GEAR UP: Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs

Massachusetts College Application Celebration


Massachusetts College Application Celebration! (MCAC) encourages students to take a significant step toward college by providing assistance and building excitement for the college application process. The goal is to give every graduating senior the opportunity to complete at least one application by the conclusion of the week-long event. Hosting an event builds a college-going culture and allows your high school the opportunity to ensure all seniors strongly consider pursuing a postsecondary education.

Why one week dedicated to completing college applications? The application process can be daunting, even for students surrounded by a support system of caring adults.  Too often, high school seniors begin the college application process and get stuck or simply procrastinate on completing the requirements, resulting in the application never being completed or submitted.  MCAC is designed to provide the guidance and support needed by students in addition to harnessing the positive peer pressure of a week of events culminating in the submission of a completed college application.

History of the Event

MCAC is part of the American College Application Campaign initiative sponsored by the American Council on Education (ACE). It is sponsored by GEAR UP Massachusetts, and administered through the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education in collaboration with the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority (MEFA) and (YPFF). It began in North Carolina as College Application Day at a single high school in 2005 as a pilot effort of the GEAR UP program and has since grown to a nation-wide effort. Massachusetts held their first MCAC in 2012 at Lowell high school and 225 applications were completed. In 2013 we hosted 6 MCAC events throughout the Commonwealth where 750 applications were completed, and this past winter we expanded MCAC to 14 high schools where over 3,000 applications were completed! Every year we are looking to continue expanding the program outside of our GEAR UP high schools.

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