Draper Mayor Troy Walker and members of the Draper City Council signed a proclamation declaring Nov. 17-21 Utah College Application Week in Draper City. Working in partnership with the Canyons School District, city officials hope to ensure that all high school seniors in Draper complete at least one college or university application during the school day.
“As a college graduate, I support this initiative wholeheartedly,” Walker said. “We are striving to ensure that students in Draper City are college and career-ready when they graduate high school.”
The Canyons School District is one of 14 partner districts (49 high schools) participating in the local initiative, sponsored by the Utah System of Higher Education, that aims to provide students with the information they need to get through the college application process.
By initiating Utah College Application Week, Draper City supports the American College Application Campaign, a national effort to increase the number of first-generation and low-income students who pursue a post-secondary education.
“We are encouraging kids to apply who think they can’t afford college or who may be the first in their family to pursue a college degree,” said Scott Harper, a representative from the Canyons School District Education Foundation who presented the initiative at last month’s Draper City Council meeting. “Several Utah schools are waiving their college application fees (during the designated week), including Dixie, Southern Utah University and Snow College. We want to help students fill out their applications and point them in the right direction for financial assistance.”
The Canyons School District Education Foundation has agreed to pay up to $25,000 to cover college application fees for students who qualify during College Application Week. Participating high schools will also provide undocumented students with application help, including how to receive resident tuition at Utah colleges.
Students and administrators from all five Canyons high schools are planning a number of activities in the weeks prior to raise awareness about the importance of a college education. Letters were sent home to parents, outlining the purpose of the initiative and inviting them to participate in various College Application Week events.
Counselors, faculty, support professionals, parents, community volunteers and college representatives will be on hand at participating high schools during the week to help students navigate the complex college admissions process and ensure they complete at least one viable college or university application.
“Our goal is to have all 2,700 Canyons District high school seniors fill out an application,” said Canyons District Secondary Director of Evidence-based Learning Hollie Pettersson. “If a student fills out an application in the fall of their senior year, they are more likely to go to college and graduate.”
The Utah System of Higher Education hopes to have 66 percent of Utah’s workforce with postsecondary degrees by the year 2020.
“When I went to school, I had to find out about colleges on my own,” Walker said. “This is an exciting and innovative program that provides great information and support. Once they can sit down and get through one application, they’ll realize it’s within their reach.”