Advocacy & Education
Vice President, Advocacy & Policy Center The College Board
Michael R. Heintze
Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing Texas State University — San Marcos
There is nothing more important than education, and we should all take pride in our chosen profession. Making the benefits of college available to all students helps improve individual lives and strengthens our nation as a whole. Each year, the college dreams of millions of students are affected by the work of admission and financial aid officers and school counselors. We believe the work of our profession has important consequences for the most considerable challenges facing education and our nation today. This is a tremendous responsibility — and a great opportunity. This is an extraordinary time to be involved in education. Today political, social and economic factors are coming together to create the chance for dramatic change in our education system. There is a broad understanding of the economic imperative and our social obligation to better educate our citizens. But consider this: More than 80 percent of parents want their children to get a college degree, but less than 30 percent of students will earn a college degree. The United States, once a world leader in educational attainment, now ranks 12th in 18–34-year-olds with an associate degree or higher. We know we cannot progress as a nation and society if we continue to leave so many of our citizens behind. We must all be change agents. We can all be advocates. When you think of advocacy, you may think first of highly organized and visible campaigns for the environment, health and human rights: Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection or Amnesty International. Whether it’s for the health of our planet, women dealing with the trauma of cancer or individuals or groups suffering from political oppression, these and other organizations work tirelessly to advocate on the behalf of others. But advocacy also begins close to home. People become advocates in different ways and for different reasons. There is no distinct path and no recognized qualification for becoming an advocate. Advocacy can occur individually, collectively or through a combination of both. Although some advocacy efforts are more successful than others, it is the process of the advocacy and individual voices behind it that matter most. Educators advocate every day for their students, institutions and professions. It’s a natural extension of their dedication to learning and student achievement. Consequently, we must become advocates in order to address the broad challenges facing the school counseling, admission, enrollment and financial aid professions in the 21st century; we must work to improve the school-to-college transition and create greater educational opportunities for all students. At the state and national levels, we need to advocate for the changes in school curricula, higher standards, support for school counselors, simplification of financial aid and the like so that students are better prepared by public policy and better served by our schools, colleges and universities. As a membership organization, the College Board is committed to providing you with information, research, tools and strategies to help in our efforts to improve student achievement, increase opportunities for underserved students and raise the level of postsecondary attainment for all students — from our “Own the Turf” campaign for school counselors and the Rethinking Student Aid study group to simplify financial aid to the CollegeKeys Compact™ and the College Completion Agenda with recommendations that span the education pipeline. Successful advocacy depends, to a great degree, on the ability to gather advice and counsel, disseminate information, create coalitions and change policy. And to accomplish these for our students and our profession, we need your participation and the active engagement of the full College Board membership. Advocacy is at the core of the College Board mission. It is central to the work that we do and to who we are. The efforts of the new College Board Advocacy & Policy Center are member driven and member led, offering opportunities for you to get involved in the issues and initiatives that matter most to you. Here are several ways in which you can become an advocate:
- Opens in a new windowSign up to be an advocate and learn about opportunities for action to improve college access and success.
- Participate in congressional hearings and activities such as press conferences, policy roundtables, and Capitol Hill briefings, which rely heavily on membership experience and expertise. Attend and add your voice.
- Lead the informational sessions and advocacy presentations at the College Board Forum and at regional meetings.
- Contribute to communications and media outreach. It is the voice of our membership that matters most.
- Be active in your professional associations and civic groups, and speak up for the educational needs of our students.
Working together, we can become an even stronger voice calling for change in American education. Our work is significant and our vision is large, but it is also deeply personal. For at the heart of all that we do, it is our passion for and belief in the power of education that fuels our vision and drives us to transform the organizations and institutions we serve.
- Download the Opens in a new windowAdvocacy in Action toolkit
- Download a PDF of “Opens in a new windowAdvocacy & Education” (pdf/832 kb)
- Be an Education Advocate Opens in a new windowPowerPoint Presentation
- Be an Education Advocate Opens in a new windowWebinar
PDFs require Opens in a new windowAdobe Reader (latest version recommended).
Admissions Insights is a series brought to you by the College Board Task Force on Admissions in the 21st Century. The opinions, interpretations and conclusions of the author are his own and do not necessarily represent those of the College Board. Nothing contained herein should be assumed to represent an official position of the College Board or any of its members.