First Lady Michelle Obama has announced a video contest for high school and college students — and she's the first prize. The First Lady will be speaking at the commencement ceremonies of the winners about the importance of higher education and adulthood.
There are two contests, one for high schools and one for colleges. These contests play a part in the first lady's Reach Higher initiative, which promotes the importance of education beyond high school, writes the Associated Press.
The high school contest asks students to create a video that will persuade students to file a Free Applications Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Michelle Obama's wish is that every high school senior fills out the FAFSA and she wants entries to show how students, teachers, counselors, and administrators are urging students to fill out the FAFSA, according to the contest entry form on the White House website.
"Now, too often people don't apply to college because they don't think they will be able to afford it but that's where FAFSA comes in, because through FAFSA the Department of Education provides more than 150 billion dollars in loans, grants, and work-study programs that can help you and your family pay for college. That's why I'm calling on every senior in America to complete their FAFSA form starting on January 1st," said the first lady.
The winner of this contest will be chosen based on the growth rate of the school's FAFSA completion and the creativity the school has taken to promote students filling it out.
The second contest is called the Near Peer Mentoring College Challenge. Michelle Obama wants to see colleges, including students, faculty, and administrators, reach out to high school students and encourage them to think about attending college.
"Last January I spoke with college presidents from across the country about the importance of reaching out to more of our young people, especially those from underserved communities. These students have so much potential, but they don't always get the encouragement or the support they need to go to college. Today I want to take that discussion to the next level. "
The First Lady suggests many options colleges could take from setting up mentoring programs in local high schools to organizing campus visits for underprivileged students so that they can see what its like to attend college. For the contest, schools are to submit a video showing what they are doing to get students who may not see themselves attending college to consider higher education.
To enter either contest participants must upload their video to either Youtube or Vimeo and submit it on whitehouse.gov. Contestants are also encouraged to share their videos on social media with the hashtag #ReachHigher.
These contests also support President Obama's goal called "North Star" that aims to make the United States have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.