January 25, 2016

By Kim Cook, Executive Director

Reach Higher, an initiative from First Lady Michelle Obama, is centered around providing encouragement and activating educators, counselors and other adults to help young people see college as an option, whether at a traditional 4-year college, a 2-year community college or through an industry-recognized training program. Reach Higher focuses on four components: college affordability, exposing students to college, academic and summer planning, and supporting school counselors.

Better Make Room is the student-facing campaign supporting Reach Higher, giving young people a space to declare their commitment to their future and engage with others. It’s a peer-to-peer encouragement model that speaks to students in their own language—because they’re the ones doing the talking. Better Make Room aims to elevate college students to the level of celebrities and says to the world, “These young people are about to do something great. We Better Make Room.”

Together, these initiatives create a community around higher education, giving everyone a way to participate that resonates with them.

Download a full toolkit.


There are opportunities for everyone to host a Signing Day, whether as a partner with your mayor for a citywide celebration or a small, school-based or neighborhood day of action.

• Partner with schools, community organizations and nonprofits to host a Signing Day Celebration in your city.

• Challenge the high schools in your city to encourage students to wear t-shirts from the college they plan to attend.

• Challenge teachers, principals, and city officials/employees to wear t-shirts from their alma maters or a local college or university.

• Make an appearance at a local high school wearing paraphernalia from your alma mater or a local college or university.

• Encourage local businesses to support college efforts by offering incentives to students that commit to higher education and displaying a Signing Day poster to promote the event.

• Share your activities with the media and your social networks with #CollegeSigningDay, #ReachHigher and #BetterMakeRoom.


• Get students involved in the planning process—they know how to best inspire and engage their peers.

• Invite parents and families to join the fun.

• Bring in outside speakers, like local celebrities, influential community members or prominent alumni—you can even request a speaker from the White House!

• Celebrate with a citywide picnic, party or carnival.

• Expand an existing school celebration that honors graduates.

• Encourage sharing on social media with hashtags prominently displayed at the event.

• Create a social media photobooth with Better Make Room-themed props—you can involve your art department to make a backdrop or props that feature their interpretation of campaign graphics

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