There comes a time in the life of high school students when they begin to explore the idea of post-secondary education. Applying for FAFSA, submitting college applications, and scholarship research can be an exciting yet overwhelming experience for students and their families. This is where the College and Career Access program at Hope CommUnity Center steps in by guiding students seeking information about colleges and universities through college fairs and tours, assistance with college applications and scholarship research, career exploration and so much more. Hope believes that access to post-secondary education and careers are important parts of individual and community empowerment.

Recently, we had the opportunity to hear from two high school seniors and Sin Fronteras Youth Group participants, Rosalia and Britney, about their experience applying to and getting acceptance letters from colleges. Like most students who join the Sin Fronteras Youth Group at Hope, both Rosalia and Britney learned about the group through their friends and family. Since freshman year, they have been a part of the group and actively serve in the community by supporting food distribution efforts and the annual Toy Sale. Now as high school seniors, they both sought assistance from the College and Career Access program by attending senior meetings, they have gained access to helpful resources such as tutoring, applying for FAFSA, and scholarship information. Rosalia says,

“The College and Career Access Program at Hope CommUnity Center has helped me tremendously, especially this year since I am a senior. I really want to thank Sara, Dulce, and Cameron for absolutely everything they have help me with, from helping me apply to scholarships, providing tutoring, and helping me out to write my essay. As a first-generation student, a lot of things are new for my family and me. For example, applying for FAFSA, I had no idea how to even apply for FAFSA or fill it out. Thanks to Dulce, I was able to fill out my FAFSA early and submit it. I remember having so many questions and doubts because this was all new to me, but thanks to them, I was able to do it. With the College and Career Access Program’s help, I was able to accomplish so much, and I am just thankful for everyone who has helped me during my Senior year because it can be overwhelming at times.”

Both Rosalia and Britney are soon-to-be first-generation college students. Rosalia wants to pursue both a Bachelors’s and Master’s Degree in Business Administration and Britney wants to major in Nursing to become a Registered Nurse and pursue a Doctorate of Nursing Practice to become a Pediatric Nurse Practioner. Last month, they began receiving college acceptance letters from colleges across the nation. Britney shared what it felt to receive them:

“I have received six college acceptance letters so far and when I received those acceptance letters, I felt very proud of myself and relieved. I genuinely thought I was only going to be accepted to the two back up schools I applied for. I felt like during the application process I was really doubting myself and didn’t have high hopes mainly because my SAT score isn’t where I want it to be at but once I started receiving acceptance letters, I became more confident in myself. I felt proud that all my hard work and effort that I put into the past four years of high school paid off.”

When asked what piece of advice they would give students pursuing post-secondary education and applying for college for the first time, they said,

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Find someone who you are comfortable with, who knows about the college [application] process, and ask for help when you need it. Apply for colleges during the summer if possible it will make your life much easier in the end. In my case, I didn’t know students could apply for colleges over the summer. Think about it college applications are one of the most important things you have to do your Senior year besides from applying for FAFSA and scholarships. Just doing that alone will save you so much time, especially since you would be submitting your application before school starts because most likely, by then, you will be too busy doing homework and other things. Not only that but submitting college applications earlier means you will be receiving your decision letters from colleges much faster.”

To learn more about the College and Career Access Program at Hope CommUnity Center: click here


Hope CommUnity Center is a service learning community dedicated to the empowerment of Central Florida’s immigrant and working poor communities through Education, Advocacy, and Spiritual Growth.