The goal of Decision Day is to celebrate high school seniors' postsecondary education plans and encourage younger students to prepare early for college. Decision Day is held annually on or around May 1 and is designed to coincide with the date by which most students must inform a college of their plans to enroll.


Materials and resources available

Download the entire 2019-20 Journey to College site coordinator Resource Manual or just Decision Day-specific electronic templates, flyers, and forms. Site coordinators may also order indoor/outdoor banners, print materials, and other supplies to help plan and host a successful Decision Day celebration. Decision Day supplies are also available for ordering online to help you plan a successful Decision Day.


Not going to physically be in session due to COVID-19? Consider celebrating your seniors with several virtual Decision Day activities.

Why host Decision Day?

Decision Day events:

  • Recognize all students for their postsecondary plans
  • Encourage and remind students that it is time to make a decision - and provide support and assistance to any students whose plans aren't yet finalized
  • Support the best match and college fit for each student
  • Build excitement among younger students as they prepare for college
  • Foster a college-going culture
  • End the school year with a celebration


If you would like to add Decision Day to your 2019-20 Journey to College participation, you may submit an online J2C Event Change form. If you have any questions, please contact

Expectations of host sites

Although each school may organize an event that meets the needs of the school and its students, there are a few expectations for official Decision Day sites.

  • Recognize all students for their postsecondary plans, including plans to attend a vocational tech, two- or four-year college or university, enter the military, or pursue other postsecondary training. For any students who have not yet been able to finalize their plans, Decision Day is a great time to offer any support or assistance. Some Decision Day participants will invite an admissions representative from any local community colleges or technical schools specifically to assist students who may still need some help.
  • Include the entire student body in the celebration.
  • After your event concludes, report your data using the short and simple online Decision Day Site Coordinator survey.

Promoting a college-going culture

The following ideas can be used to help promote a college-going culture at your school:


  • Encourage college talk: engage everyone in talk about college to ensure that no matter where students turn or who they are talking to, college is being discussed. Ask questions “where are you going to college?” or "what are your plans after high school?" of all students.

  • Define clear expectations: communicate and reinforce the belief that all students can attend college.

  • Connect students to relevant and necessary information and resources to officially enroll in college. Provide guidance to students who haven’t yet applied or been admitted to college

  • Support students through the college test preparation and exam process. Discuss what to expect with college placement exams and how performance tests may impact their college experience.

  • Engage educators to promote a college-going culture among students. Encourage all teachers and staff to be part of Decision Day celebrations inside and outside the classroom.

  • Engage family members to increase the chances of student success in the college preparation, application and enrollment process.

  • Develop relationships between schools and postsecondary institutions to support the official enrollment process and transition to college.

  • Weave in college access throughout a student’s life, starting at the earliest possible point and supporting the student all the way through high school graduation (and beyond). Don’t forget to engage younger students and families in college planning activities to help them learn more about what it takes to officially enroll in college. An example of an activity is a college preparation fair for younger students and their parents.


Decision Day could be an emotional time for students; positive emotions celebrating student success and possible negative emotions for students who may not have been accepted to their top college of choice. Be as supportive and encouraging as possible.