Latinitas - A Strong Voice for Latina Youth

Going to my dream college: How I made it happen

When I turned twelve my parents got a divorce and I boarded a plane to a Fort Worth, Texas. My mom came to America from El Salvador in 1977 and has worked as a house cleaner ever since, so when we came to Fort Worth that’s what she worked as. Since residing in Fort Worth, living in a household run by a single mother with a low income has been very difficult.  My mom has always only made enough money to support my brother and I with food and a place to call home.

                While I was in high school I had my sights set on attending a university. I worked hard every day to make sure I had an opportunity to accomplish my goal. I went to tutorials if I didn’t understand something, turned in my best work on every assignment, and was the editor-in-chief of my school paper. When it was time to fill out college applications my family urged me to go to community college and transfer to a university. I shrugged off the suggestion and set my sights on being a longhorn.

                I was accepted to attend the University of Texas at Austin but my family urged me to go to community college and get my basics out of the way to cut down on college costs. I knew the financial stress of paying my way through UT would fall on my shoulders. If my mom could only support my brother and I, how would she be able to put me through college? This is where scholarships and the FASFA come in.

                I cannot stress how important it is for you to turn in your FASFA. I know it looks intimidating but you can get through it. Since I am a first-generation college student I had no one to help me fill out my FASFA, but luckily for me my high school counselor was open to helping me. So have your parent’s axes handy and make sure to follow the instructions. And ALWAYS double-check his work. By filling out the FASFA you are eligible to receive grants, that by the way, you don’t have to pay back!

Scholarships, scholarships and more scholarships. You have to always keep a look out for scholarships. They are extremely important in pursuing a degree. Scholarships also mean you don’t need to take out any loans, which is the greatest relief you will ever have. When searching for scholarships make a list of all the quirky things you can do. Why do this? The answer is because there are scholarships for everything nowadays. There are scholarships for people who are left handed, have aquariums, like building bikes and so on. But make sure to do background research on these scholarships. If they are asking you to pay a fee before applying it is not a real scholarship, so don’t do it. Make sure that before you give any organizations your personal information they are a legitimate organization.

Most importantly never give up on your dreams. Make it happen. I was able to get a full ride to the college I am currently attending by using the scholarships and grants I received. I was persistent and determined to make my dream come true, without becoming a burden to my family. I am going to the college of my dreams and getting an education that was so close to slipping from my fingers.

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Comment by Lea Thompson on March 1, 2013 at 5:52pm

Congrats Alejandra! I know from experience FASFA and paying for college is stressful. You and your family should feel proud of your persistence and hard work. Thank you for sharing your story with us!




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