From Confusion to College Readiness

How first generation UHS students are getting the assistance they need


Veronica Ramos, Staff Writer

  For many, the college application season is something they have been working for their entire high school career. However, for first-generation students and students whose parents attended college in another country, this process can be confusing and stressful. In response to these challenges the College Resource Counseling Center was created. 

    The application process, from filling out the common application to navigating the FAFSA website, can be overwhelming. “Having parents that didn’t go to college is a disadvantage,” said senior Van Nguyen. “On top of that, they are also immigrants, therefore they don’t speak English, so it’ll be hard to apply to things, such as FAFSA. Overall, the whole college application process is so unfamiliar.”

     As students looked for guidance on college applications, it was those whose parents suffered from that confusion that made sure to take advantage of these resources. “Since my parents went to college in another country, you don’t really have that person to guide you through the application processes so you’re kind of facing it by yourself or with the help of your college counselor, “said senior Keten Abebe.

     This year, the CCRC has a new college counselor: Mr. Patrick O’Donal. The CCRC’s main purpose is to provide seniors the resources they need to excel in college, trade school, the military, or whatever career they may choose. This is especially helpful to first generation students. When given the job, Mr. O’Donal began training, learning about college resources and programs to help those that need it. “I help these students by connecting them with programs they may not know about, “ said O’Donal. “This includes scholarships that are specific to first generation students and also making myself available if they need help doing applications and even doing things like FAFSA nights where parents and students can come in so they can have somebody walk them through the process.” 

     This help also extends to parents, who can learn about college resources through Mr. Ott’s weekly phone calls.