A Conversation about College Signing Day


In 2014, former First Lady Michelle Obama launched Reach Higher to encourage students to complete their education and own their futures by attaining a post-secondary credential. Whether through a university experience, at a community college, or via an industry-recognized certification program, she wanted to meet President Obama’s North Star goal, that by 2020, the United States would once again lead the world in college completion. She introduced the country to her Reach Higher initiative at a city-wide College Signing Day celebration at the University of Texas-San Antonio.

Mrs. Obama chose College Signing Day to launch the initiative because she wanted to recognize the hard work of so many students, especially those who beat major odds stacked against them to be the first in their families to go to college. A first-generation student herself, Mrs. Obama knew that college was a turning point for her that set her on a path not only to professional success, but to personal growth and maturity that she would not have experienced otherwise.

While you may be familiar with the “sports” version of Signing Day, where high school athletes announce to the world where they will be playing in college, May 1st is traditionally the day by which all students must respond to the college of their choice about where they wish to attend. Schools and communities around the country have begun hosting College Signing Day rallies on or around May 1st to lift up the importance of celebrating and creating a college going culture.  Over the past few years, we’ve been thrilled to see thousands of high school seniors declare their intent to reach higher by committing to college completion. This year, Reach Higher will celebrate this major achievement on Friday, May 5th, and hope that all of you will join us in celebrating your students, too. We want your help lifting up education by posting pictures to social media in your college gear or colors using the hashtags #CollegeSigningDay #ReachHigher and #BetterMakeRoom. And we want you to host a College Signing Day at your school or in your community.

Reach Higher has moved to Civic Nation, and our new website includes all the information that you will need to celebrate College Signing Day. Download our College Signing Day toolkit for helpful information on how to host your event, how to get your students and community involved, and how to share your celebrations with our team and Mrs. Obama through social media.

Through Reach Higher and Better Make Room—a peer-to-peer campaign that encourages Generation Z to take charge of their futures by completing their education beyond high school—more than 1,250 events in all 50 states were hosted last year. We hope that even more partners will join Mrs. Obama’s movement to shine a spotlight on those students who have made a commitment to pursue a postsecondary education this year. Though we will celebrate May 5th, you should find a date and time that works best for your students. We have online resources at bettermakeroom.org/college-signing-day to help you plan your event.

Thanks to the support of the College Football Playoff Foundation and DonorsChoose.org, 200 lucky hosts who: (1) register their College Signing Day event on bettermakeroom.org; and (2) create a College Signing Day project on DonorsChoose.org will be eligible to win a $500 grant to help pay for costs of their event! This partnership is yet another way that this movement to support students pursuing their education is gaining momentum.

Make sure to follow @ReachHigher and @BetterMakeRoom on Twitter and @ReachHigher2020 and @BetterMakeRoom on Instagram for more updates, and don’t forget to use #CollegeSigningDay, #ReachHigher, and #BetterMakeRoom in your social media posts!


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