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Meet our 2017 CollegePoint Scholars! (Part 3)

CollegePoint provides free, virtual college advising to high achieving low- and moderate-income students nationwide.

Thirty CollegePoint students from the high school Class of 2017 were selected to receive scholarships based on their stellar academic achievement and completion of key CollegePoint milestones. The scholarship, supported by the Thompson Family Foundation and Bloomberg LP employees, is a last-dollar award designed to cover unmet costs for students at their institution of choice. These students, who represent fourteen states, will be enrolling in 25 of the top college and universities nationwide this fall.

For the last two weeks, we profiled a group of our CollegePoint scholars. You can read about them here and here.

Below, we have profiled our final round of scholars! If you want to learn more about CollegePoint, visit our website.

Alberto Carillo- North Carolina State University at Raleigh

I’m Alberto, and I am from Spartanburg, South Carolina. Ever since I could speak, I expressed dreams of wanting to be a “builder” in the future. Luckily, school introduced me to the field of engineering, and I realized it was perfect for my “builder” aspirations- I have been passionate about it ever since. The college application process was very stressful; however, CollegePoint provided extraordinarily helpful tips for me while writing my essays, and it eased the stress of the process. Ultimately, I have chosen to attend NC State University for its prestigious engineering program. Unfortunately, my financial aid was lackluster, and I was worried that I would have to incur an exorbitant amount of student loan debt. However, just when I was going to give up, CollegePoint awarded me their scholarship! It is a tremendous honor for me to have received such a generous award, and I cannot even begin to express my gratitude. Thank you, CollegePoint for lifting the burden off of the application process and my future!

Joe Carter- Northern Arizona University

Hello, my name is Joseph Carter La Fontaine and I am from Tuscon, Arizona. My mother was originally from Canada and my father was from Mexico. My mom has been a working woman her whole life, supporting two kids, and I hope to be able to support her one day so she doesn’t have to work anymore. I graduated 3rd in my class at Amphitheater High School and was a Co-President of National Honor Society. This fall, I am enrolling at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona to major in Computer Science. The college application process was a long and arduous one but, despite the challenges I faced, CollegePoint was always there to help me overcome them. I would specifically like to thank my advisor, Sami, who helped me make the best decisions that suited my personal situation. I’m glad that due to the hard work I’ve put in and the amazing opportunities with which I’ve been presented, I can attend college debt-free despite coming from a low-income family. It allows me to pursue my dreams, something of which I don’t think anyone should lose sight.

Roscoe Harris- Stanford University

Hi, I’m Roscoe Harris III and I’m from Dallas, Texas. I loved playing video games as a little boy. This sparked my interest in technology. It was because of my love of videogames that I disliked going to school as a child. I felt as if it took away from the time I could be spending playing games! All of this changed when my uncle told me “find something to like about school.” At that moment I found a connection- my interest in math and science burgeoned because I realized that math and science were the building blocks of game design. As I grew older and my interests changed, I became more interested in building robots and trying new electronics rather than just playing games. The prospect of attending college became something that was very important to me but there was one issue- it was very expensive. I would look up the top private universities for engineering and be discouraged because I knew my family could never afford the ever-increasing cost of attendance. One day I opened my email and was asked if I would like a free CollegePoint Mentor. I decided to accept the offer and it was one of the best choices I’ve ever made. My mentor, Shannon O’Donnell, helped me find colleges with great financial aid and also helped me perfect my essays. My dream school had been Stanford for a long time, but I didn’t think I could get in as the acceptance rate for the previous class was 4.8%. Shannon encouraged me to apply regardless and I will forever be grateful for that advice. When I was accepted and received my financial aid package, I still had a sizeable cost of attendance but this scholarship covered all of that. It is because of CollegePoint that I get to go to my dream University and not spend a dime. Thank you CollegePoint!

Becky Ma- University of California at Los Angeles

My name is Becky Ma and I am from Monterey Park, CA. My family consists of my older brother, my mother, and my father. Despite having a low-income, my small family has never hesitated to support me in anything that I decide to do. My parents migrated to California when my brother was still a toddler and have worked extremely hard to provide an income that have allowed my brother and I to live a rather comfortable lifestyle. Ever since I was young, I have always been inspired by my family doctor and I began to take an interest in medicine. I love to learn about the human body and its processes. As the second child, my college application experience was not as hard as some people’s; however, it was still a difficult process. I managed to get help with choosing which colleges to apply to and my first CollegePoint coach helped me form a good list that included safety, target and reach schools. Writing essays for colleges was definitely the most challenging part, but I had teachers around me who were willing to help me along the way. After receiving my acceptance letters with the estimated financial aid awards, my CollegePoint coach helped me narrow down my choices for my final college. Thanks to my coach, I was able to compare the financial aid that I received from each college, and she helped me make my final decision. CollegePoint made my college application process a little easier and a little less stressful.

