San Mateo County’s adult schools serve a critical role in educating residents and immigrants and preparing them for successful careers. However, the transition from adult school to college can be challenging. Many students are learning English as a second language, and it can be especially intimidating for them to navigate the complexities of college life.

Adult-Education College and Career Educational Leadership (ACCEL) programs are designed to make that transition easier. ACCEL San Mateo County provides support for students going from San Mateo Adult School to degree and certificate programs at College of San Mateo. They strive to provide education about college opportunities to the students as well as create innovative pathways so that students have the opportunity and feel more confident about attending college. ACCEL offers student counseling, career planning, academic support and other services to help students succeed.

San Mateo Adult School students are diverse in ethnicity, age, and education levels. Most are English as a Second Language (ESL) learners or are in a GED/HSE program. In a recent survey of 20 students, 35% were between 18-27, 25% of the students were between 28-37, 25% were between 38-37, and 15% were between 48-57.

San Mateo Adult School students have a variety of goals, including English language development, career advancement, pursuing one of the SMCCCD college’s many CTE certificates or associates degrees, and transferring to a four-year university. While many are ESL students, a significant number have strong academic backgrounds. As shown in the chart, more than 20% of the students possess a four-year degree:

It is crucial to support this population in our community, so that all San Mateo County residents can reach their educational and career goals. To learn more about ACCEL, visit