Keyanna dropped by my office in early December. With a cheerful spirit and a bit of hesitancy she asked to meet up and map out her transfer plan. She was to graduate in the Spring of 2012 and wanted to learn about the transfer process and prepare her application materials. We met a week after that, mapping out her plan, covering conceptual items such as solid/reach/safety schools, competitive application, holistic review, pre-requisites, improving her Fall and Winter GPA, connecting with college representatives, etc. Needless to say, after that first meeting Keyanna had a sizeable “To Do List.”
We scheduled our next meeting, not for a week or month later, but a few days later. The hesitancy had faded, overcome by the eagerness to get accepted! Throughout the next couple of months, we met over 9 times to: complete her personal statement, plan visits to the university, prepare questions for the college reps, work on revisions of her personal statement, review her college applications, revise the personal statement, oh… and did I mention, we worked on revising her personal statement? Yes, her personal statement.
Keyanna’s first choice was Seattle University, a school where students who are accepted have GPAs that average around 3.6. However, her current GPA did not reflect her true potential. Getting into SU would be a challenge, but as with all things challenging, there are possibilities as long as there is dedication and hope. That’s what Keyanna had. She is a strong young lady, who has overcome a lot in her life, but even moreso, she dreamt big. Her goal was to work for Disney so that she could utilize media to inspire others to believe and never give up hope. Film and media has done that for her; she wished to return the favor.
However, reading the very first couple drafts of her personal statement, she left that out. In our general meetings and conversations, she did not mention it. By our fourth or fifth meeting, I wasn’t sure why she wanted to go in the media industry. Something was missing. I could sense that there was more than meets the eye, and I knew it was not easy for her to share her story. The personal statement for many students is a difficult essay to write. It involves reflecting on our true essence, and asking the tough questions, “Why am I the person I am today? What do I care about? Why do I actually want to go into this career, and what have I’ve been doing to get there?”
At our sixth meeting Keyanna opened up and shared with me more about her past, and the true challenges she had faced. I can’t go into details of her situation, but I can state that media and film from companies like Disney helped inspire her to envision something greater, something she wished, no… a better word, fought to have. With this revelation, she courageously included her voice in her personal statement. After five more revisions, she had her final draft. By mid-February she submitted her Seattle University and Eastern Washington University application.
As her Academic Advisor, I didn’t know if she would get into SU. It was her reach school. However, we had planned for her to garner support through other ways: research the university, research the Film Studies program, meet with department representatives, ask the right questions, acquire letters of recommendations, and improve her GPA for Fall and Winter quarter. With that, she would present the best of herself, her true potential. As long as you try your best, there are no regrets. It would now be up to the universities to decide.
Fast forward to late March. I get an email from Keyanna asking if we could meet about her Central Washington University application. We scheduled a time and then met up. She walks in my office, cheery as she usually is. I don’t sense a thing out of the ordinary. Then a big smile comes out. She sits up tall and her eyes open up and she says, “I got some news!” I look at her out of the corner of my eyes, and ask suspiciously, “What type of news?” She whips out a folder that has the emblem of Seattle University on it, opens it up. I’m thinking to myself, “It must be… “ I read the letter, “Dear Keyanna, Congratulations on your admission to Seattle University!”
We jump for joy, give out some big high fives! It’s a celebration at the TRIO office! She then whips out another acceptance letter. This one from Eastern Washington University! After more jumping for joy and high fives, we calm down a little. I ask her, “Did you already receive these letters when you sent me the email about meeting?” She’s like, “Yeah, didn’t tell you then because I wanted to do it in person!” My reply, “Well played Keyanna. Well played.” =)
That’s the short story of it. Big congratulations to Keyanna and the many other TRIO students who have recently received their acceptance letters from the universities. The process was like taking an additional class of itself, requiring numerous hours researching, writing, and connecting. For Keyanna, it meant incorporating a wide range of strategies to prepare for transferring, from preparing the personal statement development, to networking with college representatives.
Whether you plan to transfer in a couple quarters or in a couple years, utilize the numerous services at TRIO, Highline Community College and the universities. Contact your TRIO Advisor for additional support and keep plugging away.