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.
Virtual Advising Pilot Programs
The Access to Opportunity program is partnering with a number of college advising organizations to offer expert 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.
Class of 2020
Select students in the class of 2020 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: Select students in the class of 2020 have been invited to sign up for free virtual college advising through a partnership with the Bloomberg Philanthropies CollegePoint initiative. Eligible students will receive one-on-one support from an expert 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!
College Advising Corps: In the fall of 2018, the College Board invited select students in the class of 2020 to participate in a virtual advising program in partnership with College Advising Corps. Students will have access to a virtual adviser to help provide support through the college preparation process, from junior year through their transition to college. A nationally recognized advising organization, the College Advising Corps trains recent college graduates to serve as virtual advisers who will be available by phone, email, chat, and text messaging to answer questions from current high school students about college academics, campus life, and more. Messaging to pilot participants stresses that their virtual advisers are a supplemental resource and that they should continue to rely on in-school counselors as their primary source of college and career advice. Participating students are encouraged to share information about the program and their virtual adviser’s contact information with their school counselor.
Matriculate: In the spring of 2019, College Board invited select students in the class of 2020 to participate in a virtual advising program in partnership with Matriculate. Students had access to a virtual advising fellow 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.
- Up Next: In fall 2019, College Board will invite select students in the class of 2020 to sign up for free college support provided by Better Make Room, a campaign of Reach Higher® initiative that supports students through digital and peer encouragement to help students navigate the path to and through college. Students receive regular text messages each month with reminders and tips about upcoming college planning deadlines, federal student aid, and student loan repayment beginning in the fall of their senior year of high school through the end of their first year of college. Students can ask questions and receive personalized support from near-peer mentors and trained college coaches. Sign-up for this program is voluntary, and students can opt out at any time.
As new student support programs are developed, College Board will notify eligible class of 2020 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 physical 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. Educators may also order printed copies of the Guidebook for distribution to students at no charge. To request copies, submit an order.
FAFSA Assistance Pilot
Completing the FAFSA is an important step on a student’s pathway to college. In Fall 2019, the College Board is partnering 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 2020 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 2020 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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