Decision Day: Coordinator Resources

Celebrate students' post-high school plans with Decision Day activities!

Oregon Decision Day (DD) is a celebration of students’ plans for continuing their education or training after high school. DD events and activities can stand on their own, but they are most successful when used as a follow up to College Application Week and College Cash Campaign efforts that have been ongoing throughout the school year. In addition, events and activities that help students and families begin the transition from high school to college should be considered part of your DD programming. Celebrations are often planned by a committed coordinator (or two!) and supported by the entire school community. The coordinator resources are designed to help you and your team plan the most effective events for your community.

Coordinator Handbook

Use the checklist below or download our PDF handbook for even more information.

Download the Handbook

Coordinator Resources

Download planning resources, templates and forms.

Download the Resources

Coordinator Survey

After your Decision Day event, please complete the survey by May 15.

Complete the Survey


  • Think ahead.

    Review the Coordinator Handbook and materials.
          Contact Oregon GEAR UP with any questions. Email or use the "Contact Us" form at the bottom of this page.

    Recruit your Decision Day team. Include a variety of people who will help plan and host your event - administrators, teachers, parents, and students are all good choices!

    Meet with your team to choose what types of events or activities you'll host to celebrate your seniors' choices and inspire younger students to make a plan for their futures.
          Consider including at least one celebratory event (e.g. a signing day or graduation walk) and one highly visible display for your hallways.
          Set your objectives and goals for each event. What do you want participants to see or do? How many people do you hope will participate? Will you include elements that help students with the transition to college?

    Decide when you will hold your events or activities.
          May 1st is the National Candidates Reply Date for most 4-year colleges in the country. Hosting your events around this time can help students stay on track with college deadlines.

    Sign up for Better Make Room's College Signing Day to join the national movement.
  • Prepare students.

    Provide tools to help students and their families finalize their post-high school plans.
          Explore the importance of finding a good fit college, including academic, social and financial factors.
          Help students and families understand all college costs and compare financial aid awards, using resources on the CCC coordinators page.

    Ask students to inform you of their decision when they've made it.
          Compile a list of students' plans. You can use this list to prepare for your event. Bonus: the list will be helpful when you update (or create) next year's school profile.


  • Get ready.

    Add the event to your school/organization calendar.

    Reserve space. Do you need an auditorium, gym, or classroom? Do you need to clear a bulletin board or other prominent hallway?
          Will the room need to be set up in a special configuration? Follow your school's process for scheduling that.

    Review your event objectives. How will you meet them?

    Plan for additional needs that arise if you have after-hours or family events.
          Will offering food or childcare increase the number of families who can participate? Can these services be donated? Make appropriate arrangements for your community's needs.

    Use your list of students' chosen colleges or other postsecondary plans to update maps and displays and to print certificates or pennants.
  • Get help.

    Use guest speakers, especially for topics you are less comfortable leading.

    Recruit volunteers. They can help welcome students & families to an event, answer questions, set up/clean up, and a whole lot more.
          Consider using younger students as volunteers when appropriate. This can offer extra inspiration for them to make their own future plans.

    Ask faculty and staff how they would like to get involved.
  • Spread the word.

    Remind students and families about your event. Use your school's most effective means of communicating important information. Include suggestions of ways parents/guardians can help their senior prepare for the event.
          Send special invitations to parents/guardians if they are welcome to attend. Consider using some time during your celebration to honor the role they've played in helping students achieve their goals.

    Remind teachers and staff about your event. Encourage them to participate and to reinforce the importance of participating with their 12th grade students.

    Hang posters and other signs around your buildign to advertise the event. Color posters came with your DD mailing.

    Send a press release to your local media if your event is open to the public or will include participation of the majority of your 12th graders. Consider inviting them to send a reporter to cover the event.


  • Prepare your space.

    Decorate for your event or activity. Remember the theme of celebration!

    Set up the room. Include a designated space for students and families to sign in so you know who is participating.
          Make it easier: print a complete list of your senior class to use as a sign-in/out sheet during your event.

    Greet volunteers, give them a nametag, and assign them a job to do.
  • Do it!

    Celebrate students.

    Post photos to social media. Tag Oregon Goes To College so we can share!


  • Evaluate.

    Debrief with your planning team and volunteers. What went well? What will you change for next time?

    Complete the DD Coordinator's Survey.
  • Follow up.

    Help students prepare for the transition to college.
          Use CCC coordinator resources to teach students about budgeting and financial literacy.
          Remind students and families about the importance of keepign up to date with colleges' summer deadlines and fall enrollment dates.