Skip to content

ACT Newsroom & Blog

Hide All News & Blogs View All News & Blogs

#WhyApply Day to Inspire Students to Apply to College

Advocates Prepare to Boost U.S. College-Going Rate with Largest-Ever #WhyApply Day in US High Schools on Friday, Sept., 20

IOWA CITY, Iowa—An anticipated 8,000 U.S. high schools and nearly 600,000 students around the country will seek to boost college enrollment today (Friday, Sept. 20) as the American College Application Campaign (ACAC) holds #WhyApply Day.

The day will kick off a season of activities designed to encourage more students—particularly those who are from underserved populations—to apply to college.

The U.S. Dept. of Education reports the proportion of high school graduates who go straight to college has increased from 63 percent in 2000 to 67 percent in the most recent report. ACAC, an initiative of ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning, seeks to increase this percentage, especially among first-generation college students and students from low-income families (whether they pursue a certificate program, two-year degree, or four-year degree).

By removing the barriers that often prevent some students from applying to college, ACAC aims to ensure that all high school seniors complete at least one college application.

To achieve this success, state leaders, school staff, and community members will provide students with individualized support and assistance as they prepare for and complete the college application process.

On #WhyApply Day, the following will take place:

Students and supporters will use their social media accounts to answer the question “Why apply to college?” with the hashtag #WhyApply. They’ll post videos and pictures depicting their reasons or write their answers with the #WhyApply template and post a picture;

Students, educators and others will wear their college gear (t-shirt, hats, pins, etc.), hold pep rallies, and share why they believe students should apply to college and/or why they applied to college;

Advocates will hold a #WhyApply Twitter chat at 1 p.m. EDT; and

Supporters will prepare for additional rallies, support sessions and activities throughout the fall in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“We know the reasons that can stop a student from applying to college all too well,” said Jim Larimore, chief officer, ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning. “ACAC events guide students through the application process, addressing uncertainties and concerns while empowering them for success in the college-going process. Together, with the support of state leaders, school staff and community members rallying around local events and state college application campaigns, we can help ensure all seniors complete at least one college application.”

Research has shown that most U.S. colleges admit those who apply to them, discounting fears that students can’t get in.

Last year, students submitted a total of roughly 872,000 college applications during ACAC events. To date, over 2 million students have been served by ACAC; it began in 2005 with a single North Carolina high school and reached nearly 7,200 high schools in 2018.

Educators can register their high school to participate at

About ACT's CEL

ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning focuses on closing gaps in equity, opportunity and achievement for underserved populations and working learners. Through purposeful investments, employee engagement, and thoughtful advocacy efforts, the Center supports innovative partnerships, actionable research, initiatives, campaigns, and programs to further ACT’s mission of helping people achieve education and workplace success.

Follow ACT

 Facebook   Twitter   LinkedIn   Instagram   YouTube   Pinterest

About ACT

ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Grounded in 60 years of research, ACT is a trusted leader in college and career readiness solutions. Each year, ACT serves millions of students, job seekers, schools, government agencies and employers in the US and around the world with learning resources, assessments, research and credentials designed to help them succeed from elementary school through career.