First in the World Grant

Mission: Admission game to teach high school students about applying to college

Mission: Admission game to teach high school students about applying to college

Many students who are qualified for college ultimately slip through the cracks when it’s time to apply. In collaboration with my colleagues at the Pullias Center for Higher Education, we’re on a mission to help students prepare for and apply to college and financial aid opportunities.

We believe in meeting students where they’re at, so we’ve been exploring ways to use games and social media to increase college access, particularly for students who will be the first in their family to attend college. Over the past few years, our center has teamed up with USC’s Game Innovation Lab to design a series of games about preparing for and applying to college. Along the way, we’ve learned a lot. We know that playing Mission: Admission, a game about the process of applying to college, increases students’ college knowledge when they play at least two times. But does it actually make a difference with whether a student will apply to college? We want to find out.

With First in the World grant funding from the U.S. department of Education’s Fund for the Innovation of Postsecondary Education, we are investigating whether playing Mission: Admission can actually increase the percentage of students who go to college. Over the next three years, we’re collaborating with MTV’s Get Schooled Foundation to run a challenge in high schools across the state of California. In the first year, juniors at participating schools played the game, compete for prizes and engaged in a school-wide discourse around preparing for and applying to college. We’ll run the challenge again when those students are seniors, keeping track of data on FAFSA applications, college plans, and where students ultimately apply and enroll. And of course, we’ll share and publish what we’re learning along the way.

Want to know more?

Watch a 5-Minute Video About Mission: Admission

Download a Project Overview

Read About Us in the Los Angeles Times or Polygon