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Conference educates prospective freshmen

By Christian Parker, staff writer
On November 14, 2012

In preparation for college, high school students and parents attended the fifth annual "Getting Ready for College Conference"  that was held in LA-100 on Saturday.
Hosted by West County College Access Network (WCCAN) and the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD), the conference gave an overview of applications, types of colleges to attend and financial aid for high school students.
"We are creating these resources for K-12 students so that they can be prepared for college," Joel Mackey, executive director of the West Contra Costa Public Education Fund said.
"The (students need to) understand college can be a reality for them. It is a necessity in our world today."
The conference touched on the steps that the WCCAN goes through to help teachers and parents make sure that students are financially and academically prepared to continue their education after high school.
West Contra Costa Public Education Fund, also known as the Ed. Fund, had its members at the event talk about college life while also explaining how to plan and apply for college.
Representatives from UC Berkeley, Cal State-East Bay, Contra Costa College, and private colleges such as Holy Names University also spoke to students and parents about the different aspects and interests each  campus could bring to a student's future.
Students and parents were divided into separate groups as the conference also provided workshops for the participants.
The parent workshops topics ranged from college fees to helping their children with the college applications and helping them transition from high school to college.
The student workshops had students paired with volunteer writing coaches from Community Alliance For Learning to help them write personal statements, college applications and SAT essays.
"The workshops were really terrific. I learned a great deal," Pinole Valley High junior Sarah Lock said. "I'm really looking forward to working hard next year to be able to go the college of my dreams."
Lock's father Terrence said the whole process was groundbreaking and informative.
"I am so happy that so many people are taking the initiative to help work toward my daughter's future. I couldn't be more excited for her," Pinole resident Terrence Lock said.
Robert Bunce, program director of the West Contra Costa Public Education Fund, said the biggest issue the district was facing this year is getting high school students to apply to college.  

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