Education was always a top priority in my household growing up. Good grades were expected and my sisters and I were going to college, no questions asked. My parents did everything in their power to drive us to apply and be accepted into college and their dedication served as an inspiration for us.
Imagine my surprise when I found myself, a college sophomore, in the middle of an identity crisis. I thought I had chosen the wrong school. I should have been more financially responsible and applied to more scholarships and grants instead of just signing away student loans. Worst of all I had no idea what I was expected to become as a result of my courses.
Through numerous hard lessons learned over the years, I discovered the source of my crisis: that college was supposed to be a journey and not a destination. I simply did not have the guidance I needed to pursue the right courses or extracurricular activities that would benefit me in the long run.
I was prepared to enter college, but I was not prepared to attend.
Education week is a call to action. College preparation must begin much sooner than the months leading up to freshman enrollment. #EsElMomento! The moment is now to ensure that students not only have access to college, but that they are also well prepared to attend. Latino students are enrolling in colleges and universities at a higher rate than ever (See Pew Research Center article http://ow.ly/pHQIN). Our message that education is important has been heard! ¡Wepa! We must now make sure that we don’t just get there, but that we make the most of it.
How do we accomplish it?
- Take a look at www.eselmomento.com, the homepage of Education Week @Univision. Virtual tours of schools, applications that compare statistics of different universities, and Department of Education financial aid tools are all immediately available.
- Visit the course descriptions on the university website to familiarize yourself with the programs in detail instead of just the name of the degree. Until we can convince schools to provide these resources in seminars throughout high school, we must be proactive, both as students and as parents.
- Talk to current college students and recent college graduates and ask about their experience. We have many students on our #LATISM blog pages who you can certainly reach out to regarding involvement with on-campus organizations.
- Search specifically for Latino Grants and Scholarships. There are many out there, but you have to apply! Check out http://www.hsf.net.
- Spread the word and be positive! By now, it’s common knowledge that colleges want students who are active in their communities through volunteering, but so do employers!
Let’s end Education Week with the promise of making education a priority year-round. If we prepare ourselves, we can then help to prepare others, and together we make a positive impact on future students. #Eselmomento #latism