CSU expects surge of potential Rams on Free App Day

Free App Day 2019 logoHeather Daniels, CSU’s director of admissions, has vivid memories of what took place last year when Colorado held its first Free Application Day.

Colorado Free App Day, as it has come to be known, was created in 2018 to encourage Colorado high school students to apply to in-state trade schools, community colleges and universities. Waiving the application fee – as much as $60 at some schools – was an attractive carrot state officials hoped would encourage students from all backgrounds to send in applications.

And it worked. Wow, did it work!

“It was such an exciting day,” Daniels recalled. “We went into Free App Day anticipating a few hundred applications but the numbers just continued to grow. When we hit 1,000, and then 2,000, it was just amazing. We all went home, but the applications kept coming in until midnight. When we got to work the next day and checked the numbers we were just stunned.”

Smashing day in 2018

CSU received more than 5,500 applications that day. That total not only smashed all of CSU’s records, it was the highest number of any institution in the state.

This year, Free App Day has been moved up a couple of weeks to Tuesday, Oct. 15. Students can send in online applications from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. and the application fee will be waived.

The opportunity to apply to several schools for free – potentially saving several hundred dollars – is a big deal for most students.

“I think the intention of this was to help low-income and first-generation students, or students that traditionally either don’t apply to college or wait until later in the process, but I really believe this program benefits Coloradans across the board,” Daniels said. “The bottom line is that it helps Colorado students really think about options here in Colorado for their education.”

More apps expected this year

Last year, high school seniors sent in more than 28,000 applications for fall 2019. Thanks to improved marketing that began last spring, that total is expected to jump significantly. Daniels said her office anticipates receiving more than 7,000 applications on Free App Day.

Students can apply to as many in-state schools as they would like during the 24-hour period. Daniels encouraged those considering applying to CSU to make preparations:

  • Make sure all of your information is in order and double-checked.
  • Start early. You can start filling out your CSU application before Oct. 15 – just don’t submit it before that day.
  • Get your personal essays, letters of recommendation, transcripts and test scores in order now. You don’t have to turn them in that day, but every applicant will soon be pressing high school counselors for the same information so it’s wise to stay on top of the process.