Mindy Edgeman was intrigued by the idea of hosting College Application Week festivities at her school.

But Edgeman — the college and career counselor at Bloomingdale High School in Valrico — had to see the event in order to believe in its impact.

“When I was told about it, I had no idea what it was supposed to look like,” said Edgeman, who was working as a counselor at Lennard High School in Ruskin last school year when she first heard about College Application Week. She was able to witness the event first-hand at East Bay High School last fall. “Toby (Loukmas), the counselor at East Bay, did such a great job and really showed me what this could be.”

Edgeman joined Bloomingdale High this school year and set about organizing College Application Week festivities at the school Oct. 17-20.

Apply Yourself Florida (Florida College Application Week) is part of College Ready Florida, a suite of statewide initiatives designed to build a college-going culture and help all high school students—especially low-income students and those who are the first in their families to go to college—continue their educations beyond high school.

During events at Bloomingdale, and others like it taking place throughout the state, schools dedicate time and space during the normal school day for graduating seniors to fill out at least one postsecondary application with the support of trained volunteers from the school and community.

Bloomingdale’s weeklong activities included days dedicated to examining college websites and learning more about their teachers’ college experiences thanks to a game of College Bingo. However, the centerpiece event was the school’s College Application Day on Wednesday, Oct. 18. The school’s students were given a little extra motivation: seniors who filled out at least one application to a postsecondary institution were entered in a raffle to win a gift card, a prom ticket, or a copy of the school’s yearbook.

In addition to helping students with their college applications, Wednesday’s College Application Day provided assistance in filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) along with composing college essays and creating resumes. Representatives from several branches of the military, Hillsborough Community College’s Ybor City campus Workforce Training Center, CareerSource Tampa Bay, and other organizations were also on hand to provide information.

Visit FCAN’s website for more information on Apply Yourself Florida.

Apply Yourself Florida (Florida College Application Week) is part of the American College Application Campaign (ACAC), a national initiative aimed at increasing the number of students pursuing a postsecondary degree or other high-quality credential.


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