restricted access The Effects of GO Centers on Creating a College Culture in Urban High Schools in Texas

Despite a generation of efforts to make higher education an achievable goal for all students, the gap in college participation rates between low-income and high-income students has not narrowed. Moreover, students of color continue to be underrepresented on postsecondary campuses. Early intervention efforts and college outreach programs such as college access centers have been identified as exemplary strategies for encouraging a college-going culture in high schools and in decreasing the gap among racial/ ethnic groups who have access to college. This study examined the effectiveness of enhanced college access centers known as GO Centers in assisting students during their preparation and application for college and in providing activities conducive to the development of a college-going culture in eight comprehensive high schools located in a large urban school district. Findings indicate that the enhanced GO Centers demonstrate four aspects identified as important in encouraging a college-going culture in a high school: The centers (a) are inclusive and accessible to all students; (b) demonstrate an understanding of how students develop aspirations and plans to attend college; (c) offer comprehensive services to students and their families, including guidance in preparing for college, applying for college, and accessing financial aid; and (d) employ a systematic approach involving stakeholders.