MassEdCO has been providing education and career readiness services for low-income, first-generation students for decades. Part of the work includes encouraging high school students to submit college applications and/or explore career options. On Wednesday, January 11th, that work was on full display as MassEdCO staffer, Tom Bolio, and the staff of Southbridge High School, celebrated their 5th Massachusetts College Application Celebration! (MCAC). That day, the 52 students who participated yielded 150 applications with 53 on-the-spot acceptances. Participating colleges included: Assumption University, Fitchburg State University, UMass Dartmouth, Worcester State University, and Quinsigamond Community College
According to MA GEAR UP: "Massachusetts College Application Celebration! (MCAC) encourages students to take a significant step toward college by providing assistance and building excitement for the college application process. The goal is to give every graduating senior the opportunity to complete at least one application by the conclusion of the (week-long) event. Hosting an event builds a college-going culture and allows your high school the opportunity to ensure all seniors strongly consider pursuing a postsecondary education."
"MCAC is part of the American College Application Campaign initiative sponsored by the ACT Center for Equity in Learning. It is sponsored by GEAR UP Massachusetts, and administered through the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. It began in North Carolina as College Application Day at a single high school in 2005 as a pilot effort of the GEAR UP program and has since grown to a nation-wide effort. Massachusetts held their first MCAC in 2012 at Lowell high school and 225 applications were completed. In 2013 we hosted 6 MCAC events throughout the Commonwealth where 750 applications were completed, and this past winter we expanded MCAC to 30 high schools where over 8,000 applications were completed! Every year we are looking to continue expanding the program outside of our GEAR UP high schools. "(Source: MA GEAR UP website.)