Meet Rukhsar Sayani, a first-generation college student who recently graduated from Hamilton High School and has started her first year at UCLA. In the education world, the term “first-generation college student” refers to a student whose parents do not have college degrees. In Rukhsar’s case, it means being the first person in her family to go to college in the United States. “I consider myself to be a first generation college student since I am the first in my family to attend college in America. My father went to college in India and got a degree in commerce, but unfortunately that degree has barely any value in America which led to limited career opportunities and success,” Rukhsar shared.
“Being the first to attend college in America, I needed lots of resources and guidance to make college accessible for me. Thanks to my Fulfillment Fund advisors, I was kept well-informed about my options and resources for getting into college,” said Rukhsar.
Rukhsar has been part of the Fulfillment Fund since the 9th grade and as a result, she received classroom presentations on A-G course completion, financial literacy and college planning all throughout high school. “To me the Fulfillment Fund is like a parent. A parent will go out of his or her way to make sure the child is well-nurtured, nourished, and guided. The Fulfillment Fund has been the same way, nourishing us with the information we need to be successful in college and in life. It has provided us with some of the most understanding and helpful mentors. It has provided us with so many resources and workshops that would be extremely costly to attend elsewhere. The one-on-one sessions I had senior year with Fulfillment Fund college counselors allowed me to stay on track of my college applications. I am thankful to the Fulfillment Fund.”
Rukhsar applied to eleven schools; four UCs, four CSUs and three privates. Along the way, Fulfillment Fund college counselors reviewed all her college applications before submitting as well as her personal statements and financial aid documents.
She was accepted to 10 out of the 11 schools and on National Decision Day, Rukhsar accepted her admission to UCLA! “UCLA was my first choice. As far as I can recall, UCLA was the school I was hoping to go even before I reached high school. In fact, it was my motivation to do well during high school,” Rukhsar explained.
Rukhsar started her first year at UCLA this past September and she is currently undeclared, but has found an interest in Computer Science after taking AP Computer Science Principles during her senior year at Hamilton. One thing she is looking forward to is joining the Muslim Student Association (MSA) at UCLA because it fosters a space for Muslim students on campus. “I feel that UCLA’s MSA would provide a kind environment for me,” she further explained, “As a Muslim and hijabi myself, I have struggled to live in a community where I am accepted without providing an explanation for who I am and what my values are. The MSA creates a sense of belonging and awareness for our community, which is why I am looking forward to being part of the organization.”
Like most first-generation students, Rukhsar sees college as a way to “bring honor to her family.” She shared that, “owning the title of first-generation makes me realize how fortunate I am to have the opportunities that the generation before me did not have. It makes me feel that I am important to my family and its source of pride.”
We are very proud of Rakhsar and are excited to hear all the great things she will accomplish at UCLA!