Project GRAD Los Angeles is driven by a mission to help more first-generation college students from low-income backgrounds graduate from college. We are embedded in a network of northeast San Fernando Valley middle and high schools and work directly with students, parents, and school staff to:
- promote college access throughout the educational pipeline
- prepare students for college rigor, and
- ensure that more first-generation students graduate from college.
The Project GRAD model is based on four inter-connected strategies that research indicates leads to college success:
- Academic Enrichment
- Parent Engagement
- College Awareness, Readiness, and Retention
- Community Partnerships
Project GRAD works to promote college success throughout the educational pipeline, prepare students for college, and ensure that more first-generation students graduate from college. We do this through two key programs: the College Readiness Initiative and the College Success Initiative.
The College Readiness Initiative directly serves students and families at the middle and high school level to improve academic performance; increase competencies that prepare students for college rigor; and engage the entire family in college success. The program includes a summer academic enrichment program for middle school students focused on algebra, writing, and Robotics/Science; two Summer College Institutes for high school students held at local college campuses where students earn college credit; an Advanced Summer College Institute Residency program for high school students held at Marymount College; Cohort/case management of students throughout middle school and high school; a Peer Leadership club and community service opportunities; college tours; individual tutoring; PSAT and SAT prep; assistance with completing college applications and personal statements; financial aid workshops and assistance completing financial aid forms; and a two-day Bridge to College program for college-bound seniors and their parents.
The College Success Initiative is Project GRAD’s college retention program for Project GRAD “College Scholars” at California State University Northridge. The College Success Initiative was designed to address what research indicates are the four most common barriers for first-generation college students to graduate from college: academic support/performance; accessing resources; connection to campus life; and affordability. The program includes the Project GRAD scholarship; one-on-one weekly meetings with Project GRAD staff; Cohort meetings twice a semester; a CREWS program in which thriving Junior and Senior Project GRAD Scholars help support the academic and social success of cohort Freshmen through peer-led advising and mentoring activities; coordinating skill-building workshops on topics such as Time Management; and sponsorship of students’ activities such as a “Winter Social”, Bowling Night, and Finals care packages.