College Early & Often

“It is not about whether kids go to college, it’s that it should be their choice. We should not be the gatekeepers; we should be the gateway.”

Dr. Linda Murray


Many families believe college conversations and engagement start in 11th grade as their child is beginning the application process. Unfortunately, by then it is too late. We believe it is essential to start these conversations as early as elementary school to allow for a rich exploration of all that is possible.

And once our young people graduate, over half hold a diploma that does not permit them to apply to California’s universities.

GO WCC is proud to be a partner to families and youth to create a space where college and career options can be explored and celebrated. Our College Early and Often campaign will guide families through a series of workshops where children and their families can come together and dive into the engaging, interactive activities and just have fun. It is never too early to join your child in exploring college and career opportunities. There are so many exciting choices your child can make when they graduate from high school. Whether your child’s next step is an apprenticeship, a certificate program, jumping right into the workforce or heading off to college, we want to be your partner on the journey.

Our Work


Since opening our doors, we have held hundreds of meetings and engagement sessions with families, educators, and youth. The one theme we ccontinue to hear universally is the desire of our young people to have acces to oportunities after high school.Often, that desire is summoned up by ensuring our young people are prepared for, and able to attend college. Yet, over half of West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) graduates leave our schools with a diploma that does not permit them to apply for California’s public universities.


In discussing college-going aspirations with the West Contra Costa comunity, two key, interdependent bodies of work surfaced: 1) increasing college eligibility, with a focus on high school policies and practices that act as barriers to matriculation and success and 2) identifying the root cause of chronically low college readines rate, starting with kindergarten interventions.

Our College Rediness Study Team – comprised of staff, parents, educators, and community partners – researched policies and practices in the field and presented their initial findings to districts leaders.

We then released a set of policy recommendations focused on how to advance learning for the 9,000 English Learners currently in our schools.


After sharing our initial findings with the board, we were excited to see movement toward increasing college eligibility and readiness in West Contra Costa schools:

-The district partnered with the University of California to gain access to their Transcript Evaluation Service (TES). TES scans student records to monitor student progress toward meeting A-G requirements.

-The Office of College and Career Pathways completed an analysis of data points that impact A-G eligibility. The results informed shifts in programming and resource allocation.


Financial Aid

GO West Contra Costa and The Richmond Promise have teamed up once again to release an updated version of A Parent's Guide to Financial Aid, a resource that provides in-depth information about how to help pay for college using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the California Dream Act Application (CADAA).

College Conversations

A Parent's Guide to College Conversations is informed by academic counselors, college advisors, and our own parent leaders, this guide aims to help families better understand financial aid award letters, explore college cost-saving opportunities, and have healthy, productive conversations with their children about their futures.

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A Parent's Guide to Financial Aid is here! Download Now