During my tenure as a college admission officer, my colleagues and I looked forward to April 1 when we shared admission decisions with students. While some students knew exactly what to do and met the May 1 commitment decision deadline with ease, many Latino students who were the first in their families to go to college needed a bit more guidance with the process.
I was one of those students although I was fortunate in many ways that point to key steps.
I had the guidance of a great counselor who helped me navigate the process. She encouraged me to visit colleges within driving distance and to connect with alumni in my area from out-of-state colleges. Nowadays, students have the option of doing online virtual tours, participating in chat rooms or joining special fly-in programs.
I followed my high school counselor’s advice. Choosing my college was not solely based on financial aid but on the school that I felt was the best fit for me. Although I didn’t end up going to the institution that gave me the most aid, I did get a package that included grants, loans and work-study. Since my award letter noted aid from these various sources, including parent loans, it was important to get clarification from financial aid counselors to make sure I’d be able to cover my college costs.
When I was making my college decision, I asked myself: What do I value in a college? In what type of environment do I learn best? What are my goals and what makes me happy? I was lucky to have very supportive parents who trusted me. They allowed me to have the final word on this big decision. The school I chose, Claremont McKenna College, was not just where I
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