Coordinator Training Questions Answered
Thank you to everyone who was able to participate in one of the coordinator training webinars this week. For those who weren't able to join us, you can do so here or from a link on the Coordinator Resource page. As promised, I took note of all the questions that were asked during those sessions, and I present you with a compilation of those questions and the best answers we've got, arranged by topic. Please don't hesitate to continue to ask questions!
Timing of the Event
Can we extend our events into the evening or weekends? As you know, there are just 3 hard-and-fast rules for structuring your event. The first of those is that it must take place during your regular operating hours. (#2: you must open your event to all graduating seniors; #3: you must provide the required data following your event) If your community will be best be served by allowing your event to extend into other times, you are welcome to do so. However, you must also be sure that you are fulfilling the first two rules -- all of your graduating seniors must be offered the opportunity to participate in your event during regular operating hours.
What is the average amount of time students spend on a college application during CAW? If students arrive prepared, they can usually complete a community college application in 20 minutes or less and a 4-yr university or college application in about an hour.
What do you do with students when they've completed their applications (or if they have already applied or aren't interested)? Encourage students to get started on their OSAC scholarship application. The timing is perfect - OSAC applications go live on November 1st, and CAW starts just after that. Paying for college is an essential component to students being able to attend, so we think it's a natural fit for students to work on those applications while you've got them as a captive audience. As for students who aren't interested, we'll leave that to your discretion with this reminder: we believe in helping students keep as many doors open as possible, and not applying to college closes the door to having the opportunity to attend.
Can we open the event to everyone, even if they are not seniors? The focus of Oregon's initiative is on graduating seniors, and you will be required to report on the number of seniors who have participated in your event. If you feel confident that you can serve your seniors well while also including other members of your community, feel free to do so! In the past, we have had sites offer an evening event for parents who were interested in going back to school.
What about younger students? We encourage you to offer some fun, college-readiness activities for all students if you've got the time and ability to do so. One of the things we've heard is that the more noise you make about the event, the more excited younger students get about applying to college. They'll be clamoring for a time when it's their turn!
Are we responsible for finding all of our own volunteers? In a word, yes. However, we do know that there are community members around the state who know about College Application Week and are interested in volunteering but aren't connect to a school or organization that is hosting an event this year. If you use VolunteerSpot and link your free account to our premium account, we can post your volunteer needs & opportunities on the volunteer page of our website. We've created a step-by-step tutorial to help you link your FREE account and set up your sign-ups for volunteers. We will be sending notices out to potential volunteers, including college personnel, soon - so getting this set up sooner, rather than later, will mean you have the greatest access to a volunteer pool. Still, please keep in mind that you should actively recruiting from your pool of potential volunteers.
Do you have recommendations for recruiting volunteers if we need background checks for each of them? Our best recommendation is to start recruiting your volunteers now! If you plan to list your volunteer opportunities on our website, VolunteerSpot does provide an option for you to ask specific questions of your volunteers - including whether or not they already have clearance to volunteer in your school or organization. You can also set it up to easily send them information about what they need to to do become eligible to volunteer. You know your district best - think about the time required to approve volunteers when you determine the last possible date for signing up new volunteers to participate in your event.
Will the volunteer list on the CAW site include just these our CAW events, or will it also include other events for our school? You can certainly use VolunteerSpot to manage your volunteers for any school events. It's a pretty robust tool, and we think it could work for all of your volunteer needs. However, only your CAW events will show up on the CAW website. (One of the steps you'll make to ensure that happens is adding Adrienne as a co-coordinator for your event in the VolunteerSpot interface. You'll likely only want to do that for your CAW events!)
When can we expect to receive them? Our plan is to get them to you by mid-October. If you are a GEAR UP school, you will receive your items at the upcoming meetings. Others will receive theirs by mail (or special delivery/drop-off, depending on your location) as soon as we can get them out.
Have any colleges agreed to waive their application fee for this event? No. And we have not asked them to. College Application Week is not intended to be a free application week. That said, low-income students who qualify for fee waivers or deferrals should use them. Please be sure to have a supply of these forms printed and ready for eligible students on the day of your event. You can find both the NACAC fee waiver form and the Oregon public university fee deferral form on the Coordinator Resources page. You can also find a list of all the application fees on the Applications page, where you'll notice that many colleges in Oregon do not charge an application fee at all.
Is there a limit on the number of waivers a student can use? If you are using the NACAC fee waivers, no. (College Board and ACT both place limits on the number of waivers they allow eligible students to use for college application fees.) If your students are applying to one of Oregon's 7 public universities, they will be limited to using 2 fee deferral forms.
Are the resources provided for students, parents, volunteers, and donors available in Spanish? Not yet. This is something the steering committee has deemed a priority as we continue to grow the program, but it has not been done yet. Much thanks, though, to Victoria from SOESD who provided the translation she produced, the Student and Family Letter. If you have translated any other documents into Spanish or any other languages, please email them to Adrienne, so that we can share them with your colleagues.
Where can we find information about what's worked at other sites? The site coordinator handbook has qutie a "helpful hints" and "ideas that work" identified within it. These tips came from sites around Oregon and the rest of the country. We also are sharing ideas via our CAW blog. You can easily pull up all of these sharing posts by clicking on the blue or green icons. Sometimes we also share especially exciting ideas on our Facebook page. Please remember - we can only share the ideas that are shared with us! Please let us know of anything you're doing that you think others might benefit from. Any and all ideas are welcome (especially the little ones that you think "everyone's already thought of this, I'm sure!" - it's possible you've had a flash of brilliance that noone else has had yet, but we surely want everyone to know about it!)
If a student has already completed an application prior to the event, can we count that in our data? Please don't. We want to count the total number of applications that are submitted during your event, and that's the number our friends at the American Council on Education need for their record-keeping at the national level, as well. But please know that the Student Survey asks students to identify whether they've completed any applications prior to those they submitted during CAW and if they plan to complete any more after the event is over.
What percentage of our students need to complete the survey for us to receive aggregate data about our site? We need at least 50% of your participants to fill out the survey for us to be able to provide you with data about your students. Last year we had about 67% of students complete the survey, and we'd really like to have at least as many do so this year. More would be even better!