Contributed by: GET SCHOOLED

Applying to college can be complicated. Without individualized support, many students fall through the cracks. To help students navigate the transition to postsecondary education and training, districts should develop robust, compelling communications campaigns. Get Schooled, a non-profit organization with experience leading campaigns for states and districts across the country, employs three key strategies to assist students through their college application process: youth-friendly content, direct-to-youth distribution, and personalized support.

In particular, Get Schooled:

How does the strategy create more equitable access and opportunities?

Far too few students of color and low-income students have access to high-quality postsecondary advising. Turning to virtual communications and advising structures increases their chances of receiving robust support in preparing for the transition to postsecondary.

Racial equity and social justice are foundational to Get Schooled’s mission of helping BIPOC youth get to college, find jobs, and succeed. The digital content they share intentionally empowers BIPOC youth – celebrating their strengths, efforts and potential – and feature near-peers (our staff and youth advisors), who have relevant lived experience. Additionally, they make college access resources, information, and mentoring accessible from multiple channels. In this way, students may receive the information in the most accessible modality (whether that is online or in-person through a counselor and/or trusted educator). Finally, one-on-one college counseling is often a costly and inaccessible service for low-income students. By providing students with free college counseling, Get Schooled increases college access for those without the cultural capital or resources to benefit from individualized support.

What outcomes or benefits are associated with the strategy?

What are the budget implications for implementing the strategy?

Depending on the size of the partnership and target population (high school juniors, high school seniors, first-year college students, stopped out students, etc.), districts may need to hire an external vendor or additional support personnel to manage campaigns (social media managers, college counselors, etc.). Conversely, they may be able to leverage existing staff capacity or community partnerships to acquire volunteers to create and manage a virtual advising program.

View more strategy details


What are the estimated costs for implementing the strategy?

  • Virtual postsecondary planning communications and support: $30 per student per year

How will the strategy limit significant recurring costs while ensuring long-term sustainability?

Once the content has been developed for the campaign, much of it can be easily adapted for future years. Districts that implement a virtual advising program on a volunteer-basis may be able to sustain the program without significant recurring costs. Districts without significant community partnerships can build parts of this program into the guidance counselor job expectations and/or purchase low-cost programs to perform the less capacity-heavy parts of the program (e.g. text message scheduling systems, AI to answer frequently asked questions, etc.).

What is the anticipated timeline for launching the strategy?

Districts can launch this strategy as soon as they have the capacity to administer virtual advising programming. Ideally, they would develop it over the summer to launch at the beginning of a new school year.

What internal and/or external capacity (e.g. personnel, infrastructure, training, etc.) is needed to launch the strategy? To monitor and sustain it?


  • Dedicated staff and/or volunteer capacity, including a project manager to shepherd the work
  • Student focus groups to understand the most troublesome parts of the college application process and where students need the most assistance
  • A content approval process so that content (pushed out via social, text, email, etc.) is aligned, relevant, and supportive to existing efforts

Monitor and Sustain

  • A system for reporting and monitoring student engagement
  • A process for updating content to align with the most up-to-date information regarding the college admissions process, scholarship information, etc.
Build Career and College Momentus - Invest Forward
Postsecondary Education Preparation - Invest Forward

What are the first 3-5 steps to take to implement the strategy?

  1. Decide on the focus of the campaign (e.g. FAFSA, college applications, matriculation, etc.)
  2. Determine the intended audience and reach of the campaign (region, high schools, districts, etc.)
  3. Identify the metrics to track
  4. Build partnerships with local organizations to help implement the program and/or work with faculty and staff to assign roles and responsibilities

What are potential challenges for implementing the strategy?

  1. Challenge: Capacity: Guidance counselors may be too overwhelmed to take on an additional project.
    • Solution: Work with high school alumni, local organizations, and broader college access organizations to build capacity. Leverage virtual opportunities to seek out assistance outside of your immediate community.
  2. Challenge: Competing efforts: Regional, state, and local systems may have their own college admissions programming.
    • Solution: Bring all partners together to establish clear roles and responsibilities for the virtual advising program.
  3. Challenge: Student responsibility: Many programs place the onus on students to consult and utilize online services.
    • Solution: Collaborate with high counselors and administrators to ensure resources are widely disseminated and suggested as a tool when students need additional guidance.

What are models of schools, districts, and/or organizations that are successfully implementing this strategy?

  • Future Focused Texas – A coalition of state agencies and state and regional college access organizations partnered with Get Schooled to design and execute a robust communications campaign to promote postsecondary enrollment
  • Detroit College Access Network – Supported 25 regional high schools on college access and success in partnership with Get Schooled
  • Oregon rural schools’ FAFSA completion initiative – Get Schooled partnered with dozens of rural Oregon high schools and the statewide “OR Goes to College” campaign to boost FAFSA completion rates across the state

What are some additional resources for districts/states interested in implementing this strategy?