After I posted a picture of my College Application Day “exit ticket,” I got numerous comments and direct messages about tips for holding such an event!
We’ve done this event for a handful of years now and figured a lot out along the way of what works for us and what doesn’t… so, before you implement, know that your event will get better and better each year you do it.
I tried to break down my planning into big steps, but BE ADVISED… it’s a big undertaking:
1- Reserve a place to hold your event like your school library. Reserve Chromebooks or computers or a lab if your school uses a process like that.
2- If your library has a Promethean board or somewhere to project your computer, create slides with helpful information to put on a PowerPoint upfront to cycle through. Here are a few of the slides I used:
12- Plan for your whole team (if you have more than just yourself) to be all hands on deck for this event all day. The more, the merrier!
13- Decorate with all of those extra pennants you’ve been piling up. Set up tables with all of that free college stuff you haven’t known what to do with. When students finished their application(s), we encouraged them to browse and take pamphlets and college swag with them before they left. We cleaned out so much of our stuff, and it got in the hands of students– just where it should go!
14- This year, we added a speaker and had music going all day. This actually brought a lot of fun to the event. It kept the energy in the room and gave us a boost when we were tired of being on our feet all day! Here is a sample playlist you can use to put on shuffle with some clean music.
15- Print out some props for a photo booth! You could order a backdrop from a company like Vista Print (I ordered a 4’x6′, indoor, vinyl banner), or you could just set it up in front of a solid-colored wall. I hung mine with command strip hooks like these. I printed out these props, cut them out, and glued popsicle sticks to the back of them. Simple!
17- The following day, handwrite thank you notes to your college reps… especially if they’re good! You want them to come back!
18- Post pictures on your school’s social media. Celebrate students! Make a new bulletin board!
For some other conversations around the school:
- encourage your staff to wear college shirts and have conversations each class
- have your faculty print and hang this outside their door or in their classroom
- download my College Bundle (see a detailed description of what’s included)
Even without big, flash things like I had a vision for… the event served its purpose. About 200 students applied for college. As I’m working on my ASCA U Specialist training for College Admissions Specialist, I see the value in events like this to change a student’s mindset and encourage them to a place where they have a college-going identity to inspire college access (check out the book “Ready, Willing, and Able.”)
If you’re still not sold on running a College Application Day at your school, check out this blog post on “3 Ways to Use College Application Day to Increase Student Confidence Around College Applications.”
Want a free resource to make your College Application Day bigger and better? Download this free College Application Day Spotify playlist to bring the fun to your event! When you download, you’ll join my Clique… my email list where you’ll receive other freebies, tips, and updates from my Counselor Clique!