UPDATE: Suggestions for Virtual Decision Day Activities
Let's Go to college Virginia! Decision Day is a celebratory event first sponsored by the National College Advising Corps (NCAC), which was founded at the University of Virginia. Both the organization and the event are now recognized nationally. Decision Day activities rally support for students as they make their decisions about life after high school. While events have been happening over the past few years at various locations across the state, 2017 was the first year that the Commonwealth of Virginia joined local schools and communities in celebrating the postsecondary choices of our students through Decision Day in Virginia. Decision Day in VA now serves as the annual culminating event for the 1-2-3 Go! initiative.
The goal of Decision Day is to recognize ALL high school seniors for their postsecondary plans and encourage younger students and families to prepare early for postsecondary education. It is important that we celebrate this big step for seniors and involving underclassmen helps to build a stronger college-going culture and informed student pipeline. Decision Day is held annually on or around May 1.
Why celebrate Decision Day?
− To recognize all students for their postsecondary plans
− To encourage and remind students it’s time to make a decision
− To support the best match and fit for each student
− To motivate and excite younger students about their future college and career plans
− To support a school and community college-going culture
Making Decisions about College - Toolkit for Students and Families
Maps of Colleges and Universities in Virginia
Factors to Consider: Choosing the Right College
Make Your Decision: Compare Award Offers
Senior Year Checklist
Download these resources and/or refer to your hard copy of the 2019-20 Virginia Opportunities guide and workbook. Guides are available through most school counseling offices and can be ordered by school staff in bulk at https://www.ecmc.org/schools/order-opportunities-booklets.html.
Hosting a Virtual Event
Register your event as a Signing Day project and receive national recognition and eligibility for project funding.
Receive funding for your Decision Day/Signing Day event. After registering your event you may request funds, of up to $500, through Reach Higher. Funds can be used to support the purchase of associated supplies from a list of over 20 approved vendors at Donorschoose.org/teachers. Scroll down to the bottom of the registration page and review the "Fund Your Event" instructions.
Event guide and templates for hosting a virtual decision day or college signing day event.
Suggestions for Virtual Decision Day Activities
Plan at least one school-wide event where all students can be recognized for their future plans. Following are some ideas to get you started:
- Celebrate starting on May 1 and throughout the months of May and June
- Would you like to create a video like this? Download this PowerPoint Template, and you can create your own! You can customize it by adding your school logo and changing the color scheme to match your school colors. Add your seniors' names and plans, export it as a video, and share it on social media using #decisiondayVA!
- Do a social media blast! Use Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok – whichever platforms your school division and students use. Social media blast ideas are below:
- Ask seniors to email or text pictures with college gear and signs. Students can also make DIY college t-shirts! With their permission, post students’ photos with a brief description of their postsecondary plans.
- Students can use social media filters and frames found at https://www.bettermakeroom.org/collegesigningday/
- Create a Facebook album of the seniors. Caption the photos with their plans.
- Have seniors send in a baby photo saying what they wanted to do when they were younger - and a current photo saying what they are thinking about now.
- Suggest that seniors create “college decision reveal” videos with hats, cupcakes, homemade college flags, “Superman reveal” with a college shirt under a button down, etc., revealing their final decision. Post these videos.
- Make sure to tag photos, collages and videos!
- Host a Facebook Live Red Carpet Ceremony - see https://www.facebook.com/brianne.solomon/videos/10157198788100998/
- Search hashtags on social media for best practices (#bettermakeroom, #collegesigningday, #decisionday, #decisiondayVA)
- Create a YouTube video of individual senior videos. Have seniors film a short celebration video on their phone, send to Coordinator and then Coordinator compiles into one video.
- Engage DreamWakers (https://www.dreamwakers.org/) with a video chat for seniors
- Assign each staff member a small group of students. Ask staff to send personal notes or cards to those students.
- Ask seniors to decorate their front doors/windows/cars with the colors, logos, etc. of the institution they will attend. Pictures/videos can also be shared through social media!
- Local news/radio segments and shout-outs – see https://www.wric.com/teacher-shout-outs/
- Find more virtual ideas by downloading the Reach Higher/Better Make Room toolkit at https://www.bettermakeroom.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/2020-College-Signing-Day-Toolkit-updated-3.16.2020.pdf