Hispanic Teens and College

Posted: Jul 28 2014

Graduation Hat-By Barbara Alvarez

You’re looking at what universities and colleges to which you want to apply. You’ve done everything right – gotten high grades in high school, taken part in several extracurricular activities and you’ve taken your ACT and SAT. While your college entrance exam scores may not be what you had anticipated getting, they’re still good enough for you to get accepted into at least one of the colleges of your choice.

A Few Myths
º “I’m not rich – I can’t go to college!” Wrong. Students from lower-income and middle class families attend universities every year. These families earn less than $25,000 every year, so, as you see, it is possible, using financial aid, to go to college. Don’t automatically think “student loans.” Instead, think about scholarships, grants and work-study programs. You’ll be able to find scholarships intended for minority students, so start looking!

º “But I’m undocumented.” Call the colleges you’re interested and see if they have programs for undocumented students. MALDEF or the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund can help you get the information you need.

º “I can’t afford to go now. That means I’ll never go.” Not necessarily. If you have to work to support your family or earn money for college, that life experience can give you the skills you need to go through college. Even if you can’t go now, apply anyway. Things may change for you.

Diversity and Large Institutions
If you are thinking that attending larger universities guarantees you diversity, with chances to go to classes with foreign students as well as students of other ethnicities and races, that may be true. But will you mingle with these students once you’re out of class? You may not do so in a larger institution.

You may have a better chance of meeting students from other backgrounds by attending a smaller college. You’ll get to know these other students, plus you’ll get the chance to learn about other cultures.

Hispanics and Challenging Classwork
If you are getting ready to go to college, you may be wondering if you should choose easier classes or more challenging ones. If you have taken honors or even A.P. classes in high school, you’re already used to the rigor of these classes. Go on ahead and choose that Pre-Calculus or Honors English class! You’ll be able to handle it!

That Four-Year Graduation Rate
Most institutions of higher learning maintain statistics on their four-year graduation rate. Not every student graduates within four years of beginning university/college attendance.

If your madre and padre expect you to be out of school in four years, you need to know that different factors affect your graduation date. First, you may realize that you’ve chosen the wrong major. Once you switch majors, you’re automatically going to extend your time in college.

Second, if you choose a challenging major, such as engineering and you pair that with a program like R.O.T.C., the military officer training program will expect you to spend significant hours each week on their course material. Expect to spend five years, at minimum, in college.

Best wishes with college, it's alot of work, but you'll find it'll definitely pay off!

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