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It is here. Yes, we have noticed the climate change. We have seen the sargassum weed roll up on our coastal shores, we can smell it. We are aware that the Arctic circle is melting. We do know that near the Solomon Islands, there are sections of the islands going under water. We are grateful for Greta Thunberg, young as she is, what a voice for environmental reform. We are aware that most governments are sweeping the dire predictions under the rug.

But oh, we must be aware and proactive...compost if you can, recycle plastics, plant a tree, eat organically.


Many of you are planning to step up applications to schools during the summer. We have students from US, Mexico, Guyana, Trinidad, Jamaica and Belize starting in June for the summer program. Jamaican students will start in July, right after CAPE and CSEC exams.

Classes will now be physical. Zoom will only be for those who are truly out of the way and inaccessible.


We bestow congrats to Karan Samtani who made the PwC Accounting Summer program. This is a good thing. Students who participate usually have a great run and advantage in later working at the PWC firms. Proud of him.

Then we are always congratulating our SAT students, but this week, we congratulate one SSAT student - Zephan Thompson who got into his boarding school - Hoosac. Then we roll over on the spectrum and give kudos to our Kevaughn Hinds who got into Syracuse University for his Master's program.

So our Versan students stretch far and wide.

Summer classes for us will kick off in July for Jamaican students but June for our overseas visitors. Register early.


I am posting about the quartet playing at UWI tomorrow. One of our budding violinists, Katherine Hoo, has extended an invitation to all Versaners. Mr. Woodham of Immaculate Orchestra will be there. Tickets are $4000 each. Of high not miss out.

See you next week.


Happy College Signing Day!

We’re just a few days away from College Signing Day, the yearly celebration of student achievement! We can’t wait to see how families, colleges and universities, and the counseling community share the next steps for students at all stages of their educational journey.

This year, we are celebrating College Signing Day by sharing student stories and memorable moments. It’s not too late for you and your students to join the cheer! We encourage you to celebrate on a day that works best for your school. Make sure to tag @ReachHigher and @BetterMakeRoom in your posts on social media and use the hashtag #CollegeSigningDay.

Keep an eye out for Reach Higher’s social media feeds as they surprise the seniors at Wilson High School in Los Angeles on their Decision Day! We stopped by to check in on our Excellence in College Counseling 2023 winners to see how they’re celebrating their students.

News and announcements

Common App What's New Webinar: 2023-2024 Updates

Join the Common App team to review recent application trends and system enhancements planned for the 2023-2024 application cycle. We'll highlight tools you can use to support students throughout their college process. There will be time for Q&A, so come with your questions.

Common App is offering two options for this webinar, May 23 at 1:00 pm ET and June 6 at 10:00 am ET, to accommodate varying time zones and scheduling availability. The content covered will be the same in each webinar, so individuals only need to register for and attend one. All registrants will receive a recording of the webinar for which they register.

New report: Trends and disparities in extracurricular activity reporting

As part of an ongoing collaboration to investigate the repercussions of test-optional policies in higher education admissions, researchers at the University of Maryland and Common App released a new report, “Inequality Beyond Standardized Tests: Trends in Extracurricular Activity Reporting in College Applications Across Race and Class,” earlier this month.

The research, supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, analyzed a dataset of nearly 6 million activity descriptions submitted during the 2018 and 2019 application seasons. Using sophisticated text analysis techniques, the research team was able to examine trends and disparities not only in the number and types of activities reported by applicants (e.g., athletics versus service) but also in whether applicants mentioned distinctive leadership positions or awards/accomplishments for their activities.

To make the insights of this academic research more accessible to our constituents, our Data Analytics and Research team has written up the key ideas and points in a research summary brief linked below.

Planning ahead

Admissions decision survey

In early May, we will survey the 1.3 million students who submitted a first-year application using Common App. The survey will ask students about the admissions decisions they received. Responses will help us understand students’ application patterns and decisions so that we can better support them in this process.

We will use email and SMS text to invite students to participate in the survey, which will take less than 5 minutes to complete. All responses will be confidential.

Transfer Research Brief

Transfer application data is largely unavailable to the public, with limited information from sources like IPEDS and College Scorecard. The lack of systematic and timely data on transfer application behavior has made it challenging to identify barriers that may exist for transfer students. In one of the first nationwide datasets on this topic, Common App has recently released data and insights on transfer applications.

Analysis of Common App’s transfer platform data reveals that the majority of applicants are from traditionally well-served populations, reflecting existing inequities in higher education. In line with our mission, Common App aims to track trends, diversify membership, and close equity gaps to increase access to postsecondary opportunities for all students.

Transfer resources for advisors

As students looking to transfer institutions work on applications this spring, we hope you’ll share these resources and tips that may be helpful as they complete the process.

Resources for transfer counselors and advisors. As you work with students throughout the year on their transfer applications, bookmark our resource dedicated to transfer counselors and advisors, which compiles tools such as transfer guides, Common App Ready resources, checklists, and more.

Transfer application guide. Knowledge of transfer requirements are important for students who are planning to transfer from one college to another. Our transfer application guide helps students navigate Common App for transfer. Students will be able to search for and apply to more than 600 colleges that accept Common App for transfer. Whether they're transferring from a 4-year institution or community college or looking to continue their path toward a degree by re-enrolling, our transfer application guide can help them get to where they want to be.

Unpacking the transfer experience. Common App’s Batanya Gipson, Program Director, Transfer and Community College shared useful tips for students considering transferring institutions. Batanya encouraged students to communicate often with advisors, to seek every opportunity to connect with their new school, and to not be afraid to share their experiences.

Looking back

PTK highlight

Common App attended the recent Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Catalyst event in Columbus, OH, co-presenting the “Calibrating Your GPS for Transfer Success” education forum with Heather Yush, Senior Director of College Relations, PTK Headquarters. Common App is working with PTK to increase awareness of Common App and its benefits among community college students and advisors.

Beginning August 1, PTK and other honor society students can identify themselves and upload their membership certificates within the Common App for transfer. This will allow colleges to easily identify and verify these students for scholarships and other purposes.

The presentation slides are now available to view.

In case you missed it…

Community College Awareness Month. April is Community College Awareness Month, and it is a great time to honor the contributions of community colleges in expanding access to higher education and recognize the hard work of students, faculty, and staff who make these institutions thrive.

Reach Higher and Better Make Room shared a message from Michelle Obama, highlighted celebrities that attended community college, and uplifted community college functions. Through this month-long celebration, we hope to inspire more students to consider community college as a pathway to success and a gateway to a brighter future.

#MemberMonday. We continue to highlight members of the Common App on #MemberMonday on Twitter and Instagram. This month, we would like to recognize The University of Alabama at Birmingham, The University of Glasgow, and UNC-Chapel Hill for creating a conducive and empowering atmosphere for their students to learn and grow. Join us each Monday as we continue to celebrate members of our community!

Comparing financial aid offers. For students who have received their acceptance letters, a next big step is determining how they will pay for their education. Common App Ready has a resource, Understanding financial aid award offers, to help students and families understand the difference between grants, loans, and scholarships, as well as important financial aid terminology.

Colleges still accepting applications. Many students are still in the process of determining their postsecondary plans. We want to remind students and counselors that there is still a wide range of opportunities available.

Students can use the filter tool in the College Search feature of the Common App to search through more than 600 colleges and universities still accepting applications. The filter functionality also allows students to search based on application requirements, including personal essays and testing requirements.

NACAC’s College Openings Update is also available and lists colleges and universities still accepting applications. This resource is updated daily.

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