Resources

Navigating the steps to college can be confusing, especially during the senior year as students apply to college, complete the FAFSA, make their decisions and arrive on campus. The following are resources to support counselors, college advisers, students and their families during the senior year of the college-going process. Use the tags/titles below to help you search for resources based on if you're a student (or supportive family member) or if you are a school counselor/college advisor.

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Why Join ACAC?

This one-pager explains why high schools should consider signing up with their state campaign to host an ACAC event. Join the national movement!

Next Steps for Students Applying

This one pager provides next steps after completing your college applications.

Host Site FAQ

Frequently asked questions by interested host sites regarding expectations and requirements.

10 Steps to Applying for Students

One pager reviewing 10 steps of the college application process.

SPANISH: Pre-College & Career Readiness Curriculum for Students and their Families

This curriculum provides students and their families an opportunity to become familiar with the language and processes associated with obtaining a postsecondary education diploma or credential. This manual is intended for school counselors and college access professionals who work with students to identify interests and lay the academic foundation for their careers and life.

Student Resource Guide: College Research Worksheet

A tool to help students research and identify the colleges that are a good match and fit.

College Application FAQ

We took ten of the most common questions students ask about the college application process and compiled the answers into a brief 2-pager.

Prevent Summer Melt

Research indicates that 10 percent to 44 percent of high school graduates who’ve been accepted to college and intend to go don’t actually make it there come fall.

#WhyApply Sample Social Media Content

Need social media content ideas for encouraging students to apply to college? Check out this sample list. Use them directly or modify to fit your school or organization voice.

Facebook Photo Effect – WhyApply and Applied

Show your support of the American College Application Campaign by using one of two campaign Facebook Camera Effects with your profile picture. Follow the link and search either “Why Apply” or “I Applied”.

#IApplied Selfie Printout

Ask students to share on social media when they apply to college. Download and print copies of the #IApplied printout for all of your students. Share the photos on social media.

#WhyApply selfie printout

Join us on social media with your #WhyApply to college statement. Download the printout, write your answer, take a picture and post it to your social media accounts. Ask all colleagues to join the effort by taking a #WhyApply photo.

ACAC Volunteer Support Tips

Parents and community members are encouraged to volunteer with their local College Application Campaign efforts. This document provides guidelines on how volunteers can support local events.

College Application Mayoral Proclamation

College Application Campaign state coordinators often seek a gubernatorial proclamation for the state’s initiative. A mayoral proclamation for your school’s event is a wonderful complement. If there are multiple schools in your area implementing an event, be sure to coordinate so the proclamation is accurate and reflects all participating schools.

Ask Me! Buttons, Badges and Stickers

Use these templates to create an easy and low-cost way for volunteers and school staff to identify themselves as a resource to students during your College Application event. Use the template to print on stickers or labels.

“Ask Me!” About It Signs

This is a quick and low-cost way to create awareness and excitement for your school’s College Application event. Send the “Ask Me!” sign to all staff members in the school – ask them to customize it and display it outside their classroom or office.

Application Fee Waiver Backgrounder

Students who are eligible for fee waivers associated with college entrance exams (SAT or ACT) are also usually eligible for college application fee waivers. Talk with students about this payment option early in the school year. This document provides additional details on the fee waiver process.

ACAC Host Site Timeline and Checklist

The timeline and checklist is a quick glance at the necessary steps to implement a College Application event. It brings together a three-part site coordinator manual.

Engaging with Social Media During College Application Campaign

This one-pager shares information on the American College Application Campaign social media efforts and encourages schools, community members, and students to connect and share on social media.

Student Resource Guide: College Application

A tool to help students plan for and complete college application forms.

Financial Aid: Paying for College and University

Featuring simple explanations, checklists, and a cost comparison worksheet, this FREE eBook walks you through the process of finding financial aid, applying for assistance, and choosing the college that best fits your goals and your budget.

How to Avoid the Senior Slide (senior year eBook)

It’s easy to “slack off” during senior year—or to get overwhelmed with all the craziness of planning life after graduation. This free eBook, from the college and career readiness experts at ACT, can help by giving you useful tips for making the last year of high school count.

5 Questions Students Must Ask While College and Career Planning: Junior Year Edition

Your junior year of high school is “crunch time” for figuring out what comes after graduation. This FREE eBook, from the college and career readiness experts at ACT, gives you useful tips, advice, and strategies for planning a path to college and career.

Before, During, and After: 3 Stages of Taking a College Entrance Exam

You’re about to take a college readiness assessment, and you’re probably wondering how to prepare for it. This FREE eBook, from the makers of the ACT test, helps you plan, analyze, and prepare for your exam.

Planning for Your Future

Planning for college and career can feel overwhelming.  This FREE eBook will help students take what they know about their interests, goals, and skills, then pair it with their GPA and ACT test scores to make informed decisions about their future.

