Site Coordinator Outreach Guide 2015

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1 Site Coordinator Outreach Guide 2015 To assist with marketing and donation request efforts

2 Media Outreach Connecting with the media is a great way to publicize your Aspire Higher Maine event and telling the story of your school s college-going celebrations throughout the community. Communication is key to successful media outreach. Please include information specific to your event and send to local media outlets (we can help you determine who to send these to!). Also, promote the event through your school s website. Below are some templates and tools for reaching the media and inviting them to your schools to cover your Aspire Higher Maine event. Feel free to pull these templates directly a fill in your school s information. If you d like MaineCAN to send the release for you, please let us know. Sample Press Release (Place on SCHOOL LETTERHEAD) Media Contact: (NAME) Phone: (NUMBER) (TITLE EXAMPLE: Your Name High School Helps Seniors Aspire to Continue Their Education) [Date] [City] - (NAME OF YOUR HIGH SCHOOL) will participate in Maine s third annual Aspire Higher Maine event during the month of November, with other schools across the state. The goal of the month is to assist all seniors as they apply to some type of postsecondary educational option, including certificate programs, two-year degree programs, and four-year degree programs. During Aspire Higher Maine, students at (NAME OF SCHOOL) will participate in a variety of college awareness activities to help them find the best fit for their education after high school. With the help of school and community support, they will complete applications for admission. Aspire Higher Maine is a statewide initiative coordinated by the Maine College Access Network. It is a participating program of the American Council on Education s American College Application Campaign. For more information visit For more information about Aspire Higher Maine, please contact Kate Leveille at or ### 2

3 Social Media Social media is everywhere and many students and professionals use tools like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram daily. Aspire Higher Maine encourages you to promote your event through your school s social media accounts. Use the hashtag #aspirehighermaine so that MaineCAN can compile all of the photos and promotions. Examples: Seniors! Don t forget November is our Aspire Higher Maine event. Tell us where you re applying! Seniors, it s Aspire Higher Maine month. Have you applied yet? if so, give tips to your fellow students! Congratulations seniors on completing your college applications during #aspirehighermaine Remember seniors: Plan for our FAFSA completion night for free help with the FAFSA. Join the event here (insert time/day/link). Use the hashtag #aspirehighermaine to announce where you ve applied. 3

4 Parent and Community Outreach Student/Family Informative Letter Use this letter to help encourage conversations between students and their families about Aspire Higher Maine and to inform the school community of activities to promote a college going culture in your school. If you school has an automated phone system, record a shortened message. Dear Students and Families, During the month of November, high schools across the state will host events to assist students with the college application process. (NAME OF YOUR HIGH SCHOOL) will participate in the Aspire Higher Maine effort, with the goal of ensuring that all members of our senior class apply for at least one postsecondary education opportunity for this fall. To help streamline the application process, students should complete the College Application Worksheet, available (INSERT WHERE THE SHEET WILL BE, ONLINE? IN AN OFFICE?). We are encouraging all students who have not yet applied to college to complete the worksheet prior to the week, as it has all the information students will need to complete an online application. We expect that students and their families may need to work together in gathering the information listed in the checklist. Families are welcome to visit the school to assist their student during the application process. In addition, if family members are interested in volunteering or guest speak during the event, please let me know. Volunteers can greet and sign-in students, assist students with the completion of online college applications, or distribute information about financial aid opportunities. If you have any questions please call (NAME, TITLE), at (PHONE OR ). Thank you in advance for your support of this exciting initiative to encourage Maine s students to continue their education beyond high school. Sincerely, (SCHOOL OFFICIAL) 4

5 Parent and Community Outreach Newsletter Article: 300 Word Count Example Between fall sports, part-time jobs and writing papers, [HIGH SCHOOL] seniors are also thinking of where they hope to be next fall. [MAINECAN or SCHOOL] hopes every senior is currently making plans to attend a university, community college or vocational school next fall. It is important to note that most colleges have strict application deadlines. For early acceptance, this date is usually by November of your senior year. Other admissions deadlines vary by school but should be completed as soon as possible. This November, [SCHOOL] is hosting Aspire Higher Maine, a dedicated time and space to assist students with completing their college application with the support of volunteers and counselors. For more information, [PROVIDE RESOURCES]. Why is attending college important for our seniors? According to projected job growth statistics, 70 percent of jobs by 202 will require at least some college education. Currently, only 39 percent of Maine residents over 25 have a college degree. In [YOUR COMMUNITY], the number of residents with a college degree is [PERCENTAGE]. Through the Maine College Access Network, we are committed to making sure every student has the opportunity and resources to pursue a postsecondary education, especially during the application process. Resources are available to students and parents at 5

6 Parent and Community Outreach Student/Family Follow-up Letter Use this letter to follow up with students and parents of students that participated in Aspire Higher Maine. Outline the next steps students need to take and make parents aware of these steps so they can make sure their kids are following through with the financial aid and enrollment steps that happen later in the year. Dear Students and Families, Recently, your student participated in Aspire Higher Maine hosted by [HIGH SCHOOL]. Congratulations on taking this important step toward your student s education! Now that your student has applied to a college or university, it is important that students and their families file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) after January 1, Families can apply online at Schools should contact you! Once you have submitted your online college application, campuses should be in touch with you via or letter to inform you of the status of your application. If you have not been contacted by the school within 2-3 weeks of your submission, get in touch with the college or university s admission office to inquire about your application status. Now that you applied to college, where can you learn more about paying for college? Go to to research financial aid options such as scholarship opportunities, available grants, loans and programs to help make your college costs affordable. Speak with your family and school counselor about your financial options. Mark your calendar for [NAME OF SCHOOL] s financial aid night on [INSERT DATE]. Complete and submit the FAFSA as early as possible. The sooner you submit the form, the better chances you have of getting an affordable financial aid package. If you have questions please call [NAME, TITLE] at [PHONE OR ]. Thank you for supporting your student s future and helping them navigate the path to college! Sincerely, [YOUR NAME] 6

