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From College Possible student to coach: Fatuma’s inspiring journey

Headshot Photo Of Fatuma Smiling.

This story was written by Fatuma Hilowle, an AmeriCorps member for College Possible Omaha.

College Possible, or “Colle Bossible” as my mother likes to call it, has been one of the driving factors behind my college success. As a first-generation, immigrant student, I don’t think I would have been the student I was in college without College Possible. From the moment I was interviewed as a high school sophomore, I knew College Possible was going to be my ticket to earning a college degree, and I was determined to do whatever it took to get there.

For my family, college was not something that was expected of us. Coming from a culture where none of the adults in my family had even stepped foot in a school before, even finishing high school was seen as something groundbreaking. We lived in a refugee camp where it cost money to go to school. No one had the money to send themselves or their children to school and instead learned how to be caretakers or learned a trade. As the child of an immigrant, my biggest reason for wanting to further my education stems from wanting to make something of myself and make my mother proud.

My mother and father made the choice to leave their home in war-torn Somalia to move to Kenya, where they later had my three siblings and me. After the death of my father, my mother knew the only way she would see my siblings and me thrive and reach our full potential would be if we were given the opportunity to do so. College Possible gave us that opportunity.

I watched my older sister Batula, and saw firsthand how College Possible helped her get into the University of Nebraska Omaha with a full-ride scholarship in 2015. My mother encouraged me to follow in her footsteps.

Thanks to College Possible, my sister and I were able to visit colleges, take the ACT, learn about scholarships and financial aid, and gain all the necessary resources we would need to succeed in high school, college, and beyond. I know that going to college is not an option for everyone and I count my blessings every day that I had the support system to do so.

In high school, I knew the fastest way to success was by going to college and pursuing what I loved. My College Possible coach, Mallory, helped me apply and get accepted into all my top colleges. Through group coaching sessions, she helped me prepare for the ACT and apply for as many scholarships as possible. From my junior year of high school until high school graduation, Mallory was consistent in her commitment to making college possible for me and the rest of the students she served. It was through her consistent support that I became the recipient of the Omaha Education Association Scholarship, the Omaha South High Alumni Scholarship, and the Susan T. Buffett Scholarship.

In college, I found comfort in knowing that I had College Possible coaches on campus that were there as a guide for me during my five-year college career. Whether it was filling out the FAFSA, enrolling in classes, helping me communicate with professors, or trying to figure out how to write in AP style, I knew going into the College Possible office would answer all my questions.

From the beginning of my college journey up until the day of graduation, I was in constant communication with my College Possible coaches. On May 18, 2023, I earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and media communication with a concentration in public relations and advertising and minors in communications and psychology. Because College Possible has always been a pillar of hope for me and my family, it only made sense for me to come back to College Possible and serve as a college success coach. I want to be able to pour the same love and support that was poured into me, into my students. Through my service, I hope to impact students the way my coaches have impacted me and help make college possible.

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