The efforts of College Board Access to Opportunity™ (A2O™) are designed to identify and break down barriers that prevent students—particularly low-income students, first-generation college students, rural students, and students of color—from applying to and enrolling in colleges that are their best academic, social, and financial fit. Our mission is to help all students recognize and make the most of the opportunities they've earned.
Class of 2021
Virtual College Advising Opportunities
The Access to Opportunity program is partnering with a number of college advising organizations to offer support and guidance to students as they begin their journey to college. Students may be contacted to take part in one of the following programs, all of which are free to students and their families.
Select students in the class of 2021 have been invited to participate in free virtual advising programs in partnership with nationally recognized advising organizations. Students will have access to a virtual adviser to help provide support through the college preparation process.
- CollegePoint: In partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies CollegePoint initiative, eligible students will receive one-on-one support from a trained adviser via text message, phone, email, or video chat. CollegePoint is a virtual advising program that helps high achieving students apply to colleges, find scholarships, navigate the financial aid process, and make college decisions – entirely for free!
- Matriculate: Eligible students will have access to a virtual advising fellow from Matriculate to help provide support through the college preparation process, starting in junior year through the end of senior year. Matriculate trains talented college students at top institutions to connect remotely with high school students, providing the information, guidance, and support that students need to navigate the college process. Messaging to participants stresses that advising fellows are a supplemental resource and that students should continue to rely on their school counselors as their primary source of college and career advice. Participating students are encouraged to share information about the program and their advisor fellow contact information with their school counselor.
- Bottom Line: Eligible high school seniors from the Class of 2021 will receive personalized one-on-one guidance and mentoring from their advisor throughout the college application and decision process. Students have the support and the experienced guidance they require to make a smart decision about attending college. Bottom Line helps low-income and first-generation-to-college students get to and through college.
- Strive for College: Eligible students will receive free, one-on-one, online mentoring through a partnership with Strive for College. Students will receive support from their mentor through the entire college admissions and financial aid application process. Strive for College partners with corporations to offer employees an opportunity to serve as virtual mentors in all 50 states. Mentors leverage their professional experiences to help students navigate the college process.
College Board is creating a pathway to connect high school seniors with nationally recognized college advising organizations who will provide free, virtual college planning support to Class of 2021 students starting in Fall 2020. Educators can direct students to this page to learn more about the opportunity and find out which programs they may be eligible.
As new student support programs are developed, College Board will notify eligible students of the opportunity to participate. Students are under no obligation to sign up for any of these pilots and have the right to decline any interaction with College Board or its partners.
Indigenous College Planning Guidebook
In fall 2019, College Board released an updated version of the Indigenous College Planning Guidebook , a free resource created for Native high school students by a team of Native college students. This digital guide is the first of its kind and fuses college planning best practices with narratives from Native college students to encourage a college-going culture. In December 2019, printed copies of the Guidebook were sent to approximately 20,000 students in the class of 2021 who took the PSAT/NMSQT in October 2019 and identified themselves as American Indian/Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander. Use this link to access the digital version: Indigenous College Planning Guidebook . Also, please visit the College Board Blog to share more digital resources with your Indigenous students.
FAFSA Assistance Pilot
Completing the FAFSA is an important step on a student’s pathway to college. In Fall 2019, the College Board partnered with the Benefits Data Trust (BDT), a nonprofit organization, to pilot free, personalized FAFSA assistance via text message and phone. All students in the class of 2021 students who register for the College Board Opportunity Scholarships program are eligible to opt-in to receive this support. Students who opt-in will receive reminders to complete the FAFSA over text, and can ask a chatbot questions about how to complete the FAFSA.
Students in the class of 2021 may receive emails or text messages from us encouraging them to complete the FAFSA, alerting them to this assistance, and advising them how to opt-in. School counselors and educators may receive communications about the pilot program, as well. Students are under no obligation to opt-in to these messages and may participate in College Board Opportunity Scholarships program regardless.
Tools for Schools and Districts
All students should have access to personalized college guidance. School counselors are the main source of this guidance and play a critical role in the college admission process. The College Board Access to Opportunity efforts are not intended to replace the important work that counselors do, but rather to supplement their efforts.
Whether or not students have been selected to participate in one of our campaigns, we encourage school and district staffs to utilize our webinars and resources as they help students successfully navigate the college planning process.
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