Awards and Recognition – Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do I need to submit more than one application? 
A. You should submit only one application. ATD will award your institution the highest distinction or award for which you are eligible.  

Q: Are there differences in each application?
A: There are differences in the data metrics and different questions on each application. ATD recommends based on your eligibility to apply for the highest level of award.

Q: How many levels of awards and recognitions do you have?
A: We have three levels: Leader College, Leader College of Distinction, and Leah Meyer Austin Award.

Q. When will I be notified about the status of my application? 
A. Recipients of Achieving the Dream awards and recognitions will learn the status of their application in February prior to DREAM 2022 in Portland, Oregon.  

Q: When is the application due?
A: September 30, 2021, at 5:00 P.M. ET.

Q: How do you want us to account for COVID impacts to data?
A: The impacts of COVID should be described in the narrative. You can also add a note in the data template directing the reviewers to the narrative to understand the trend. We know growth is often not a straight line, even without pandemics. Use the narrative to explain the trends in the context of your institution.

Q: The data template has several demographic categories. Do we have to include every demographic category in our application?
A: ATD understands your institution may not track certain demographic information. Please use the narrative response section in the application to expand upon any data trends you would like to highlight.

Q: Who do I connect to update our contact information to receive ATD emails?
A: You can email us at and/or can also speak to your ATD coach to make sure your contact information is updated.

Q: Can you review the must-haves in the application?
A: Please use the rubric provided with the application. You may view a brief video on rubrics here. You may view a brief video on connecting efforts with reforms here.

Q: Will you be conducting interviews with Leah Meyer Austin Award finalists this year?
A: Yes, we have added finalist interviews for the Leah Meyer Austin Award. We will reach out in November to finalists to schedule interviews.

Q: Are you required to take on a coaching contract to receive awards?
A: There are no requirements to have a coaching contract from ATD to be eligible for any of our designations or the Leah Meyer Austin award.

Q: Does the credits attempted metric have a time frame associated with it?
A: Yes. The time frame is within the first year. The only metrics that are not within first year are persistence (which carries to the following fall) as well as graduation-related metrics (which span several years).

Q: Is it okay to use three-year graduation data?
A. Yes, you can use three-year graduation data. Please be sure to label and describe your data.

Q: Can we include courses our students have taken at our sister college?
A: Yes, if those courses are being used to move towards a degree or certificate from your institution.

Q: Can we include students who begin taking courses in the summer semester if they were enrolled for the immediate fall semester?
A: Be consistent if you chose to include summer first you must continue to use that same term consistently in the whole application and please make a note of the term you chosen to use.

Q: Can we include dual-enrolled high school students in our data?
A: You should not include students who are currently dual- enrolled in high school. Please see cohort definitions in the data template.

Q: Can you add addendums to your award application?
A: Yes, there are a couple places on your application in narrative sections that you can express trends and allow you to explain and add context to your data.

Q: For our college a C-minus is not passing, but in the application a C-minus is considered a passing grade. How should I communicate that in my application?
A: Use the narrative portion of your application to expound upon the grade metrics you use. ATD analyzes and reviews each application on an individual basis so please be consistent with the way you present your data.

Q. I have more questions!
A. Contact or watch the recorded sessions of our office hours:

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