Thinking of Holding an Event?
Thank you for your interest in becoming a Georgia Apply to College (GAC) high school! The college application process can be overwhelming, especially for those students who may be the first in their family to attend college. Holding a GAC event is a great way for your school to encourage all of your seniors to take the first step towards continuing their education after high school. In this section, we have provided some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the program. Please feel free to contact us by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us 404-962-3110 if your question is not answered below!
Georgia Apply to College (GAC) is part of the American Council on Education’s national initiative to increase the number of students accessing postsecondary education. In support of GAC, each year the Governor has proclaimed November Georgia Apply to College Month. During the month, Georgia high schools use activities to build school excitement around going to college and set aside a day (or days) during which all seniors have the opportunity to focus on completing at least one application for admission while receiving the encouragement and assistance of specially trained college and community volunteers. GAC has the goal of providing all Georgia high school seniors with the opportunity to apply to college using GAcollege411.org, with a focus on providing assistance to first generation and underrepresented students as they navigate the college application process. The Georgia Apply to College program partners are:
Communities in Schools of Georgia
Georgia Department of Education
Georgia Independent College Association
Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education
Georgia Student Finance Commission
Technical College System of Georgia
University System of Georgia
By holding a GAC event, you will provide your seniors with a designated time to focus on applying to college early in their senior year while receiving assistance from trained volunteers. GAC events generate excitement about going to college throughout your school, and can help create a college-bound culture for your students.
Here is some of the feedback that we have received from Site Coordinators who have previously held a GAC event at their school:
This gives many seniors a time where they can get one on one help with filling out applications. Without this I think we would miss many students who are very intimidated by applications.
It really drew an interest in the students exploring their post-secondary options. They also liked the personal attention they received during this important milestone.
GAC gives students the added support and guidance some students need. It helps motivate them to get the college applications done.
The event helps a large number of seniors focus on getting to work on the next stage of their lives.
We have many first generation graduates and those who will be attending college. The event is well organized and helps our school ensure all seniors are afforded the help they need.
I think this was a great opportunity for the seniors to get the assistance that they need in order to successfully apply to college. Applying for college can be difficult, and I think that having the event at school gave many of our seniors the confidence needed in order to apply to college. I think that the parents also appreciated that we were there to assist them during this time. I would definitely would hold this event again next year.
This was a very good method for getting students to complete their applications in a timely manner. Also, it encourages many students to complete the application process with assistance from adults who can reassure them. Some of these students probably would not apply without this assistance.
- Becoming an officially participating high school will give you access to multiple benefits and support.
- All previous GAC events have been supported by a Governor’s proclamation.
- Participating schools can receive materials such as handbooks, buttons, stickers, banners, and posters (Description of GAC program materials)
- Participating high schools have access to both Site Coordinator and Volunteer training materials.
- Officially participating schools are listed on the GAC website and often receive recognition from local media for participation.
- The GAC Committee communicates with college and community agencies to encourage them to volunteer for events held by our officially participating schools.
No, the purpose of the Georgia Apply to College program is to provide students with the opportunity to apply to college while receiving assistance from specially trained college and community volunteers. The purpose of the Georgia Apply to College program IS NOT to provide an opportunity for students to apply to college for free.
Some colleges may decide on their own to waive application fees, and some schools never charge an application fee for online submissions; however, the GAC program has no knowledge of fee waivers, and is unable to provide a list of schools without application fees.
Students are encouraged to take advantage of other fee waivers for which they may qualify, such as the College Board or ACT fee waiver. Students should check with their college of interest to determine which forms of fee waivers are accepted and the process for applying using a fee waiver.
- Register your event.
Be sure to view the “What information will I to gather before I start the GAC program registration form?” FAQ before beginning the registration form. Once you are ready, use the link at the bottom of this page to register your event. Note, if the link is not below, the registration for the next GAC month is not yet available.
- Confirm your event.
Prior to November, we will send a link to a confirmation form to all registered GAC schools. Only those schools confirming their participation will be listed on the GAC website or provided GAC program materials.
- Designate a Site Coordinator for your school.
This person will be the primary contact for GAC. The Site Coordinator will be responsible for planning a successful event and is typically a member of the school counseling team (but doesn’t have to be). If the Site Coordinator is someone outside of the school, we will ask for confirmation from the school that they are involved in the planning and support the event. We also recommend that a back-up Site Coordinator be designated to help with the planning. The Site Coordinator must be provided on the registration but it can always be changed later, if needed.
- Schedule a date, time, and location for the event.
Schools may hold official GAC events anytime during the month of November. Schools are encouraged to hold events during regular school hours. We have found that many seniors who could benefit most from participating often do not attend after school events. Most schools utilize media centers or computer labs for GAC events. Each student will need a minimum of 60 minutes on a computer in order to complete an application and more time is always better! The event date and time must be provided on the registration but it can be changed later, if needed.
- Find volunteers for your event.
We provide resources in the Site Coordinator Handbook to help with this! We share event information on our website and, for those schools requesting it, Site Coordinator contact information, on our website to help interested volunteers connect with participating schools. We also use our contacts to encourage volunteer support of local events.
- Assemble an Apply to College team at your school.
Most of the Site Coordinators from previous years have shared with us that forming a team or committee has been extremely helpful while planning Georgia Apply to College events. The team can include other counselors, teachers, parents… anyone who is interested in helping your seniors! The Site Coordinator will be the head of the team.
- Ensure that all seniors have created GAcollege411.org accounts prior to the event.
Most college applications are online and most Georgia colleges and universities have an application available on GAcollege411.org. For this reason, we strongly encourage schools to ensure that seniors have created a GAcollege411 account prior to their event.
