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A coach’s support made all the difference to this high school graduate

Naima, a 2024 Roseville High School graduate, is excited to begin her college journey at Duke University in the fall.

The youngest of four sisters, Naima first heard about College Possible from her eldest sister. As first-generation Americans, all four siblings joined College Possible. “My parents don’t have college degrees,” says Naima. “They really put an emphasis on [the importance of] education. My oldest sister is the first person in my family to attend and graduate from college; my parents really wanted her to have support and preparation, and a school counselor told them about College Possible. She really liked [the program] and it was kind of like a ripple effect.”

Naima also learned more about College Possible from a flyer at her school. She was unsure about participating in the program at first, but after talking to her sisters, she learned how helpful College Possible had been during the application process. “To have people who understand the struggle of being a first-generation student from a low-income background was really important. Counselors don’t always understand,” shares Naima. Like most College Possible students, Naima joined as a junior in high school.

With guidance and support from her AmeriCorps coach, Naima applied to an astounding 25 schools – for reference, most College Possible students apply to six. “I was blessed with the best College Possible coach during my senior year,” says Naima. “Yen proofread all my essays for me. She would give me feedback and advice; I see my peers and they have parents or siblings who can do that. I know my siblings are in college, so they can’t really look at my essays all the time.” Naima’s father came to the United States in 1997, followed by her mother and eldest sister in 1999. While her parents are fluent in English, “They didn’t really go to school for this type of thing,” Naima noted. “So, I definitely felt a gap that Yen covered really well. She would read my essays and give me instant feedback. It was one of the most important ways that I utilized the program during my senior year.”

Naima plans to study economics or accounting at Duke University in the fall. “I want to be a businesswoman,” she states. Drawn to leadership roles and working with people, she originally wanted to be a teacher, but quickly realized that she didn’t have the unique skillset society requires of teachers. After taking a microeconomics class in high school, Naima was drawn to finance. She plans to explore her options, but right now wants to focus on economics.

“I feel like College Possible was like a good support system,” says Naima. “My coach, Yen, made me realize that literally anything is possible. I feel like she made the process possible and made it seem like it was doable. My college admission process was so much easier with her help with the applications, and on top of it, her support and just having someone to talk to made all the difference.”

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