A group of students holding a banner

Students at Ke Kula ʻo ʻEhunuikaimalino on the Big Island participated in Hawaiʻi P-20’s College Application and Exploration Season event on October 24, 2012. (Photo courtesy Hawaiʻi P-20)

Hawaiʻi P-20 Partnerships for Education has launched College Application and Exploration Season, an initiative designed to assist high school students to explore their college options and complete their college applications.

The goal of the program is to encourage high school seniors, particularly prospective first-generation college students from low-income families, to apply to at least one college before they graduate from high school, giving every student the option to continue their education and attain a college degree.

Local volunteers, college personnel and staff will work with pilot high schools in the state to plan events that encourage their seniors to complete a college application.

In addition to the planned events, special resource packets will be sent out to 14,200 Step Up Scholars to provide them with information on preparing and applying for college and financial aid.

“In order to reach the state’s goal of 55 percent of working age adults with a two- or four-year college degree by 2025, we need our young people to consider postsecondary education, whether that means a four-year university, a community college or other additional training beyond receiving their high school diploma,” says Karen Lee, executive director of Hawaiʻi P-20 Partnerships for Education. “An educated workforce is essential to move our economy forward. We must inspire our students to pursue further education, especially students who may never have considered college. Helping them to apply is the first step.”

College Application and Exploration Season is a new initiative of Hawaiʻi P-20 in association with the American Council on Education and the Lumina Foundation. The initiative is based on the “College Application Week” program started by GEAR UP North Carolina in 2005, which has since expanded to 22 states.

Six schools participate in Hawaiʻi program’s first year

The six pilot schools participating this year include Castle High School, McKinley High School, Roosevelt High School and Waipahu High School on Oʻahu, and Keaʻau High School and Ke Kula ʻo ʻEhunuikaimalino on the Big Island.

Each school will coordinate its own application event as well as pre- and post-application activities with the goal of every senior completing and submitting at least one college application. More than 1,700 seniors are expected to participate in these events to fill out their college applications with the help of volunteers from University of Hawaiʻi campuses and Hawaiʻi colleges.

Events have already been held at Keaʻau High School, Ke Kula ʻo ʻEhunuikaimalino and Castle High School. Upcoming events are scheduled at McKinley High School for November 8-9, Waipahu High School on November 15, and Roosevelt High School for November 12-30.

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