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ACT Launches 2022 #WhyApply Campaign to Help Students Overcome College Application Hurdles

Half a million students expected to participate in American College Application Campaign that expands access to college degrees

IOWA CITY, Iowa (September 16, 2022) — Today, ACT’s American College Application Campaign (ACAC) launched its annual #WhyApply campaign, which celebrates college application season and students who are beginning their college journeys by applying to college.

“#WhyApply is a signal to the Class of 2023 that they have a support network when applying to college,” said Lisa King, director of the ACAC, which runs #WhyApply. “We know the reasons that can stop a student from applying to college all too well: systemic barriers creating inequality in college access; doubts about whether a degree is worth the cost; fears about the application process; confusion about how to apply; or concerns they can’t afford a college application fee or the cost of college. #WhyApply gives students living proof that they are surrounded by adults who have dealt with the same issues and who are in their corner to help them succeed.”

The #WhyApply effort is sponsored by the American College Application Campaign, a major initiative of ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning, and works alongside thousands of high schools across the country each fall to host events supporting students through the college application process.

“The college application process can be confusing and daunting for students, and ACT will continue trying to reach each high school senior to help them with submitting at least one college application,” said ACT CEO Janet Godwin. “#WhyApply is an annual call to action for all of us to work harder to increase the number of first-generation college students and students from low-income families pursuing a college degree or other higher education credential.”

This year, 6,000 high schools are expected to host application completion events reaching nearly 500,000 students between September and December as part of the campaign, which will increase the number of first-generation college students and students from low-income families pursuing a college degree or other higher education credential.

“Showing students that others have already applied and completed college and that this does not need to be scary can go a long way toward removing barriers for many students,” said Erica Hampton, a school counselor at Liberty High School in West Virginia, at an event marking the launch of this year’s campaign. “And we all can help and play a role in removing barriers by creating an atmosphere where students feel comfortable being themselves; where they can ask questions and not feel like this is something they should already know.”

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. Since the national campaign’s inception in 2005, nearly 4 million students have applied to college.

On #WhyApply Day:
  • educators, community leaders, and supporters will use their social media accounts to answer the question “What did you learn in 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.) and hold pep rallies or decorate the school to celebrate the college application process; and 
  • supporters will prepare for additional college preparation activities, support sessions, and application completion events throughout the fall in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Educators can register their high school to participate at Digital assets to participate in #WhyApply Day are available at


About the American College Application Campaign

The American College Application Campaign® (ACAC) is a national initiative designed to increase the number of first-generation college students and students from low-income families who pursue a postsecondary degree. The purpose is to assist high school seniors as they navigate the college application and admissions process and ensure each participating student submits at least one admissions application.

About ACT

ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Grounded in more than 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. Visit us at

Contact: ACT Media Relations;