Just last month, the American College Application Campaign team, state coordinators and a few of our national partners met in Washington, D.C. for our annual National Convening. Being in the room with so many bright minds and dedicated, student-focused hearts is always such an inspiring experience. Thank you to our participants for their willingness to share and ask questions. We hope those who attended found the convening to be as helpful as we always do. If you participated in person or virtually, don’t forget to complete the convening survey. We welcome any and all feedback.
In addition to hosting our annual National Convening, we recently announced our new website! You can now find ACAC at equityinlearning.act.org/acac. If you have not yet done so, check it out and be sure to update any ACAC website references on your campaign materials and website. Two features we absolutely love about the website are the state profile pages and the improved Resources page. The Resources page includes two paths-one for state coordinators and one for host site coordinators-to access campaign templates, documents and graphics.
All 2019 campaign resources were recently updated over the past three months and are available on the ACAC website and State Coordinator Network SharePoint. A few more documents will be added this summer. If you don’t see a document you need or want, let us know! Also, be sure to check out our Events page for upcoming webinars for state and host site coordinators.
Thank you for all you do for the students of your state. We look forward to supporting and sharing your 2019 successes (and engaging at least 8,000 sites nationally!!!). Application season will be here before we know it and we look forward to celebrating #WhyApply Day with all of you September 20!
ACAC state coordinators convened in Washington, D.C. to prepare for the 2019 campaign season.
State Profile: Idaho
Knowing when a change is needed
Idaho’s college application campaign will look slightly different this fall. After six years of a statewide College Application Week, the state is expanding to a full month campaign.
This decision was based on feedback received from school counselors hosting application completion events and college admission representatives volunteering at local events. For six years, Idaho’s state campaign encouraged high schools to organize events during one week, typically in late October or early November. However, as the state released new tools like Apply Idaho, which allows students to apply to all Idaho institutions for free, behavior patterns of the schools and students shifted.
Additionally, Idaho sends a direct admissions letter to every public school student with a 3.0 GPA or higher stating they are eligible to be admitted to any Idaho institution (Approximately 22,000 high school seniors!). If a student does not meet the 3.0 GPA threshold, they receive a letter stating how many of Idaho’s institutions they are eligible for based on their current GPA. The letter includes a deadline to apply and this deadline didn’t always coincide with college application week events.
“More and more schools were asking to host their activities outside the official week since it was now easier to help students apply to college through Apply Idaho and students were more aware of their eligibility status,” said Dana Kelly, student affairs program manager, Idaho State Board of Education and Idaho’s college application campaign state coordinator.
Another challenge Idaho has faced is that many students of the Mormon faith wish to go on a mission trip for a year or two immediately after high school, and these students were being left out of application completion events.
“The purpose of Idaho’s college application campaign is to prepare students for their next step after high school,” said Kelly. “We have started to remind our site coordinators and volunteers that by helping a student complete an application now, the student won’t be intimidated later if they go on a mission or take a gap year.”
The state campaign leadership team worked with Idaho’s institutions to recognize this unique need for Idaho’s student population. Several institutions have started to accept applications and work with the student to defer it for the gap year or mission trip.
“These students now feel supported and know when they come back in one to two years, they have a spot waiting for them. Counselors advise students about this option and how to let the admissions office know if they plan to defer,” said Kelly.
Student longitudinal data is showing trends going in a favorable direction thanks to efforts like College Application Week, the direct admissions letters, and NextSteps.Idaho.gov. Idaho’s campaign leadership team hopes the transition to a college application and readiness month this October will continue to reach more students and ultimately help Idaho reach the goal of 60 percent of Idaho’s 25-to-34-year-olds obtaining a college degree or professional certificate.
Idaho Governor Butch Otter shares his “#WhyApply to college” advice.
Partner Profile: American Indian College Fund
College Fund Publishes College-Going Guide for Native Students
Authors: Matthew Makomenaw (Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians), College Pathways manager, and Amanda R. Tachine, Ph.D. (Navajo Nation), research and evaluation associate, American Indian College Fund
With more than 40 percent of the Native population under age 18, the American Indian College Fund is working to provide Native people with access to a higher education. The College Fund knows that education improves the lives of individuals, their families, and entire communities, yet merely providing scholarships to help students pay for college is not enough for Native students to succeed. The College Fund knew it had to create a college-going culture through experiences working with high school students, first-year students, and two-year college students seeking to continue their education at a four-year school. With a $2.5 million grant renewal from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the College Fund will be able to continue efforts to increase college access and success through the Native Pathways to College Program.
The College Fund launched the program to meet the needs of tribal communities and in response to the college-going and completion crisis amongst Native American and Alaska Native students. Research shows the national rate of all students going to college within six months of graduating from high school is 70 percent. For Native American and Alaska Native students, those numbers are closer to 20 percent. We know that there are countless Native students who could be attending college, but they are unable to for many reasons. One is the lack of awareness about the college-going process.
As part of the College Fund’s Native Pathways to College program and with generous support from the Andrew Mellow Foundation, the College Fund recently published an invaluable tool for Native American high school students seeking higher education. Native Pathways: A College-Going Guidebook provides relatable college-going content for Native students that speaks to their culture, ways of knowing, and experiences as they consider attending college. The guide provides content related to how to get into college, choosing a school, paying for it, and what to expect the first year. There is a lack of relevant, culturally sustaining content tailored for Native students and the process in getting into college. Native Pathways: A College-Going Guidebook was developed to empower Native students to enroll in college with a firm understanding that Native students have much to offer higher education institutions.
Dr. Matthew Makomenaw, (a member of the Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians) who created and manages the Native Pathways program, and Dr. Amanda R. Tachine, (a member of the Navajo Nation) co-editor of the guidebook, recently share ways practitioners can use “Native Pathways: A College-Going Guidebook” to help students plan their college education in a blog post for ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning.
There are many resources to support practitioners in advancing ways to support Native students. The Native Pathways guidebook is a great starting point and will help practitioners get a sense of types of conversations to have with Native students. To learn about the initiatives provided at the College Fund and ways to support our efforts, visit our website at collegefund.org.
Join ACAC, the Center for Equity in Learning and American Indian College Fund for a webinar, Introduction to New College-Going Guidebook for Native American Students, June 3 at 2:00 PM EDT. Register here.