Su Ly- University of Pennsylvania

Hi, my name is Su. My family and I immigrated to the United States from Cambodia when I was four years old. I plan to be an MD/PhD, and I am specifically interested in medical science and oncology. My college application process went smoothly. I was fortunate to complete everything early-on in the process. I applied Early Decision and was accepted, so by early December, I was done with college applications. CollegePoint really helped make my college process go as smoothly as it did. Through CollegePoint, I was able to apply (and receive) many scholarship offers. I was able to find a reliable source of college information through many thoughtful conversations with my coach. My coach really walked me through the whole process and she edited most, if not all, of my essays. She was an amazing support system that I was very fortunate to have. Thank you, CollegePoint.

Phuong Nguyen- Emory University

I was born in Hanoi, Vietnam and immigrated to the United States in 2004. I maintained my origins by keeping my birth name and practicing my native tongue while still learning a new language and adapting to American culture throughout my childhood. Through these conflicting experiences, I discovered an adoration for writing and reading, as well as public speaking. Applying to college was an independent endeavor for me, as I received little support at school and at home. However, I was proactive and made an effort to reach out to organizations like QuestBridge and CollegePoint for counseling and scholarship support. As I grew closer to my CollegePoint counselor, I was connected to resources that helped me prepare for scholarship interviews and build a balanced college list. Thanks to CollegePoint, it all worked out and I have committed to Emory University. However, before heading to Emory, I will be embarking on a gap year program in Ecuador this fall! One day I wish to serve third world countries in advancing sustainable, educational development and I hope that this program can help me nourish this passion!

Flora Wu- California State University, Long Beach

Hi! I’m Flora. I was born and raised in sunny California, warranting the countless hours spent wading around in the ocean. Some of my favorite activities include hiking and going to the beach, none of which would be as enjoyable without the presence of my family and friends. Growing up, I spent a lot of time accompanying my grandpa to doctors’ appointments. And despite the less-than-ideal reasons behind these visits, there was never a dull moment because of the compassionate nurses. Even with a language barrier, my grandpa and his nurse were the best of friends; my desire to pursue nursing began in those waiting rooms. In high school, I spent many of my weekends doing community service with my friends. Even after my friends stopped going to events, I still woke up at 5am to pass out water to marathon runners, set up tables and meals at pantries, and glue seeds to the annual Rose Parade floats. I always had a great time because being able to aid people, no matter how minimal, brought me an overwhelming amount of happiness. Since I was the first in my family to apply to college, the application process was intimidating and difficult. Though there were many available resources at school, I felt that my CollegePoint coach played a major role in helping me through the process. She provided me with a great deal of information, guidance, and moral support during those stressful months. My coach was always there for me when I had questions or just needed someone to calm my anxieties about college. Most importantly, she helped me weigh my options when it came to deciding on a school and supported my decisions, reassuring me along the way that success is attainable anywhere as long as I try.

Tianyin Xu- University of Texas at Austin

Hi! My name is Tianyin. My family immigrated to the United States five years ago from Guangzhou, China. A sudden change of living environment and the education system hit me badly in the first year here. Not only did I have to adjust to a new environment, but I also needed to take on many household responsibilities since my parents cannot speak English. Because I was busy staying up-to-date in school and taking care of my family, I seldom thought about what I want to do in the future. Fortunately, I was selected to participate in a summer program at the University of Houston in 2016, where I gained profound experience in Computer Science. Soon after, I took business-related classes at Houston Community College. I love both Computer Science and Business, but I was unsure about how to combine them until my friend from the University of Texas at Austin introduced me to Management Information Systems. The moment I heard about this major, I felt excited. I had several conversations with my CollegePoint Coach, Katrina, about my next steps. She emailed me some great tools to find colleges that would fit my interests and she would “spam” me week after week with a list of scholarships to consider. To an extent, I felt guilty if I did not take advantage of these great resources Katrina had sent me. Near the end of November, I heard back from UT Austin that I was accepted to their Business School. I was so overjoyed! I told Katrina about this great news, yet we realized I would have a huge financial gap if I decided to attend UT Austin. So again, Katrina emailed me week after week to motivate me to apply for scholarships, and I emailed her week after week to ask for assistance editing and revising my essays (I hope she enjoyed my “Chinenglish” in all my essays). All the hard work paid off when I received a full-ride to UT Austin, and I cannot thank Katrina and CollegePoint enough for being so patient and helpful!