College conference provides information, pathway to success


Christian Urrutia / The Advocate

Cal State-Chico student Dilan Pedraza gives first-hand advice to high school students about his pathway to college at the Getting Ready for College Conference at the Richmond Memorial Convention Center on Saturday.

By Roxana Amparo, Associate Editor

RICHMOND — The Getting Ready for College Conference informed parents and students through workshops, presentations and a panel of college students from campuses statewide on Saturday at the Richmond Memorial Convention Center.

“The conference serves to give students background information and what it is they need for the next step,” West Contra Costa Unified School District Superintendent Bruce Harter said.

During the conference, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., students and parents gathered in the auditorium. Later, parents had the chance to attend either a Spanish or English informative workshop that provided them with answers regarding college. High school and middle school students sat through presentations about transferring led by students who are already in college.

WCCUSD Board member Randall Enos said parents have to be part of the process.

“It is what makes the conference have a bigger impact on student success,” he said. 

Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Richmond Billy Zeier said events like these are imperative to get students’ parents involved in their transition into higher education.

He said the annual event focuses on providing information for those parents who have students in the process of moving on to a university. Through the workshops they can get acquainted with what really goes on in college and how to get there.

Middle school and high school students received first-hand advice from college students from Chico State, Brown University, Contra Costa College and others at the student-led panels.

Apart from the direct help from students already in college, one workshop was based on informing students on the different programs and extracurricular activities they can engage in to be a well-rounded freshman in college.

UC Berkeley Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP) adviser Devan McFadden said what makes a student “well-rounded” is having different extra curricular activities such as participating in clubs, volunteering within the community or helping out at home.

Harter said some students have to work harder to succeed.

Ed-Fund College Access Coordinator Veli Waller said information about how to transfer to college needs to be shared in order for students to thrive, but first generation college students often don’t have access to valuable resources.