Strive for College

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There’s something special about being the first…especially being among the first in your family to attend and graduate from college.

That’s where Strive for College comes in. Strive for College is a national nonprofit based in San Jose, California that delivers technology-powered mentoring to remove barriers to college access. In 2014, as a response to the challenges that face so many qualified and motivated students in trying to access college, Strive commissioned a custom-built, proprietary online mentoring platform called UStrive, where students and trained volunteer mentors can connect in a secure environment, using built-in communications features to conduct mentoring sessions.

With the acquisition of Center for Student Opportunity (CSO) in 2016, Strive now operates, publishes the I’m First! Guide to College and maintains partnerships with colleges and universities across the country to strengthen and build awareness of their campus efforts supporting first-generation college students. [Read about the CSO + Strive for College merger].

Recognizing that for students who don’t have a family history of higher education, being the first to go to college requires support and encouragement sometimes not found at home, in school, or in the community, CSO launched in 2013 after winning the College Knowledge Challenge—a grant competition sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. is online campaign celebrating first-generation college students and web application designed to help aspiring first-generation college students research and plan for college.

We define “first-generation college student” as anyone whose parents or guardians have not completed a four-year college degree.