7 Overview for Teachers and Staff Aspire Higher Maine Our school is participating in Aspire Higher Maine. To ensure that our event is a success for our students, we need your help in promoting and coordinating this event - and making sure our initiative is exciting and fun for our students and community! What is Aspire Higher Maine? Aspire Higher Maine is an event coordinated by the Maine College Access Network. In Maine, high schools will conduct a variety of activities during the month of November to help encourage students aspire for education beyond high school and to encourage all seniors to complete at least one college application. Similar events have been successfully implemented in all 50 states and the District of Columbia since What is the goal of Aspire Higher Maine? Our goal is to provide every graduating high school senior with the opportunity to apply to college and to aspire for education beyond high school. While much of the focus of Aspire Higher Maine is geared toward first-generation college students, low-income students, and other students who face barriers to applying to college, we encourage all students, including freshman, sophomores, and juniors, as well as seniors who have already applied to college, to participate in events to help them explore and prepare for post secondary education, including certificate programs, two-year degrees, and four-year degrees. What happens during Aspire Higher Maine? Think of Aspire Higher Maine as a school spirit program, during which everyone works together to build excitement and awareness surrounding the college exploration and application process. Schools have the chance to create an Aspire Higher Maine event during the month of November that works best for your school. Some schools do day-, week-, or month-long events. How can I help? You can help by assisting students in applying, contributing to the spirit or - perhaps most importantly - reaching out to students to encourage them to apply to college. Seek out those students who might traditionally be overlooked when it comes to college planning, and talk to them about their options for college. Be sure to ask students if they ve applied as they board the bus, go through the lunch line, or walk into a store or your classroom. 7

8 Donation and Sponsorship Outreach The summer months and the beginning of the school year are the best times to reach out to local organizations for donations and sponsorship opportunities for your Aspire Higher Maine event. Aspire Higher Maine does sponsorship outreach on the statewide level, but these are for more general sponsorships to fund the production and shipment of promotional materials. Many companies would rather sponsor events at a local level. Please be encouraged to reach out to local businesses and organizations in your community for donations and support! Feel free to be creative when making your ask. Here are some suggested sponsorship asks: Donated food and drinks for volunteers and student celebrations Giveaway items such as: gift cards gas cards electronics coffee and mugs school supplies T-shirts Discounts at participating stores (ex. $1 off a coffee for every student wearing an I Applied sticker on a certain day during Aspire Higher Maine month) The following page has phone and scripts and a template donation letter for you to utilize when making sponsorship asks for Aspire Higher Maine. Ask local businesses to consider a sponsorship or gifting a special treat. Feel free to modify these to best fit your community and needs. 8

9 Donation and Sponsorship Outreach Phone Script Hello. You are speaking with [NAME] from [HIGH SCHOOL] I help support the Aspire Higher Maine college application initiative, which aims to help high school students understand and complete college applications. Do you have a moment to learn about this initiative and how I hope [BUSINESS NAME] can help more students in Maine get to college? Aspire Higher Maine is an initiative that encourages graduating seniors to complete a college application, with a particular focus on low-income, first generation college-going students, and students who would have not otherwise considered college. Our goal is to help these graduating seniors navigate the complete college admissions process and provide the opportunity to complete at least one application during the month of November. High schools participate for free, and we hope to keep it that way. In my role as the [HIGH SCHOOL] site coordinator, I m reaching out to local businesses to ask for your support. Would [BUSINESS NAME] be interested in helping support Aspire Higher Maine? [Based on response, make your recommendation of general support or a specific type of gift.] Thank you for your [DONATION/TIME]. Through your support, [BUSINESS NAME] is helping build a college-going culture in Maine and [LOCAL COMMUNITY]. 9

10 Donation and Sponsorship Outreach Script Greetings [NAME], My name is [NAME] with [HIGH SCHOOL], and I m hoping for your support in implementing Aspire Higher Maine. Inspired by the American College Application Campaign, Maine launched Aspire Higher Maine, an initiative that encourages graduating seniors to complete at least one college application. There is a particular focus on low-income students, first-generation collegegoing students and students who would not have otherwise considered college. Our goal is to help all graduating high school seniors navigate the complex college admissions process and provide the opportunity to complete at least one application during the month of November. Maine high schools have been participating in this initiative since We are working to participate year after year. In order for us to keep hosting awesome Aspire Higher Maine events in our high schools, we need your support. We would like [BUSINESS NAME] to consider sponsoring Aspire Higher Maine 2015 or donating {PRODUCTS/SERVICES RELEVANT TO BUSINESS] to our local efforts. To learn more about Aspire Higher Maine, we encourage you to visit If you have any questions regarding sponsorship or the initiative, please contact me at [ / PHONE]. Regards, [NAME] 10

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