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 or call 770.724.9065 if your question is not answered below.
- What is the Georgia Apply to College program?
- Why should my school hold a Georgia Apply to College event?
- What do veteran GAC site coordinators say about the program?
- Does the Georgia Apply to College program provide a way for students to apply to college free?
- What would I have to do to get ready for an event?
- What does the GAC Committee do to help me find volunteers for my event?
- 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?
- Can my school complete the registration if I am not sure when in November we will be able to hold an event?
- 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?
- Ok, I want to participate! What do I do now?
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 high school, college and community volunteers.
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 postsecondary 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.
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.
- Designate a Site Coordinator for your school and register your event.
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. Once you are ready, register your event.
- 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 and, for those schools requesting it, Site Coordinator contact information, 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.
- Help all seniors prepare to participate in the event by researching colleges, admission requirements, and gathering needed information.
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. 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.
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. All of these supplies and materials are available to download.
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 can change their date if a conflict arises. However, since event date information is posted on our website, it is important that schools notify us of needed changes as soon as possible.
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 770.724.9065.
Each year, the Georgia Apply to College program registration form is made available on GAfutures. If the registration form is not available, please check back.