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National College Application Week Set for November 3 to 7

For one week each November, high school seniors across the country receive unprecedented support completing applications for college as part of the national College Application Week. This year, from November 3-7, five Kalamazoo County high schools will serve as official “hosts,” participating in various activities and events to encourage and support local students on their journey to college.

In Michigan, official host schools are sponsored by the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN). In Kalamazoo County they also receive facilitation and support from the College and Career Action Network (CACAN) of The Learning Network of Greater Kalamazoo. A particular emphasis for College Application Week is given to students who are first-time college going members of their families.

“Five schools serve as official sites, but most area high schools will provide some kind of concentrated service and coordinated support to help seniors complete applications for college,” says Brenda Pickett, CACAN convener. “There is often an immense amount of paperwork to complete and it can seem especially daunting for families unfamiliar with the process.”

The local host sites are: Loy Norrix High School, Parchment High School, Gull Lake High School, Gull Lake Academy, and Comstock High School. For students attending schools not serving as MCAN sites, Pickett says guidance counselors will have information specific to the support services offered there.

In addition to one-on-one support from high schools, Pickett says many colleges waive the application fees during College Application Week.

“It will never be easier for high school seniors to complete a college application than during College Application Week,” Pickett says. “And education beyond high school has never been more essential to an individual’s financial future than right now. We’d like to see every high school senior complete at least one application.”

The term college includes any post secondary school, university or institute that offers certification in an applied field, including community colleges, institutes of certification, four-year colleges, universities and even the military. The goal of College Application Week is to increase the number of eligible high school students applying to colleges early in their senior year. This is a goal that ties directly to the mission of CACAN, which strives to increase the number of Kalamazoo County high school graduates who pursue some kind of post-high school education to 62 percent.

According to projected job growth statistics, 70 percent of jobs by 2020 will require at least some college education. U.S. Census data reports that 41.6 percent of U.S. residents and 40.5 percent of Michigan residents between the ages of 25-34 have an Associates degree or higher. That number is 47.8 percent in Kalamazoo County.  There is no central data source that tracks certifications.

This year, American College Application Campaign programs will take place in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The national campaign expands each year to include more high schools. According to MCAN, last year, 208 high schools participated in Michigan, helping 16,279 seniors complete more than 20,975 applications. That includes three host sites in Kalamazoo County. This year, over 300 high schools are expected to participate.