In the News: 2013 College Application Week Results
The results are in! Oregon’s College Application Week broke previous records of high school students applying to college, with more than 1,250 students participating in the recent statewide event. With the number of sites increasing four-fold and an over 200% increase in seniors participating, students applied to different types of postsecondary educational options, including certificate programs, two-year degree programs, and four-year degree programs over the two week event in late 2013.
College Application Week provides dedicated time and support in schools and community-based organizations for students to apply for a variety of post-high school education options. The initiative especially focuses on reaching low-income and underrepresented students who may need additional assistance in the college application process. Oregon piloted College Application Week in 2012, starting with just 7 sites. In 2013, the program expanded to 28 locations across the state, with 1,254 seniors completing 1,467 applications. Oregon colleges and universities received the bulk of applications, but 11% of applications reached 22 other states. Students appreciated the opportunity to focus on applying to colleges, with 68% submitting their first application during the weeks’ events.
“The kids were so incredibly happy and excited about college, and I'm certain it will ease my workload come spring time,” said Danny Bradach, counselor and site coordinator for College Application Week at Parkrose High School in northeast Portland. “We had almost half of our senior class complete one or more college applications, and that's remarkable considering we had only 54% of last year's seniors apply to a 2- or 4-year school by the end of the school year.”
Education after high school is increasingly important in the 21st-century economy, codified by Oregon’s goal to have 80% of adults hold a degree by 2025. The first step, simply applying to college, can be overwhelming and off-putting for students who are low-income, underrepresented, and/or first in their family to go to college. College Application Week addresses these concerns and celebrates continuing education after high school.
“Without College Application Week I would be way more behind on applying to colleges. I would not have done it on my own, and I would be lost on how to even do it,” said one senior at South Umpqua High School in Myrtle Creek.
Admissions staff from several community colleges and universities provided instant admissions at some sites, and volunteers from the community were on hand to answer questions and keep students focused. Governor Kitzhaber proclaimed November Oregon College Application Month to recognize the importance of the event in students pursuing additional education and training after high school.
Over 500 students in grades 9-11 also participated. “Many of our sites recognize that preparing for college starts before the senior year, and held activities, workshops, and contests for students in all grades,” said Adrienne Enriquez, statewide coordinator for Oregon College Application Week. “The program is designed to be flexible so that sites can implement activities in the time and manner that best meets student, family and school needs.”
College Application Week is coordinated by the College Access Programs department of the Oregon University System, in collaboration with a steering committee representing the K-12 community, community-based organizations, and all sectors of Oregon’s higher education system. It is a member program of the American College Application Campaign®, sponsored by the American Council on Education. The American College Application Campaign® is a national effort to increase the number of first-generation and low-income students pursuing a college degree or other higher education credential, reaching students in 40 states and the District of Columbia.
“We’ve seen the impact of this program on student attitudes and behaviors both in Oregon and across the country,” said Enriquez. “Our plan is to continue to expand College Application Week and we welcome additional sites and supporters for 2014.”