My name is Amira. I'm a first-generation student from Las Vegas, Nevada. I graduated high school in 2018 and since then I have matured greatly.
I created this website as a source for first-generation students to relate with one another. I had few first-generation students like me, so whenever I made conversation with students who weren't first generation, I always felt like I was tremendously behind.
High school counselors did help me a lot, but having so much students, it can become very hard to get individualized time. First-generation students are also less likely to go to authority for help, which was definitely my case. This causes a rift between first-generation students and college applications. A lot of first-gens have to play a game of catch up and manifests into a daunting and intimidating task. I remember (dramatically enough) crying in my desk because I submitted the wrong year CSS profile to one of my colleges and had to redo the right year ten days after the deadline. Mistakes like this can be detrimental to one's eligibility to go to college.
That's why I created this website -- to create a safety net for others. We can catch each others mistakes.
I reread my old college essays I submitted and man, were they terrible. I didn't bother to read on how to write an effective college essay because I thought that my regular academic writing would suffice. I did not even know there was a better way to write a college essay. It's the little things that make the difference. I also did not have a single person read my essay. This caused a lot of grammatical errors in my essay, leaving me to sound confused and obviously rushed.
One of my other mistakes was that I did my college applications DEADLY close to the deadline. I did not give my time to think at all. I did one of my application to my top school a week before (please try to avoid this). I did another college application a day before (again, this is not the ideal).
I had no clue QuestBridge was a thing when I was applying for college. I would've killed for the opportunity to apply.
Early decision -- please only do this if you know you can afford the school.
This is so important, I can't stress it enough.
LET ME TELL YOU A STORY:
This is kind of embarrassing to tell because it clearly shows how little I knew about anything about the college admissions process.
I ED'd to my top school (which will remain disclosed for now). I got in! I took a gap year to save some money, mature, learn what I liked and wanted to major in, and prepare to leave the country for university.
Three months before I had to fly out, my mother's finances drastically fell. Her credit score tanked. Come to student loan application time to pay the rest of my schooling, I got denied for every single one. Countless nights applying everywhere in hopes I don't get auto-denied. I could not even choose to go to this school with debt. I couldn't get any other co-signer because all my other relatives live outside the United States.
A week before I was supposed to fly out of the country for orientation (after I prepared my visa, my bags, and everything else) everything spiraled. I had to face the reality that I might not be able to attend my dream school. After continuous emails with the school, pleading for help, they dropped the bomb. You can't come.
Obviously I cried for a bit. There was nothing I could do. I can't afford $30,000 out of my pocket to attend my dream school.
Yes, I was extremely naive.
Before anyone asks me how in the world I could possibly even pay for that college, I was under the impression that student loan companies would give even under poor credit. That is not the case. I also asked my counselor if I should attend because I wasn't sure about the cost. Oddly enough, they said yes. But I don't blame him, they did not know the extent of my finances due to the lack of individualized time. I was obviously going to follow the lead of my counselor because who else would I turn to?
This two year gap-year I'm on is odd but I learned to rebuild. What can I do? Make it easier for everyone else.
Don't make the same mistakes I made. There's a plethora of them that I made that makes me cringe when I think back on it. But I can change what's next. Students like us shouldn't have to suffer due to their lack of knowledge. It takes more than a Google search.
I've grown and learned from the time I started applications to now. I've learned that there are WAY more schools than I thought there were senior year. Because of that, I now have a new dream school and a new set of applications to work on (correctly this time!).
I can't wait to start college. But for now, I will do what I can to make the dream possible.
Leave a comment about your experiences!