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College Board

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Access to Opportunity

The College Board’s Access to Opportunity™ (A2O™) efforts are designed to identify and break down barriers that prevent students — particularly low-income, first generation, and underrepresented minority students – from applying to and enrolling in colleges that are the best academic, social, and financial fit. Our mission is to help all students recognize and make the most of the opportunities they’ve earned.

Current Campaigns

  • College Search Kickoff Mailing (pdf/2.8M): Select students in the class of 2016 will receive resources to kickoff their college exploration, including BigFuture resources, a summer checklist of activities and a starter list of colleges attended by, and successfully graduated from, other students who share their strong academic performance. The list of colleges is intended to provide examples that may help students in the early stages of college exploration. Students receive a personalized list of schools based on where other students from their area, who share their strong PSAT/NMSQT® performance, attended college, and successfully graduated. Future outreach in the summer and fall will help these students to refine their college list and apply to a balanced group of schools that will ultimately improve their chances of career success. Download a sample of the brochure (pdf/2.8M). Download additional samples of college starter lists.
  • College Application Fee Waivers: Beginning in the 2014-15 academic year, every income-eligible senior who takes the SAT® or SAT Subject Tests™ using a fee waiver will receive four college application fee waivers from the College Board. These waivers will be delivered directly to students online starting in late August.
  • Realize Your College Potential: Customized packets of college planning information, including college application fee waivers accepted by more than 100 selective colleges. The packets are being sent to high-achieving, low-income seniors beginning in late August.
  • Apply to 4 or More: Select low-income seniors are being sent packets that include college application guidance and tools, which will help them apply to four or more colleges. Customized packets may contain college application fee waivers, information on SAT fee waivers, and/or college planning resources.

Tools for Schools and Districts

All students should have access to personalized college guidance. School counselors are the main source of this guidance and play a critical role in the college admission process. The College Board’s Access to Opportunity efforts are not intended to replace the important work that counselors do, but rather to supplement their efforts.

Whether or not students have been selected to participate in one of our campaigns, we encourage school and district staff to use our webinars and resources to help students successfully navigate the college planning process.

SMS/Text Messaging Pilot

The College Board is exploring SMS/texting as a channel to provide information to students about the college planning process, including reminders about key deadlines and applying for financial aid. Select students have been invited to participate in the available texting programs as they are being evaluated, before they become widely available.

Class of 2015

A small group of students from the Class of 2015 was invited to participate via email or direct mailing. Participants receive biweekly text messages about key college planning milestones.

Class of 2016

In partnership with the Center for Education Policy Research (CEPR) at Harvard University and uAspire, the College Board is testing the effectiveness of text messaging as part of a larger research study. Some students in the Class of 2016 who took the PSAT/NMSQT were invited to participate. Beginning in spring 2015, these students will receive regular text messages from the College Board about important college planning activities. Additionally, some students will have the opportunity to interact with an advisor from uAspire for help with college plans, applications, and enrolling in college.

Classes of 2017 and 2018

Some students in the Classes of 2017 and 2018 were invited to participate in the text messaging pilot at the time they took the PSAT/NMSQT. These students will begin receiving text messages in spring 2015, and will receive regular guidance on key college planning tasks to help them with their path to college.

If you want to learn more about this initiative, please contact us at

Customized Entry Pages


Applying to two colleges instead of one makes it 40% more likely that students will enroll in a four-year college. When students apply to more than two, their chances of enrolling will be even better. Encourage your students to apply to at least four or more colleges – one safety, two good fits, and one reach.

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