Vol. 1, Issue 2 - April 2017
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Director's Update

Dear friends,

Spring is upon us and high schools are busy helping seniors decide which college to attend. But while we’re busy supporting and celebrating our seniors, it’s important we start preparing for the next senior class. We encourage you to begin the recruitment process for 2017 host high schools as early as April and May. Recently updated State and Site Coordinator materials include: a Host Site Recruitment Manual and supporting PowerPoint presentation, and a Volunteer Recruitment Manual and training PowerPoint presentation. We anticipate releasing a Communications and Social Media Manual later this month. Please continue to watch our website and the national ACAC Dropbox folder for updates.

Although data are continuing to come in, we're thrilled to share estimates from the 2016 American College Application Campaign. To date, ACAC efforts reached more than 5,700 high schools and around 460,000 seniors who submitted over 772,000 college applications, according to the data reported by ACAC states on the 2016 annual survey. As of now, this represents about an 18 percent increase in the number of participating high schools from 2016. ACAC State Coordinators are encouraged to continue sending updates as they are received. For 2017, our goal is to grow to 7,000 high schools nationally and we look forward to working with you to achieve that goal!

Though our focus is the college application process, ACAC is committed to helping inform our network about the larger college-going process. Last month, we hosted a Twitter chat on understanding award letters and student financial aid, featuring experts from Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, Loyola University, NASFAA, National College Access Network, the Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. If you were unable to join, head to Twitter and search #AwardLettersChat. Watch for updates regarding a June Twitter chat!

As the end of another academic year approaches and we celebrate college decisions, we encourage you to have some fun on social media. Use the hashtag #TransformationTuesday on any Tuesday between now and May 15 showing your transformation as a high school or college student to a working professional. And don’t forget to tag ACAC on Twitter and Facebook. Some of our team members have created their #TransformationTuesday pictures in hopes to inspire you!

Melissa Caperton

State Profile: Mississippi

With the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process now starting on October 1, this academic year was the first year college application campaigns coincided with FAFSA completion efforts. Though all of us in the college access community were entering uncharted territories, Mississippi decided to grab the opportunity to bring partners together and re-brand the college-going process for seniors.

In early 2016, a consortium of Mississippi education leaders launched College Countdown MS, a campaign designed to help high school seniors gain access to college through assistance with completing college applications, submitting the FAFSA and Mississippi’s state financial aid application, and celebrating their acceptance to college.

To bring commonality between the three efforts, the partners agreed to terminology that helped reinforce the campaign: Apply-a-palooza Application Days, First u haf-ta FAFSA Days and Signing Spree College Signing Days. They also created a website to promote and bridge the goals of the individual campaigns.

“College Countdown MS would not have been successful without every partner being committed and engaged in the process,” said Heather Morrison, P20 projects coordinator for the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning and coordinator of College Countdown MS. “Each member of the consortium understands and recognizes the larger need beyond our individual organizations.” Because each partner contributed to the campaign, it was a low-cost lift to create College Countdown MS.

The state was fortunate to already have a strong FAFSA completion campaign through Get2College, a program of Woodward Hines Education Foundation. The consortium used the momentum and established relationships of the FAFSA campaign to launch college application and decision day activities. It was this strong partnership base and Heather Morrison’s role as the P20 projects coordinator that allowed Mississippi to grow exponentially from having no coordinated statewide college application and college decision day efforts, to a year-long campaign that bridged 17 college application days, 240 FAFSA completion days and an anticipated 17 college signing days.

 “With the announcement of the campaign, it brought a large demand for the FAFSA Day services. It became more than we could handle this year,” said Ann Hendrick, director of the Get2College program. 140 volunteers were trained by Get2College and helped support 240 FAFSA Days events across Mississippi.

While the consortium gets ready for College Decision Day events, they are already planning for the 2017-18 academic year. For the next campaign, the consortium members are working with Get2College to train more community college partners to lead efforts in their districts. This will allow College Countdown MS to reach even more high schools and students.

Additionally, the partners continue to set their sights high for expanding access and awareness of College Countdown MS, with a goal to reach all 142 school districts. The state currently proclaims September as “College Savings Month” and will be encouraged to proclaim October as “College Application Month” with an added emphasis on FAFSA completion. If you’re interested in learning more about Mississippi’s efforts visit


College Countdown MS Partners:

  • College Board
  • Get2College, a program of Woodward Hines Education Foundation
  • Mississippi Association of College Registrars and Admission Officers
  • Mississippi Community College Board
  • Mississippi Department of Education
  • Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning
  • State Office of Student Financial Aid

Get2College staff and a community college admissions office volunteer prepare for a FAFSA Days event.

Partner Profile: Former First Lady Michelle Obama's Reach Higher Team celebrates College Signing Day

Better Make RoomThe Reach Higher team is so excited to announce that Reach Higher will be celebrating College Signing Day the first week of May. Last year, thanks to schools and nonprofit organizations around the country, there were over 1,250 events in all 50 states. This year, the team wants to activate even more schools and communities to shine a spotlight on those students who have made a commitment to pursue a postsecondary education.

For information on how to host your own College Signing Day event, please check out, download their College Signing Day toolkit and register your event on our website! While the Reach Higher team will be celebrating the national College Signing Day event on May 5th, they encourage you to host an event at a date and time that best fits your organization’s schedule.

Finally, thanks to the College Football Playoffs Foundation and, 200 lucky teachers or school counselors who (1) register their College Signing Day event on; and (2) and create a College Signing Day project on will be eligible to win a $500 grant to help pay for costs of their event!

In this issue:

National Convening
June 21-22, 2017
Washington, D.C.

Supported by ACT
and Hearst Foundation

Pledge Your #Collegiance

Encourage students to announce their college decision on Instagram and use #Collegiance between now and May 15 for a chance to win a cash prize.

Toolkit Tip:

During the spring months, state coordinators are encouraged to:

  1. Download the recently updated Host Site Recruitment Manual and customize templates to meet state needs, including a host site sign-up form.
  2. Create a target list of schools to approach.
  3. Launch recruitment efforts for new and returning 2017 host sites.
  4. Host informational sessions in-person or via webinar for potential host sites.

Go to ACAC Resources

Copyright © 2017 American College Application Campaign, All rights reserved.

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