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The KnowHow2GO Campaign on College Access

December 30, 1899


​Why College Matters

Higher education will determine the future of our nation. Often, income inequalities are driven by a lack of access to college. Not only are college graduates half as likely to be unemployed as those with only a high school degree, they are also more likely to vote and be leaders in their communities. The economic health and social viability of a democratic society is determined by the education of its citizens. We must remove the barriers to postsecondary education access. 


As the nation’s most comprehensive public service campaign on college access, KnowHow2GO inspires low-income, first-generation students in middle and high school to prepare for and succeed in college. Originally sponsored by ACE, the Ad Council, and Lumina Foundation, KnowHow2GO uses public service advertisements (PSAs) designed for radio, television, and print media to convey a sense of urgency and personal responsibility to students who wish to make their college dreams a reality.

The Four Steps

KnowHow2GO’s messaging—built upon four simple steps—provides students with a simple, yet impactful framework for navigating the path to college preparation and success. The four steps are:

  • Be a pain—in a good way. Let everyone know you want to go to college and that you need their help. Mentors are critical to help you along the way.
  • Push yourself and don’t stop. Take the tough classes in high school; you’ll be better prepared for college. Working a little harder today will make getting into college easier.
  • Find the right fit. Discover your passion and find out what college is the best match for you.
  • Put your hands on some cash. If you think you can’t afford college, think again. KnowHow2GO can help you navigate the financial aid process. 
Resources for College Access Professionals

KnowHow2GO’s impact is great enhanced by a diverse set of national partners and college access networks that provide students with hands-on guidance and additional local resources. To support this important work, KnowHow2GO offers a wealth of tools for college access professionals.

The campaign assets listed below are available at no charge for use by the public and nonprofit sectors as long as proper credit is provided to ACE. KnowHow2GO assets may not be used by or associated with any for-profit ventures. Campaign assets include:

  • Four Steps Brochures
  • Mentor Workbook
  • State Your Case Toolkit
  • On-the-Ground Playbook
  • College Matters
  • KnowHow2GO Logos
  • Collateral Material Designs
Resources for Students
  • KnowHow2GO Website
  • Four Steps Brochures
  • Mentor Workbook
  • Public Service Announcements
  • Viral Videos
Evidence of KnowHow2GO’s Impact

Since its launch in January 2007, KnowHow2GO has received nearly $238 million in donated media placement, consistently ranking within the top 7 of 50 concurrent Ad Council campaigns. As the nation’s most comprehensive public service campaign on college access, KnowHow2GO inspired and cultivated college access networks across the country, developing a wealth of tools for college access providers. More importantly, the campaign’s “Four Steps” messaging continues to provide middle and high school students with a simple, yet impactful framework for navigating the path to college preparation and success.

Annual benchmark surveys conducted throughout the life of the campaign demonstrate KnowHow2GO’s positive impact on students’ awareness, attitudes, and behaviors leading to improved college preparation. Higher proportions of KnowHow2GO’s target student audience say they are taking steps to prepare for college, including taking more rigorous courses. Targeted students are increasingly confident that they are doing what they need to do to prepare for college and they report they are having more impactful conversations about college with a wider variety of adults. While it is not possible to isolate the campaign’s impact compared to other factors—programs, policies, and other messages—KnowHow2GO’s continued high level of awareness among this hard-to-reach target suggests that the campaign has played an important role in these positive trends. 

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