A Guide to Help Plan Your Future (ACT score report)

When it comes to making plans for the future, it’s hard to know where to start. This FREE eBook explains the sections of the student’s ACT score report and how it can determine their college readiness, help identify their strengths and weaknesses, and help put students in the best position to win a scholarship.

Form Your Future Outreach Toolkit

Most students don’t understand federal financial aid or think they’ll get any. The truth is that MOST students are eligible. Help spread the word! Download the Form Your Future outreach toolkit which includes logos, sample social media content, sample radio live reads, promotional flyer and morning announcement scripts.

Six Things to Do After Filing the FASFA

This resource walks students through what to expect after filing the FAFSA and any critical next steps to complete.

Creating and Using Your FASFA ID

You will need an FSA ID to access Federal Student Aid’s online systems, and it will serve as your legal signature. This resource explains how to establish and use your FSA ID.

FAFSA Resource Guide

Not sure how to complete the FAFSA? This resource guide will walk you through step-by-step on how to complete the FAFSA including how to establish your FSA ID, working with undocumented students, understanding dependent vs independent students, and changes to the 2017-18 FAFSA.

Form Your Future

Form Your Future is a national campaign organized by the National College Access Network to help students get money for college, no matter what. Through social media and online toolkits, the campaign shows students their great odds of getting financial aid when they file the FAFSA, and supports the professionals who help them do so.

Common App Ready Toolkit

The Common Application offers the Common App Ready Toolkit, a comprehensive training resource for counselors and college advisors. It is designed to be a powerful, flexible advising tool to be used at the pace and needs of each school community. Resources are also available in Spanish.

Pre-College and Career Readiness Curriculum for Students and Their Families

This curriculum provides students and their families an opportunity to become familiar with the language and processes associated with obtaining a postsecondary education diploma or credential. This manual is intended for school counselors and college access professionals who work with students to identify interests and lay the academic foundation for their careers and life.

ACAC Host Site Coordinator Materials

The American College Application Campaign provides state and local level resources to support state Campaign efforts. The Site Coordinator Materials provide an overview of the Campaign at the school-level including a timeline and checklist to guide site coordinators as they plan the school’s College Application event.

ACAC State Coordinators

The American College Application Campaign reaches all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Find your state coordinator to get connected and to learn more about you state Campaign program.

American College Application Campaign

The American College Application Campaign (ACAC) is a national initiative designed to increase the number of first generation and low-income students who pursue a postsecondary education. The Campaign is conducted state by state. Host sites assist high school seniors as they navigate the college admission process with a goal of every participating students submitting one […]

Research: Text messaging and peer mentor outreach

This article takes a look at summer nudge and if personalized text messages and peer mentor outreach increase college-going among low-income high school graduates.

How an Artificially Intelligent Virtual Assistant Helps Students Navigate the Road to College

This white paper explores the use of conversational artificial intelligence to efficiently support thousands of would-be college freshmen through the summer transition from high school to college.

Summer Melt Handbook

The Strategic Data Project (SDP) Summer Melt Handbook is a resource for education leaders interested in examining whether summer melt is occurring in their agency.

Easing the Transition to College

This article discusses how communities can ease the transition to college for graduating high school students and for adults.

Emerging Technologies: Chatbot

To better communicate with students, some campuses are exploring the use of chatbots. A chatbot is a service, powered by rules, that a person interacts with via a chat interface. There are two types of chatbots, one functions based on a set of rules, and the other more advanced version uses machine learning.

Preventing College Plans from Melting Away

Students who graduate from high school with a college acceptance in hand are seen to have “made it.” Yet new research is revealing that fewer students than we might expect complete the enrollment process and start their post-secondary education in the fall.

Transition from High School Graduation to College Enrollment

Component 8 in this PDF is the Transition from High School Graduation to College Enrollment

Up Next Assets

Up Next is an effective way to get students the tips and help they need to succeed in college. Want to help us get information to students headed to college? These assets will equip you to get the word out.

Better Make Room Partner Assets

Sometimes, you’ll need tools to be an advocate for Better Make Room. These assets include everything you’ll need to start a club, put on an event or share our mission online.

Design for Good

Designers have a special skill set. You can build movements, generate excitement and spread messages in a clear and wonderfully visual way. We’re asking designers to work with Better Make Room to amplify student voices in a design-for-good project that generates scholarships for students of all backgrounds throughout the nation.

College Signing Day: Organizations Kit

Independent organizations in the community are a backbone of what we’re doing for students everywhere. Lend your powerful voice and send an important message to your audience.

College Signing Day: School Kit

Do you work at a school? As an educational organization, your participation can help your students see the bright future in store for them and take ownership of the next chapter in their story.

Our Partners

In March 2017, ACT's Center for Equity in Learning convened a working group to strengthen partnerships between the national campaigns supporting high school students as they navigate the path to college.