High schools, higher education institutions, and communities around the country are gearing up for College Signing Day, a series of events celebrating graduating high school seniors who have made the commitment to pursue a postsecondary education.
College Signing Day is part of Reach Higher, an initiative started in 2014 by former First Lady Michelle Obama to encourage and activate educators, counselors, and other adults to help first-generation and low-income students see college as an option, whether at a traditional four-year university, a two-year community college, through an industry-recognized training program, or through the military.
Postsecondary education has become a critical part of a successful future for both recent high school graduates and post-traditional learners alike. A 2011 study from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce reported that on average, lifetime earnings for an individual with a bachelor’s degree will be 1.8 times higher than those of a high school graduate, and the lifetime earnings for those with an associate degree will be 1.4 times higher.
Research also suggests college graduates are healthier, more engaged in their communities, and more likely to understand the issues of the day and vote. College graduates contribute far more in taxes, require less government assistance and health care, and spend more time with their children—all of which in turn strengthens the country’s economy and citizenry.
College Signing Day has grown from one event in 2014 to over 2,250 across the United States and internationally in 2018. Events are traditionally held the first week of May but also can be celebrated anytime between late April and early June. Reach Higher commemorated 2018’s College Signing Day at Temple University (PA) with over 7,000 college-bound students.
For more information and a College Signing Day toolkit, see the Better Make Room website, the student-facing campaign supporting Reach Higher.
ACE staff celebrate College Signing Day 2019 near their office in Washington, DC's Dupont Circle.