"I feel like I am my mom's American dream, and I can't let her down. She just wants me to see my own potential."

Martin Monjaraz

National trends, jobs data, and local community leaders agree – A college education means more opportunities in life. 

In Humboldt County, we all want a bright future for our children and grandchildren, and we want our community to thrive. But our students are less likely to take college prep classes than their peers statewide. They have ambitions for a better life, but they’re being limited early on. 

Let’s change that. 

Get Ready Humboldt is a community endeavor to inspire our students and make sure their families know how to help. 

Employers talk about the need for college

Lane DeVries
CEO, Sun Valley Floral Farms
Neal Ewald
Senior Vice President, Green Diamond Resource Co.
Jason Ramos
Tribal Gaming Commission Chairman, Blue Lake

College Prep Resources

Spend some time getting informed and inspired.

More Resources

College Prep Events

Cash for College Workshop
Dec. 10, 2019 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Eureka High School, Computer Lab M-105

Cash for College Workshop
Jan. 15, 2020 3:00pm - 6:00pm
Arcata High School, Library

Cash for College Workshop
Jan. 22, 2020 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Fortuna High School, Computer Lab - B

Cash for College Workshop
Feb. 26, 2020 1:00pm - 6:00pm
McKinleyville High School, Library

Reasons to Attend College

  • Over a lifetime, graduates with four-year degrees earn about $1 million more than high school graduates

  • Those with a four-year degree earn about 66% more than high school graduates.

  • In tough times like 2009, during the Great Recession, the unemployment rate for high school grads reached 19.7 percent. For college grads, it was just 4.9 percent. 

  • Those who attended college are actually expected to live longer than high school graduates – about 7 years on average.

  • College graduates are healthier than those who didn’t attend college – they are 44 percent more likely to say their health is very good or excellent.  

  • College graduates get more involved in their communities. They are 2.3 times more likely to volunteer, they donate 3.4 times as much to charities, and they are more involved politically.

  • When it comes to retirement, income of college graduates is significantly higher than high school graduates – about 2.4 times more. 

  • College graduates are healthier than non-graduates. They’re less likely to drink heavily or be obese, and they’re more likely to exercise and eat healthy.

  • College graduates report being happier than high school graduates, and even say they get along better with their neighbors.

  • In college, you build wider social networks, and that helps find a great job. An estimated 70 percent of jobs aren’t posted publicly – they’re filled by acquaintances or referrals.

  • There are significant number of jobs that require at least some college education. Of 55 million job openings expected by 2020, 30 percent will require some college or a two-year degree.

Meet Current College Students
Watch the Videos

Follow as they share their college experience

Local families helping their student get ready

Madrone Family

Amber Madrone-Anderson & Family

Amber Madrone-Anderson and her husband Brandon Anderson have five children: Sergio Madrone (19), Ray Madrone (17), Victor Madrone (16), Gabriella Anderson (11), and Gavin Anderson (9).

Amber says she has always talked the kids quite a bit about college. “We talk about the whole experience. How different it is from high school, the choices they will get to make and how college is a great way to explore things you may have never thought about. In addition to this, we talk about how many more options they will have as far as a career. And of course we talk about how much fun college life is and the life-long friends I have made in college.”

Samantha Chojnacki and Maria Baron

Samantha Chojnacki and Maria Baron

Samantha is a senior at Six Rivers Charter High School, and the youngest of Maria’s four daughters. One issue that came up last year is that Samantha wasn’t sure about taking all the “A-G” college prep classes. Her mom says: “My husband and I feel it’s important to create options for what she wants to do after high school, and part of that is her finishing her A-G requirements.” Since then, Samantha has visited some college campuses, and she sees the value of keeping her options open.

Annika and Johanna Mauro

Annika and Johanna Mauro

Annika is a senior at Arcata High School, and is right in the midst of the college search process. For her mom, Johanna, cost is a concern, but she has long been committed to helping her daughter go to college. "I think I always assumed my children would go to college, so when we talked about it, we used words like, ‘When you go to college…’ I would also talk about my college experiences in a positive light.”

Getting Ready for College

6-8th Grade

  • Make sure your student is taking classes that get them ready for the “A-G” college prep classes in high school.
  • Encourage your student to study hard and try to earn A’s and B’s in their classes.
  • Talk with your student frequently about why college is important.
  • Help your student find ways to get involved in school activities and community service.

9-10th Grade

  • Make a four-year plan for your student to finish takes classes from the “A-G” college prep classes during high school
  • Have your student take the PSAT exam. It’s good practice for the SAT exam in 11th grade, and it gets your student’s name out there so colleges can start recruiting them.
  • Set aside a specific time each month to talk about getting ready for college.
  • Read through some online information about college. It helps to know what’s available.

11th Grade

  • Make sure your student takes the SAT exam. They might also want to take the ACT, though usually that’s not needed in California.
  • Encourage your student to prepare for the SAT. There are many options, including this free tool from Khan Academy.
  • Review the A-G college prep classes and make sure your student is on track.
  • If you are able, take your student for an in-person visit to some colleges.

12th Grade

  • Make sure your student completes the A-G college prep classes. Don’t let “senioritis” ruin their hard work.
  • If your student hasn’t taken the SAT, or wants to try for a better score, get that done early in the school year.
  • Apply for state and federal financial aid by completing the FAFSA financial aid form starting in October the year BEFORE your student starts college.
  • Have talks about life goals and careers, and encourage your student to take an online career assessment.

Attitude Matters

Classes and grades aren’t everything. Here are traits that make a big difference, you can improve, and employers really value.


Attitude Traits you can improve


An ability to try and try again, keeping up the effort toward long-term goals. 

Learn about grit  

Improve grit  


An ability to bounce back from failures and challenges, and to take healthy risk.

Learn and improve resilience  

Growth Mindset

You aren’t just “born with it.” This is a belief that abilities and intelligence can be improved with effort. 

 Learn about growth mindset

 Improve growth mindset