- Help all seniors prepare to participate in the event by researching colleges, admission requirements, and gathering needed information.
Georgia Apply to College provides options to assist you in the preparation of your students such as the Georgia Apply to College Guideway (located on GAcollege411.org), the Student Prep Sheet, and suggested supplemental activities. The GAC Committee recommends 1 adult for every 5-6 computers being used. The GAC Committee will provide training to all volunteers, and will help spread the word about GAC participating schools to colleges, universities, technical schools, and other agencies, but does not coordinate volunteers for individual events. The Site Coordinator is responsible for recruiting, and confirming all volunteers for your school. We recommend that you contact your PTSA, local colleges and technical schools, civic organizations, local business leaders, Chambers of Commerce, or Partners in Education throughout your community. Many schools also utilize teachers, counselors, administrators, and other staff to supplement outside volunteers.
The GAC partner agencies and organizations make a coordinated effort to spread the word about the Georgia Apply to College program to potential volunteers across the state. This includes sharing event information with colleges and universities, Chambers of Commerce, community organizations and others in the state. Also, participating site coordinators may opt for us to post their contact information on the Get Involved as a Volunteer section of our website. By making their information available, site coordinators can make it easy for interested volunteers to get in touch with them. Site Coordinators can indicate whether they wish to have their information displayed online when they complete the application to participate or by emailing the GAC committee at email@example.com. We also provide a number of sample communications in the Site Coordinator Handbook. Schools can quickly customize the communications with their event information and send to prospective volunteers in their community.
The GAC Team has developed a variety of resources to make holding an event easy and fun. This includes online materials, such as the Site Coordinator Training video, the Site Coordinator Handbook, and the Guide for Preparing Your Students, all of which are available in the Materials for Participating High Schools section of our site. We also have an online Volunteer Training video and a Volunteer Handbook that you can encourage your volunteers to become familiar with so they will be prepared to assist during your event. Finally, provided availability of grant funding, we may provide a number of materials that we ship to participating schools, such as buttons, stickers, posters and banners.
Do I HAVE to do ALL of the activities and follow the timeline included in the Site Coordinator Handbook and in the Guide for Preparing Your Students?
Absolutely not! The materials that we have developed are designed to help make it as easy as possible for a school to plan for and hold an event. It is up to you to decide which activities will work best at your school and to adjust the timelines to meet your schedule and your school’s calendar. We only ask that all of your seniors be encouraged to take advantage of your event and that your seniors do some college research prior to your event, to get an idea of which colleges will be the best match for them and where they would like to apply. A number of schools have found the best way to hold successful GAC events is to start small the first year and then to add additional activities in following years. Following their Georgia Apply to College event, schools are required to submit the GAC Event Data Summary Sheet. The GAC Event Data Sheet, as well as the Student Sign-out and Volunteer Sign-in Sheets, are available on the Materials for Participating Schools section of our website.
Can my school complete the registration if I am not sure when in November we will be able to hold an event?
Yes! Schools registering to participate in the Georgia Apply to College provide their event date when they complete the online registration form. Schools may request to change their date by contacting the GAC Committee if a conflict arises. We will then work with you to find another date that will work. Since event date information is posted on our website, it is important that schools notify us of needed changes as soon as possible.
The Georgia Apply to College program is funded through the College Access Challenge Grant (CACG) awarded through the US Department of Education. As a grant-funded program, data is critical to our continued success and future funding. Also, this information helps us determine what changes we need to make to better meet the needs of the participating high schools, their students, and volunteers. All participating schools must ensure that:
- The school submits a GAC Event Data Summary Sheet providing the following:
- Number of students in the senior class
- Number of students participating in the event
- Number of applications started, completed and submitted during the event
- Number of volunteers supporting the event
The GAC Event Data Sheet, as well as the Student Sign-out and Volunteer Sign-in Sheets, are available on the Materials for Participating Schools section of our website.
Schools will need to provide the following on the application:
- The name and contact information for the individual at your school who will be designated as the GAC Site Coordinator, the primary person at your school who will coordinate the event
- The name and contact information for your school’s Principal or Headmaster
- The name and contact information for your school’s System Superintendent, if applicable
- Whether your school has previously held a GAC event
- Whether your school has previously applied to participate in the GAC program
- Estimated size of your rising senior class (the approximate number of seniors who will be enrolled in your school at the time of your event)
- Estimated percent of first generation college students in your rising senior class
- Estimated percent of economically disadvantaged student in your rising senior class
- The graduation rate from your previous academic year (i.e. if you are completing the application in March 2013, we need your 2012 graduation rate)
- Estimated percent of your previous class who attended college
- Number of teachers and staff employed at your school
- Your requested event date (if you need to change it later, that’s okay!)
- Your event start and end times (if you need to change these later, that’s okay!)
- Confirmation that you high school principal/headmaster will help ensure that ALL student are provided the opportunity and encourage to participate in your school’s GAC event
- Confirmation that your school will ship back to the GAC Committee all materials sent to your school if your school decides not to hold an event after we have shipped your materials
- Confirmation that your school will make every effort to provide the GAC Committee with data related to your event
- Number of the GAC materials requested (Description of available materials)
Who can I speak with in order to learn more about the Georgia Apply to College program and what it takes to hold a successful event?
You are always welcome to contact the Georgia Apply to College Committee by calling us at 404-962-3110 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each year, in early spring, the Georgia Apply to College program registration form is made available on the Georgia Apply to College website. If the registration form is currently available, the link to the form will be at the bottom of this page. If the link is not presently available, please check back!