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College Access Challenge Grant Program
Virginia College Application Week

College Application Week is a national initiative designed to increase the number of first-generation and low-income students pursuing a college degree or other higher education credential. Virginia joined the American College Application Campaign in fall 2012 by offering the Commonwealth’s first College Application Week- November 22-26, 2012. The pilot event resulted in the submission of over 3,000 college applications from 16 Virginia high schools with an average free or reduced price lunch eligibility rate of 62%.

For 2013, participation in Virginia College Application Week (VCAW) has been expanded to 32 schools serving a student population where, on average, 65% are eligible for free or reduced price lunch under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). During summer 2013, 50 high schools were invited to host VCAW. Invitees included the 16 pilot sites and 34 additional schools selected in rank order according to the Virginia Department of Education’s School Year 2012-2013 NSLP Free and Reduced Price Eligibility Report. Sixty-four percent (64%) of newly-invited schools agreed to participate - doubling the number of sites in the pilot year.

In preparation for VCAW, selected high schools designate a site coordinator who receives training and access to technical assistance and promotional and educational resources to facilitate the week’s activities. Prior to College Application Week, students are encouraged to prepare personal essays, build activity resumes and gather information necessary for completing an admission application. During the week, students are provided one-on-one assistance from school counselors, admissions officers and volunteers to complete online admission applications with the goal of submitting at least one application to a two or four-year institution.

By recognizing and minimizing the financial barriers present in the college application process, college admission becomes more attainable to first-generation and low-income students. In fact, of the more than 900 students surveyed on their experiences during 2012 Virginia College Application Week, 69% noted that the cost of applying to college either “strongly influenced” or "somewhat influenced" the number of schools to which they applied. Through coordination with SCHEV and the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV), many of Virginia’s private and public universities and colleges agree to waive their application fees during College Application Week for students with demonstrated financial need attending VCAW site schools. Over 450 students took advantage of application fee waivers during 2012 Virginia College Application Week.

SCHEV will continue to encourage the expansion of Virginia College Application Week to additional host schools each year in hopes of reaching more Virginia students interested in pursuing a postsecondary education. For more information or to express your interest in this state college access initiative, please contact Ms. Paula Fisher at PaulaFisher@schev.edu.

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Participating 2013 Virginia College Application Week High Schools 

High School School Division
1 Achievable DreamMiddle/High Newport News City
2 Armstrong High School Richmond City
3 Brunswick High School Brunswick County
4 Central High School Lunenburg County
5 Denbigh High School Newport News City
6 Eastern Montgomery High School Montgomery County
7 Franklin High School Franklin City
8 Freedom High School Prince William County
9 Galax High School Galax City
10 Galileo Magnet High School Danville City
11 Gar-Field High School Prince William County
12 George Washington High School Danville City
13 George Wythe High School Richmond City
14 Greensville County High School Greensville County
15 Hampton High School Hampton City
16 Harrisonburg High School Harrisonburg City
17 Heritage High School (Lynchburg) Lynchburg City
18 Heritage High School (Newport News) Newport News City
19 Hopewell High School Hopewell City
20 Highland Springs High School Henrico County
21 Huguenot High School Richmond City
22 I.C. Norcom High School Portsmouth City
23 John Marshall High School Richmond City
24 Martinsville High School Martinsville City
25 Nottoway High School Nottoway County
26 Petersburg High School Petersburg City
27 Phoebus High School Hampton City
28 Prince Edward County High School Prince Edward County
29 Sussex Central High School Sussex County
30 Twin Valley High School Buchanan County
31 Washington and Lee High School Westmoreland County
32 Woodrow Wilson High School Portsmouth  City