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How mentorship impacted Juan’s college journey

As a high school student, my aspirations to attend college were slim; there didn’t seem to be much possibility of it for me. The Tuesday and Thursday nights that we spent in College Forward (now College Possible Texas) were memorable. We completed applications, conversed with friends, and had a good snack to top it all off. When I received the acceptance letter from my school of choice, I immediately shared it with my family and College Forward coaches. My most memorable moment was during the first application submission. I had finished my essays and was ready to apply and submit my application when suddenly, I stopped myself from clicking the submit button. I was very nervous and hesitant to submit my application. “What if they reject my application?” I thought to myself. It was then that I quickly clicked the submit button and hoped for the best.

One thing that I believe will help a student succeed in college is mentorship. I believe this to be even more important for first-generation college students. The reality is that it can be difficult to navigate a new town and a new institution, especially if you are a first-gen student. Having a mentor or a person that knows the school and town will help you tremendously. Find a person who you can connect with and is willing and able to give some of their time to orient you and help you be successful in college. Lastly, I would say what my high school teachers first said to me, “Get involved, be social, join organizations, try out new things, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, don’t be afraid to ask for help!

College Forward allowed me to use my experience to help out students who may go through the same struggles by offering them a helping hand. These and many experiences have led me to work and collaborate in the areas of Higher-Ed, immigration, and the nonprofit sector. Currently, I am pursuing a Master’s in Public Policy at the University of Michigan. This had been a challenging semester, but I have had plenty of help along the way. I still keep in touch with many of the people who have helped me, but I am also meeting new people as well. Education continues to shape my life in various ways. The outcomes of pursuing higher education impact me on a daily basis. This is why I value my education and believe it’s a very important goal to pursue. I am currently a Graduate Student Research Assistant at the National Forum on Education for the Public Good.

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