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Applying to College | #WeBelongInCollege Stories

Last updated August 5, 2021

Unfortunately, many of us find ourselves going through the college process alone. We all need more help applying to college. Listen to these #WeBelongInCollege stories and discover how these students managed to persist through the college process. 

Alex’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

As a first generation to college student, Alex has had to figure out a lot of things on her own, including how to pay for college. She has made the most out of quarantine by taking advantage of the extra time to apply for as many scholarships as she can. 

Jackie’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Jackie was discouraged from applying to college by her school counselor. Refusing to give up, Jackie searched for and found the support that she needed and got into every school that she applied to. 

Camila’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Applying to college when you’re a first-generation college student can be very difficult. In Camila’s story, she explains how she found the support she needed to persist. 

Daniela’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Daniela, who is a first generation college student, talks about how she managed to get the help she needed to apply to college, including filling out the FAFSA and applying for scholarships. 

Cheryl’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Cheryl’s story sheds light on how positive college counseling can make all the difference. When Cheryl had the support of a well trained college counselor, she was finally able to make her college dreams come true! 

Zahra’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

What made Zahra so sure that she belonged in college? She was inspired by her mother who defied the odds by going to (and graduating) college while working and raising four kids.

Meril's #WeBelongInCollege Story

In Meril's story, they explain that “the biggest secret of my life is that I’m not a girl.” Meril first came out as non-binary in 9th grade and uses they/them pronouns. When Meril started to fill out college applications, they were confronted again and again with the boxes asking about their gender identity. Meril struggled with this and decided to write in the college applications as she/her and as a result, started to question if they would be able to feel like they belonged in college. Meril's journey will inspire you.

Thalia’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

When things got tough during the college process, it was Thalia’s siblings that kept her going. As the first in her family to apply to college, she wanted to be a role model for them. She wants to be able to help them when they're ready to begin their college applications. 

Joy’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Joy’s mom stopped going to school after the 8th grade, so Joy had to figure out how to apply to college on her own. Then came the FAFSA. Each step in the process was overwhelming. But the feeling of pride after surmounting the many hurdles she faced made Joy come to believe that we all belong in college.

Jewel's #WeBelongInCollege Story

Because of her learning differences, Jewel began to question if she belonged in college. In Jewel’s story she encourages other students to continue to “chase down their dreams” so “we can change things.”

Alexa’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Alexa questioned whether she belonged in college after watching her sister go through the college process. Her sister was accepted into her dream school, but then couldn’t afford to enroll there.

Melanie’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Melanie dreamed of going to college. However, applying to college was daunting because she didn’t have the guidance and support that she needed. She started to question if she belonged. It was when she and her peers managed to help each other navigate the college process that she realized that they all belong in college!

Heide’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Heide was always a great student. However, when she struggled with the college application process, she began to wonder if she belonged. If she could get to college, she would be the first person in her family to do so. In her story she explains how she overcame her fears and continues to reach for her college dreams.

Wilkerlyne's #WeBelongInCollege Story

Wilkerlyne always knew she wanted to be a nurse but she started to question if she belonged in college when she attended a college fair. A college rep told her that she did not seem “like a college graduate” and only reluctantly shared a pamphlet. But Wilkerlyne refused to let a naysayer keep her from believing in herself.

Daniel's #WeBelongInCollege Story

Daniel struggled academically in high school and questioned if he belonged in college. He came to believe that he does belong and now “he wouldn’t know where he would be in life” if he hadn’t gone to college.

Nicole’s #WeBelongInCollege Story

Not only did Nicole have to figure out how to apply to college on her own, she had to convince her parents to let her apply. They didn’t go to college, and all they wanted her to do after college was to find a good job. Even after she was rejected from all of the colleges she applied to, Nicole refused to give up. Hear how she found the inspiration she needed to persist and what she’s up to now.

My name is Nicole Hall, and this is my college story. In 2018, as a senior in high school, I experienced one of the most stressful and conflicting years of my life. My peers and friends around me spent nearly every hour working on college applications or preparing for the SAT and ACT. I went to school in an upper middle-class neighborhood and attended a very good public high school. At my school, it was normal for kids to go to schools like UCLA, MIT, Berkeley, or even Harvard. For many of my peers, they had been guided by their parents since birth on how to prepare for and get into the best colleges. But my family was different, neither of my parents ever went to college. I never learned anything about college and I never had a “dream school” because I thought that I wasn’t meant to go to college. I didn’t know if I should even apply. I already had a job that I liked, and my parents taught me that college wasn’t necessary. Despite this, I applied to a couple random schools, just in case. I didn’t really know how to fill out the applications, or what information made me look like a desirable applicant. I felt inferior because everyone around me was so much more prepared. I was rejected from nearly every school that I applied to. This really hurt and solidified my fear that I wasn’t good enough.

A few weeks before my high school graduation, I found out about community college. I even found a community college that has sports teams that I love! I enrolled in one of my local community colleges and joined the aquatics teams. My first semester was terrible. I hardly knew anyone, I didn’t know what classes to take, my parents didn’t support my choice to go to college, and everyone else seemed like they knew what they were doing. But I hid my feelings. I didn’t tell anyone that I felt lost and I never asked for help. I thought about dropping out. Then something crazy happened; one day, I was having a conversation with my team and they all told me that they wished they were “as put-together as I was.” I was SHOCKED, I felt like the least put-together person in the entire school. In this moment I realized that I am just as capable as anyone else. Just because my parents didn’t go to college does not mean that I can’t. I began using all the resources available and started to take my classes seriously. In less than a month, I will be leaving community college with two associate degrees and a 3.9 GPA. In the fall, I will be transferring to UCLA, the number 1 public school in the nation. While being a first-generation college student has many challenges, it does not restrict us from achieving our goals. I am proud of myself for overcoming the obstacles that I’ve faced, and I know that everyone has a purpose. If you feel like you do not belong, know that this is not true. College can be a scary place, but we are all in this together and we all belong. #ibelongincollege #webelongincollege


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