University of Delaware
The third annual Delaware College Application Month, a partnership between the University of Delaware's Institute for Public Administration and the Delaware Department of Education, will kick off on Oct. 13 and run through Nov. 21.

College applications

IPA, state announce Delaware College Application Month project

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9:36 a.m., Oct. 10, 2014--The third annual Delaware College Application Month (CAM), a partnership between the University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration (IPA) and the Delaware Department of Education, will kick off on Oct. 13 and run through Nov. 21.

During CAM, schools provide seniors time during the day to complete and submit at least one college application. Special focus is placed on assisting low-income students and those who otherwise may not have considered applying to college.

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Combined with the typical stressors students face, the college search and application process can be overwhelming — even more so for low-income or first-generation students. And the stakes are high. 

U.S. Census data indicate that by 2018, 59 percent of all Delaware jobs will require postsecondary training. Recent studies show that college graduates have greater job opportunities, a lower unemployment rate, and earn approximately $30,000 more per year than those who do not pursue higher education. 

Delaware piloted the program in 2012 with two schools — Lake Forest and Smyrna high schools — and expanded it last year to include 20 high schools. 

This year all of the state’s district and charter schools have joined the program, with each school choosing a week within the six-week period to hold event days during which students receive the hands-on assistance of school staff and community volunteers. 

Past participants have reported that they would not have applied to college without the support offered through Delaware CAM. 

Community volunteers play an essential role in the program. Last year more than 220 volunteers from 47 colleges and universities, businesses, and community organizations helped students navigate the college application process. 

“When community leaders dedicate their time and energy to volunteer, it shows our students that their hard work and aspirations for the future are being recognized and supported,” says Lisa Moreland, IPA project co-manager. 

Volunteer sign-up is easy at the program’s page on VolunteerSpot. Volunteers simply choose the school, date and time that work best with their schedules.

After signing up, volunteers receive a confirmation email from the Delaware CAM Planning Team asking them to review a brief volunteer training webinar and handbook. These two resources give volunteers an idea of what to expect when volunteering and include sample college applications.

“Being an expert on the college application process is not required to volunteer,” explains Kelly Sherretz, IPA project co-manager. “We are looking for volunteers who have a positive attitude and are willing to pitch in where they’re needed: greeting students, helping them to locate online applications, reminding students to print confirmations, and congratulating them on their accomplishment.” 

Taylor Hawk, a senior public policy, political science and English triple major at UD, volunteered at five schools last year. “Every time I helped a student complete an application, their excitement was contagious. Volunteering during College Application Month is an awesome, hands-on way to help make a difference in the lives of young people throughout the state.”

Delaware College Application Month is part of the American Council on Education’s American College Application Campaign (ACAC), a nationwide effort to assist high school seniors in the college application process and increase college attendance. 

The campaign started with a pilot school in North Carolina in 2005. In 2014, all 50 states and the District of Columbia plan to host events.

Those with interest can visit DelawareGoesToCollege.org to learn more about Delaware CAM and sign up to volunteer.

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University of Delaware
Communications and Public Affairs
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publicaffairs@udel.edu

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