When surveyed, over 90 percent of middle school students say they plan to go to college, yet only about two-thirds of students actually attend. So why the drastic difference between dreams and reality? One reason is the college application process itself can become a roadblock for many of these students.
In order to help high school seniors navigate this oft-times complex process, the Utah System of Higher Education is coordinating an expanded pilot of Utah College Application Week, to be held at 49 schools in 15 districts throughout Utah during Nov. 10 – 21, 2014. The purpose of College Application Week is to provide high school seniors in partner schools the opportunity to submit at least one viable college application during the school day. A special emphasis is placed on low-income and first-generation students.
In addition to our K-12 partners, many of our USHE institutions are rolling up their sleeves and helping to ensure the success of College Application Week as well. For the next two weeks, we’ll highlight the efforts of some of the USHE institutions that are going above and beyond to help high school seniors in their regions get excited about and apply to college. This week, we’ll focus on the University of Utah, Salt Lake Community College, and Dixie State University, which will participate in the following ways:
University of Utah’s Presidential Ambassadors (students who work on campus projects that are aligned with President Pershing’s goals for the university) are speaking at the kickoff assembly for both Granger and Kearns High School, and are also hosting a college workshop for ninth graders at Granger High School. The Utah College Advising Corps (UCAC) is participating in all twelve of the UCAC high schools, and is involved in all aspects of planning and implementation of each school’s College Application Week activities. They also created special student events before College Application Week, and during the day of their event they support all students and the process. The Office of Equity and Diversity will be assisting six schools throughout the Salt Lake valley, and the U of U TRIO outreach and student services program will be supporting the students at East, West, Highland, and Kearns High School. Counselors in the U of U Office of Admissions will reach out to schools and help the administration and students which participate in College Application Week.
The SLCC Gear UP staff will work with Taylorsville and Kearns high schools to offer support during College Application Week, and the SLCC TRIO program will support its partner schools during College Application Week as well. College Application Week students will be offered the new Summer Bridge program in summer of 2015, which helps high school graduates prepare for college and connect
with other future students. The SLCC outreach and recruitment staff will support Salt Lake City metro area high schools in accomplishing the goal of completing college apps for all seniors. SLCC will make a deliberate effort to follow-up with applicants who applied during College Application Week to ensure these students have a smooth transition to secure financial aid, scholarships and complete admissions requirements.
DSU’s New Student Programs office—which oversees recruitment and outreach to new students—has assigned a representative from DSU to be at each College Application Week event. DSU will have Student Ambassadors promote the event through social media to boost turnout everywhere. During the College Application Week, DSU will have representatives traveling to the various high schools to assist with the application process.