completed, and gained new sponsors/partners. It’s important to take the time to celebrate these accomplishments and the students who have been served. Engaging the community in a 10th anniversary demonstrates to younger students South Carolina’s commitment to encouraging everyone to apply to college. Celebrating this milestone demonstrates how South Carolina is embracing a college-going culture for all.

The celebration events highlighted the contributions of the program’s founders and supporters, including Dr. Karen Woodfaulk, director student affairs; Dr. Gerrick Hampton, associate director for student affairs and ACAC state coordinator of SC CHE; Mrs. Brooke Mosteller Burris, Miss SC 2013, who championed CAM SC as her educational platform in the Miss SC competition; and Representative Merita Allison, chair, of the House Education and Public Works Committee, House District 36. The events were co-hosted by the CHE, the local school districts, ACT, and College Board. ACT and College Board staff were able to answer students’ questions regarding college entrance exams, resources to prepare for exams, and scholarships.

Business leaders and legislators seeing their peers support the college-going culture encourages others to engage with our campaign. There are so many opportunities still available to strengthen our program, and we want to show community leaders how they can help. I encourage other state campaigns to consider how you’ll celebrate milestones, such as a 10th anniversary, to build awareness and engage more communities across your state.



Wade Hampton High School in Greenville, S.C. on Oct. 10. Pictured: Representative Chandra Dillard, SC House Deputy Minority Leader, House District 23; Dr. Karen Woodfaulk, director, Student Affairs Division, SC Commission on Higher Education; Melissa Caperton, director, American College Application Campaign; Dr. Burke Royster, superintendent, Greenville County Schools; Mrs. Lynda Leventis-Wells, Greenville County Schools Board of Trustees; Representative Merita Allison, chair, House Education and Public Works Committee, House District 36.


Partner Profile: Partners for Education at Berea College

Join us for the 2020 Rural College Access and Success Summit

Author: Katie Basham, director of rural impact

Now in its third year, the Rural College Access and Success Summit brings together teachers, principals, superintendents, college access professionals, and others to share ideas and strategies for ensuring that rural youth have the opportunity to successfully transition to high school, then to college and career. During the Summit, practitioners serving rural students share best practices and highlight the unique challenges of increasing educational opportunities in rural communities.

Hosted by Partners for Education at Berea College and College Success Arizona, the 2020 Summit will take place April 26–28 in Scottsdale, Arizona. In the past, attendees have come from 37 states, from Maine to Alaska. This year, we expect approximately 400 attendees who will have nearly 40 breakout sessions to select from at the event.

Partners for Education began hosting the Summit when we recognized how little national attention the needs of rural students receive, and when we understood that practitioners from rural communities needed to connect with each other about challenges, resources, and opportunities. The conversations at the Summit help foster a sense of shared identity among participants from diverse rural communities. These conversations are essential to advocating for policies and programs that will promote equitable access to resources and opportunities for rural students.

We hope you’ll consider sharing your expertise and ideas with fellow professionals by submitting a breakout session proposal. To help us assemble a balanced and engaging conference, we encourage presenters to consider one or more of the following themes in developing their proposal:

  • Lifting Aspirations—How do we ensure that all students and their families believe college success can be part of their future?
  • Building Academic Skills—What techniques, strategies, and approaches provide the best supports for students? How do we ensure academic rigor while nurturing students' curiosity and creativity?
  • Engaging Families—How can schools, parents, and caregivers engage to ensure student success? How can parents become better advocates for their children and all children in the community?
  • Connecting College and Career—How can we help students find their best path to a career? Which supports are most effective at empowering student choice? What barriers to college access need to be addressed?
  • Influencing Rural Policy—What are the legislative barriers that inhibit the success of rural programs? What college success resources are under-supported? Which successful programs need to be expanded?
  • Deploying Place-Based Approaches—How can partners within rural communities work together to ensure the success of all students? How can we use data to align solutions in rural communities?

The deadline for proposals is January 10, 2020. For more information about the Summit, including registration and the call for proposals, please visit the conference website.

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