Student Profile: Arielle C., Class of 2014
|Arielle C. |
Marietta High School
Arielle’s Babysitting and Hair Styling/Braiding
|College Choice: |
Xavier University of Louisiana
Aspirations: To attend Medical School
Scholarships and Grants:
Gates Millennium Scholar Finalist
|What type of college did you want and why? |
When it came time to chose a college, it was an extremely difficult decision. However, I knew for sure that I wanted to attend an HBCU. I had the opportunity to go on two college tours during high school during my sophomore and junior year. After touring multiple colleges and universities, I decided that I would thrive best at an HBCU. Ultimately, I chose to attend Xavier, which is the only Catholic HBCU in the country and ranks number one for having the highest number of black Medical School graduates. It is also located in one of the most unique, culturally rich, and eccentric cities in the US: New Orleans. After one year at Xavier, I know I made the right decision because I know I am receiving a quality education that will best shape me for Medical School. During high school I always thought that the face of success was always either Asian or Caucasian. Attending Xavier has completely altered my thinking. It is amazing to be able to meet people and attend a university where other black students share my passion for learning and success. I love attending a university where excellence is the expectation. I chose to attend an HBCU to not only meet my academic needs but to be a part of a community, a family, that will always support me and have my best interest at heart. The other factor that helped me choose Xavier was the size. It is a small school that is comprised of at least 3,000 undergraduate students. This is important because I am able to get individualized attention from my professors—which is pertinent to my academic success and future job opportunities and there is a very strong sense of community at the University.
|What type of support did you receive during the college admissions process? |
I do not believe that my college admission process would have been as smooth as it was if it had not been for Mr. and Mrs. Wynn and the College Planning Cohort offered at my church (Turner Chapel AME, Marietta, GA). They helped me develop my résumé, college admission essays, navigate the financial aid process, and revise my scholarship essays. And of course, my mother supported me and definitely prayed for me during this stressful time. She encouraged me, especially when it came down to my anxiety about which college to choose.
|What was most stressful about applying to colleges? |
Ohhhh, the stress that is associated with the college application process. Senior year is stressful enough as it is with maintaining academics, a social life, family relationships, extracurricular activities, sports, etc., but in addition to the college application process, it can bring some people close to tears—I had a few breakdowns myself. The most stressful part was finding time to work on my essays.
|What did you learn? |
I learned that doing things ahead of time will save you a WORLD of heartache, pain, and a mouthful from your mother (which could also cause a little bit of pain). In all seriousness, it is best to submit all applications, whether it is to a college or scholarship committee AT LEAST a month in advance, if not earlier. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. This will cause unnecessary stress for you and your parents. Have multiple copies of your résumé at your disposal, request your official transcripts weeks in advance, ask for your letters of recommendation at least 4 to 6 weeks PRIOR to the date that you plan to submit your applications, look at all of the documents that the school and/or scholarship committee is requesting, and check your email regularly. Most importantly, have a calendar and mark all of your due dates!
|The Money Factor! |
The money factor is definitely important. I was a Finalist for the Gates Millennium Scholarship, due to circumstances beyond my control, I wasn’t eligible for the Pell Grant. However, I received an academic scholarship from Xavier and several outside scholarships.
|What do you wish you had done differently? |
If I could go back I would have better prepared for my standardized tests, especially the ACT. If I had, I would have been offered more scholarship money and would have been able to exempt a few college courses.
|What is your advice? |
My advice to students is to never give up. As cliché as it sounds it is important to remember to just push through, especially senior year. If you are privileged enough to be in a college planning support program like the College Planning Cohort at my church, take it seriously. Get the work done and treat it like one of your academic classes. Listen to counselors—and your parents. I promise; they know what they’re talking about. Finally, to the seniors: BREATHE, it will be over soon. Keep pushing. All of your tears and sacrifices will be worth it at the end. I promise.
My advice to the parents is stay on your students. They will seem to have everything under control, like a duck on water; everything looks fine on the surface but really they’re struggling to stay afloat. And if his or she is anything like me, he or she will not ask for help until the last minute. So help them stay on top of their college applications, scholarship applications, and school work. Ask them about their progress. Even though they probably have not asked for your help when it comes to academics in a long time, this will change Senior year.
My advice to all is to pray. Relationships will be tested during this stressful time but just know that it will get better and it will be totally worth it in the end.
You do not have to know exactly what you want to do in life. College is a place where you can explore options and learn so much more about yourself. Take high school seriously and recognize the importance of each and every class. Take advantage of extra credit opportunities, set goals, get involved, perform meaningful community service, and assume leadership in your school and community. Perhaps most importantly, get help! Counselors are responsible for too many students to have the time to guide you through the process—a hugely complicated process! In the end, you will be excited about the acceptance letters, but it is important to carefully read and understand your award letters. Award letters are often written in ways that may suggest one thing, but really mean something entirely different. You need a degree in accounting to uncover the hidden cost of attendance versus what is actually being offered.