Harrisburg, Pa. -- October is College Application Month, and the American College Application Campaign (ACAC) seeks to increase the number of students who are applying to college early in their senior year with a focus on first-generation college students, students from low-income families, and students who may not otherwise apply to college. 

“Preparing for college can be an exciting and nerve-wracking time for students, especially those who face barriers or are unfamiliar with the process,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Noe Ortega. “It is critically important for educators to provide them with guidance and resources to submit their applications, ease their anxiety, and help prepare them for a meaningful and successful postsecondary experience.”

During the Pennsylvania College Application Campaign (PCAC), students at participating high schools will receive assistance with their college applications during the school day with the goal of each participating student submitting at least one college application.

Many colleges will often waive the application fee during the application events. During PCAC, students may apply to any of the commonwealth’s community colleges, independent colleges, and public universities. Pennsylvania schools interested in hosting events can submit a form online. In 2019, PCAC had 35 events, and a total of 2,621 students submitted 2,984 college applications.

“There are many students who think that college is not for them. By urging them to apply, we are starting to get them to think about the possibility that maybe they could go to college,” said Michael Dotts, Higher Education Associate at PDE. “Submitting an application is the first step towards attending college, and we know the economic and societal benefits of going to college and earning a degree.”

ACAC began in 2005 in a school district in North Carolina and soon grew to become a nationwide effort. In 2014, the Pennsylvania joined as PCAC and hosted events in high schools across the commonwealth encouraging students to apply to college.

During fall 2020, more than 5,600 high schools nationally hosted college application events resulting in over 363,000 students submitting more than 625,000 college applications.

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This story was compiled by an NCPA staff reporter from submitted news. To see a list of our editorial staff please visit our staff directory.