Cherkos Dessalegn moved to the United States with his family during high school and dreamed of attending college. However, navigating the higher education system isn’t easy and Cherkos knew he needed help to reach his goal.
That’s when he found College Possible.
“I really needed this type of program. A program that could help me navigate not only high school, but that also could give me guidance and direction for how to get into college.”
Through College Possible, Cherkos developed close relationships with coaches who helped him raise his ACT score, apply to multiple colleges and secure financial aid. He also met other students who shared his desire to earn a college degree. During afterschool sessions each week, he worked hard to achieve his big goal: college admission.
With the help of his College Possible coach, Cherkos gained admission to several colleges. After careful deliberation, he chose to attend Southwest Minnesota State University to pursue his degree. He explained that, although college was challenging, his mindset was what kept him going.
“Regardless of how difficult it is, I have to do this. That was my mental state at the time. I think with that in mind… you can accomplish anything.”
After earning his bachelor’s degree in finance in 2010, Cherkos decided to give back to College Possible by serving as an AmeriCorps coach for two years. He worked with students at Highland Park High School in St. Paul, the same high school he attended as a student.
As he explains, “College Possible was there for me. I don’t think I would be where I’m at right now if it weren’t for College Possible and, for that, I’m very grateful.”
Cherkos now has a successful career in business intelligence and a family of his own. His daughter is only 2 years old, but he is already thinking about her future.
“I hope that, early on in life, she understands that college is very important and I will do anything to make sure she goes to college.”