In 1997, while advising high school seniors from East Palo Alto about the college admission process, the co-founders of College Track realized that students who wanted to be the first in their families to attend college received little or no guidance about how to get there.
Their parents didn’t know how to guide them, and they didn’t get personal attention from their school counselors since each was assigned more than 1,000 students to advise and oversee.
Laurene Powell Jobs and Carlos Watson, the co-founders of College Track, also discovered that most students who were hungry for information and eager to attend college had not taken the classes needed to qualify for admission to a California state university. Recognizing that starting to work with seniors in their senior year was too late, the co-founders spent a year investigating area support programs and nonprofits that worked with teens.
They found many programs for elementary and middle school students, but no comprehensive program supporting high school students. Organizations that served teens provided only limited service, focusing on one area, such as tutoring, or youth leadership, but never taking a comprehensive approach.
So, Powell Jobs and Watson created a program to address the community needs they had observed. That program was College Track, a comprehensive after-school program that focuses on academics, student life, leadership, and getting into college, and works with students beginning as high school freshman and continuing through their college careers and beyond.