Reach Higher

Reach Higher encourages young people to complete their education and own their future.

Lifting Up the Work of School Counselors

School counselors play an integral role in helping students get to and through college. We work to support and uplift the school counseling profession.

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Everyone has an important story to tell. We want to hear yours! Share your story today.
A generation ago, the United States led the world in college completion. Today, we’re 13th.

At Reach Higher, we know there’s nothing more important than continuing your education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, a four-year college or university, or in the military. So, we’re changing the national conversation. We’re building a college-going movement and we’re here to support students, school counselors, educators, and parents all the way.

Complete your education. Own your future.
We do this through events like College Signing Day and our Beating the Odds Summit, through tools and resources like UpNext, and by empowering school counselors. Reach Higher is furthering former First Lady Michelle Obama’s mission to help young people take charge of their future through education. We’re now part of the Common App, a non-profit membership organization dedicated to access, equity, and integrity in the college admission process.



Impressions + Student Commitments

#BetterMakeRoom hashtag impressions (Facebook + Twitter + Instagram)

Students reached through the Common App

Text messages sent to 236,000+ students enrolled in UpNext

Students across all 50 states participated in 3,000 registered College Signing Day events in 2019

Students reached over the past four years by 3,000 school counselors who attended our Reach Higher Convenings



Reach Higher’s goal remains the same: to inspire every student in America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university.

We are working to ensure that all students, but especially first-generation and underserved students, have the tools they need to get a postsecondary degree. Our programs allow us to support and uplift students, school counselors, and educators.

Better Make Room
Better Make Room is a campaign within Reach Higher that celebrates and elevates the stories of Generation Z. It’s about reaching Gen-Z where they are and creating a space for all the great things these young people will do next. It’s about staking a claim, forging a path and lighting the way for others. Get a better education, have a better career, imagine a better future and live a better life. These students are about to arrive—and the world Better Make Room.
Lifting Up the School Counseling Profession
School counselors are critical to helping students successfully navigate their postsecondary path. But all too often those counselors are understaffed, under-resourced, and simply not present at the leadership table. The average student-to-counselor ratios nears 500 to 1, and in some states has even reached as high as 1,000 to 1, which is why Reach Higher works to lift up and support the school counseling profession. The School Counselor of the Year award, introduced by the American School Counselor Association in 2008, honors school counselors who devote their careers to advocating for the nation’s students and addressing their academic and social/emotional development and college and career readiness needs.
College Signing Day
Mrs. Obama launched Reach Higher in 2014 at a College Signing Day in San Antonio, Texas. Since then, Reach Higher has helped organize thousands of events with hundreds of thousands of students in all 50 states showing their college pride and creating a college-going culture in their communities. Hosted by schools, organizations, community leaders, and influencers, College Signing Day is a national celebration rallying around local students and celebrating their choices and commitments to higher education.
Beating the Odds
The Beating the Odds Summit helps combat the phenomenon of “summer melt” by celebrating and encouraging students to persist and attend college in the fall. In 2014, Mrs. Obama met with a small group of ten college-bound students at the White House to celebrate their commitment to education, despite overcoming immense obstacles along their journey to higher education. Over the years, Mrs.Obama expanded the small gathering to include more college-bound students representing urban, rural, foster, homeless, special needs, and underrepresented youth who had beaten the odds to overcome incredible obstacles to persist through high school and commit to attending a postsecondary institution.

Visit our 2024 College Signing Day website

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Reach Higher is housed within The Common App, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization.

Reach Higher at Common App

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©2018 Reach Higher


Reach Higher and Better Make Room is housed within Common App, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.