College Decision Day is a key event of our College Access for All initiative that celebrates the achievements of graduating seniors and promotes a college-going culture at all schools. College Signing Day is held on May 1 to coincide with the date that most seniors must inform a college of their plans to enroll. The Office of Postsecondary Readiness (OPSR) is pleased to announce our annual citywide campaign to provide our schools with the resources to support seniors to make an informed college decision, celebrate them for their postsecondary plans, and encourage younger students and families to prepare for college as early as possible. Schools can register here to join us as part of this exciting effort!
Benefits of College Signing Day
- To recognize all students for their postsecondary plans
- To support students to make a decision that is the best match and fit for each student
- To strengthen a school’s college-going culture and wrap up the school year with a celebration
Signing Day Event Ideas
There are many ways to celebrate our college-bound students. Activities to help students make a college decision should happen throughout the month of April, leading to a culminating “Signing Day” event on/around May 1st. For example, these activities can be:
- Meeting with students to help them compare financial aid award letters and other information that can help your students when making a decision of where to enroll in the fall.
- Hosting an assembly, pep rally, pizza party or school wide celebrations on May 1st.
- Promote the Day! Hang up posters and banners, have your students tell us where they plan to enroll by using #CollegeAccessforAll #CollegeDecisionDay #IDecided hashtags on Facebook and Twitter.
- Have fun!
Resources for School Staff
5 Things You Can Do to Help Students Make Informed College Decision
- Ensure that all students’ FAFSA and TAP forms are accurate and updated.Review FAFSA and TAP filing status for all seniors at your school and review individual students’ Student Aid Report (SAR) and make corrections as necessary.
- Help students and families review and compare financial aid award letters to determine which colleges are affordable and a good financial fit.
- Connect students with an admissions or financial aid representative and ask questions regarding the financial aid award letter, appeal process (sample letter here), and/or or waiving the enrollment deposit fee, if applicable.
- Help students and families review and compare college’s characteristics such as graduation rate, location, size, and distance from home, population demographics and available majors. Tools such as the USDOE College Scorecard are designed to help compare college costs and other outcomes.
- Help students and families consider which college environment offers best academic and social match.
Supporting Seniors who have not yet Applied to College or may have an Incomplete Application:
- The CUNY Fall 2017 Admission Application is still available and applications will be reviewed on a space availability basis. Click here for more information.
- For additional colleges and universities still accepting applications visit here.
Resources to Help you Plan a College Signing Day:
- NYC College Decision Day Toolkit (Word Version, pdf version) will provide you with the following tools:
- How to support your students to make informed decisions
- Checklists and event ideas for hosting successful May 1st activities
- Resources to support your student enroll and transition successfully to college
- OPSR will mail registered schools: posters, banners, and stickers to help you promote your College Decision Day event at your school.
New York State College Signing Day website features a financial aid comparison tool to help students and families understand financial aid award packages provided by the colleges.
- National Better Make Room College Signing Day resources: Toolkit and registration and speaker request form. In 2016, New York City was honored to host First Lady Michelle Obama for College Signing Day event in Harlem! This video and press release show highlights from this event.
Resources for Students and Families
Steps to Support your Journey from Making a College Decision to the First Day of Class
- Decide: Talk to your family, teachers, counselors, college students/alumni, and read newspaper articles like this to help you make your decision about where to enroll.
- Enroll: Follow the directions in the official acceptance letter/email you received from your college. Also look at resources such as these matriculation guides which provide information to help you enroll successfully at CUNY, SUNY and NY Private colleges and universities. Please note: updated guides will available by late April.
- Be Prepared for the First Day of Class: Don’t “melt” this summer! Make sure to check your email for instructions about college placement exams, orientation and other strict deadlines you must meet before you begin classes.
- Help your family prepare for your college experience – this isn’t just a life change for you, but also for them.
Be Social! Join the Online Conversation!
Promote #CollegeDecisionDay #IDecided in NYCDOE’s Facebook and Twitter pages
- Does your school have Twitter or Facebook profiles? College Decision Day can be a good opportunity to connect with students and families. Before creating a social media profile for your school, learn about NYC DOE Social Media Guidelines.
- Follow us on Twitter. Use our handles to mention/tag us in your tweets. Feel free to use and adapt any of the sample tweets and Facebook posts found on page 13 OPSR Toolkit.
- We want to see your pictures/videos! Print this flyer and have your students tell us where they plan to attend this Fall. Tag your photos with #CollegeAccessforAll #CollegeDecisionDay or @NYCschools for your opportunity to be shared.
- If your school is not on social media, send encouraging messages, photos and captions to Kaity Modesto at Kmodesto@schools.nyc.gov and we will share them on official NYC DOE social media. Don’t forget to collect a media consent form if you haven’t already.