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Celebrating College Signing Day 2022

By: Cindy Jara, digital communications manager, Reach Higher at Common App and a first-generation 2020 graduate from the University of Florida

This post originally appeared in the April 2022 American College Application Campaign newsletter.

College Signing Day is very special to Reach Higher. In spring 2014, our team planned the first national College Signing Day in San Antonio, where the mayor and the entire city had been formally celebrating their graduating seniors for years. We wanted to lift up the great work happening in the city and also set an example for others to follow. Eight years later, we see, now more than ever before, the importance of a postsecondary education.

College Signing Day celebrates all students committed to pursuing an education beyond high school. Whether they plan to attend a community college, a four-year university, a certificate program, the military, or any other education after high school, College Signing Day shows full support of students making decisions for their future. That’s the entire reason why former First Lady Michelle Obama started Reach Higher and Better Make Room: to inspire students to complete their education and own their future.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama at College Signing Day at UCLA in 2019, honoring students for their pursuit of a college education or career in the military. (Photo: Chuck Kennedy)

This year, especially, we need to come together to help students do just that. Since the start of the pandemic, nearly one million students – 938,000 students to be exact – have been accepted to college but chose not to enroll. And this school year alone, only 37.6% of high school students have filed a FAFSA since February 2022. Studies show that job opportunities across the next decade will be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for people with a high school diploma or less. That’s why hosting your own local College Signing Day can be a life-changing event for students; it shows them that it’s never too late to apply to college, the military, or a certificate program.

There have been more than 5,000 College Signing Days across the nation celebrating millions of students over the years. And when schools and offices had to turn to remote work, we all worked together to celebrate the class of 2020 and the class of 2021 virtually. In the past two years, College Signing Day has had more than 515.8 million social media impressions, 272.6 million social media accounts reached, and 47 states that hosted an event (whether in person, online, or hybrid). We can’t wait to see how we can all come together this year to celebrate the class of 2022.

Si, Starr, Nia, Vicky, and Addy celebrated College Signing Day 2021 with us by sharing their commitments to Syracuse University, Rutgers University, University of Southern California, and University of Illinois, respectively. (Credit: DevinePhotography_ on Instagram)

To help get you started, we’ve created a brand new College Signing Day website and toolkit with the steps educators and communities can take to host their own College Signing Day events. We’ve made sure to include ways to celebrate in person, virtually, and on social media because we know that each community has been affected by the pandemic differently. Not only that, but we’ve created social media resources, in-person accessories, and more on our website. Sign up for our College Signing Day newsletter where you’ll get the first look at all of the new resources and be the first to know how we’ll be celebrating College Signing Day on the national level. Be sure to follow us on social media (@BetterMakeRoom on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok) and check out our #CollegeSigningDay Twitter hashtag for updates.

We are so excited to celebrate together in May, and we can’t wait to see all the ways that you do, too!