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College Is Real

Our Mission

Investing in students since 2005

College Is Real's mission is to change the college-going culture in Richmond’s high schools in order to uplift the community through having more of its students, who are mostly low-income people of color, attend and be the first in their families to graduate from college.



High School Graduation


Four-year College Acceptance


Four-year College Attendance


Colleges Attended

  • University of California: Berkeley, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Davis, Santa Cruz, Irvine, and Merced
  • California State Universities: San Luis Obispo, San Diego, East Bay, Northridge, Chico, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, Sonoma, Humboldt, and Stanislaus
  • Private Universities: Stanford University, Brown University, University of San Francisco, Saint Mary's College of California, Holy Names University, Knox College, Wittenberg University, and Art Institute of San Francisco

"CIR was much more than just a program during my collegiate years at Saint Mary's. One could even say it was a home away from home. The love and support CIR gave me allowed me to finish my four years in college with a smile that allows me to show the world that anything is possible! I will never forget the emotional strength that they gave me to finish college, even though many people did not believe in a child raised by the arms of a single parent!”

– Gerardo Mendoza, Saint Mary’s College of California Class of 2016

Our Approach

“I joined College Is Real in order to gain confidence in myself. CIR helped me keep my grades on track, was there for any additional help I needed and inspired me to go further in my education. I can truly say that CIR has improved my academic achievement, helped me financially, and mentally prepared me for the college path.” – Alejandra Cornejo, Richmond High School Class of 2017

College Is Real

Our Approach

CIR provides education, motivation, resources and support to low-income, minority (predominantly Latino) students who demonstrate academic potential, have college aspirations, and who typically will be the first in their families to attend college. We succeed by having a professional on-site program director and providing each of our students with an experienced mentor. 

Once in the program our students gain confidence and challenge themselves with goals that previously may have seemed impossible to reach. With a 100% high school graduation rate and with 90-100% of our students being accepted by four-year colleges each year, College Is Real works!