What It Means to Go to College

By: Jinna Lee, Fulfillment Fund College Counselor 

Meeting high school students and starting a conversation about their college decision and career is always an exciting moment. Some students already know what they want to study, while others are not sure if they want to attend. My role as a college counselor at the Fulfillment Fund is to guide each student through the college admissions process by providing resources and opening new doors that will lead to more opportunities in their future. 

This year, through virtual counseling sessions, we browsed college websites, looked at the majors they offer, and checked the distance from students’ homes to see if they were open to the idea of living in dorms. Together, we also looked at the cost of each school and their financial aid information, making sure they applied for FAFSA or the CA Dream Act application. 

College is the first educational institution that the students attend as adults, dreaming of their future careers, and I am grateful for the opportunity to work with students by guiding them to make the right decision for themselves and their families. 

We asked our class of 2021 who recently made their college decisions what it meant for them to be heading to college this fall. Here are a few of their responses:

UC Merced

“Going to college means that I get to do something big with my future career and be something that my parents never got the opportunity to be. It also means that hard work paid off and that I should continue to work hard.”
Genesis, UC Merced ‘25 

“Seeing the smile on my dad’s face said it all! I am fulfilling not only my dream but also his. I will be the first person in my family to go to college. Leaving Bangladesh at the end of 6th grade was a sacrifice, and coming to America came with challenges I was not prepared to confront. I did not know the language and felt alone — I did not look forward to going to school. As a future engineer, I am excited to start a new journey and look forward to the challenges ahead. Going to college will bring me new experiences and help me set the standard for my siblings. Going to college means open doors to a new future for myself and my family.” — Amdadul, UCSD ’25 

Nazario, Tufts University

“Going to college means having more opportunities for the future that will not only benefit me and my family but, also, my future. It also shows my hard work throughout my high school education.”  — Nataly, CSUN ‘25

“The fact that I’m attending college is a big step for my family and me. The next step is graduating.”
Nazario, Tufts University ’25

“For me and my family, it is a huge success in life to attend college. Going to college means that I will set a good example in my community by going to college. As an immigrant, we came to the US to get a better education. It is the proudest moment for me and my family that I am going to college.”  — Nishat, CSUDH ‘25 

Hilda, Mount Saint Mary’s University

“Going to college for me is a new steppingstone. For my family, it’s making them proud, being a first-gen student. Always remembering the people who got me where I am today through the breakdowns, tears, and of course a full senior year in a pandemic.” — Hilda, Mount Saint Mary’s University ‘25 

“Being a college student this fall means a step forward to a future where I can give back to my family. My family has always anticipated their daughter would finally go to college, and I am now pleased to say I will make them proud. As a Filipino immigrant and the first in my family to go to college in the United States, it is a new road towards becoming independent and gaining new knowledge to prepare me for the world. Attending college will allow me to explore my interests and find a passion and purpose for myself.” Ressan, UCLA ‘25

Wilbert, CSULA

“To my family and me, going to college means getting the opportunity to be successful in life. I was taught to value the importance of education because without it I won’t have a brighter future.” Wilbert, CSULA ’25 

“Attending college is a great opportunity to change my life in every way: become a better person, learn and develop my mind, and find ways to help others. I especially want to help my family, who is still in Mexico.  Now that I am about to enroll, I am proud of myself. I did not think so many schools would accept me. When I arrived here without my family, I was nervous. I felt different and rejected in 10th grade — that all changed. I fell in love with sports and Spanish — I knew I wanted to be a teacher.  I can’t wait to make a difference in children’s lives and help them develop the confidence I now have as I step into a new and exciting world.” — Siomara, UC Davis ’25 

Their futures are bright and their resilience is high. Our students have weathered so much (even before the pandemic) and are taking the next steps in their road to success and well-being. We are so proud of all our students and are sharing in their joy and excitement as they embark on the next leg of their journey.

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