Ah. The smell of used textbooks and student debts is in the air. You know what I’m talking about. College. It’s almost that time of year again. While many high school seniors are getting excited about getting a dorm room with their BFFs and straying far away from home and their parents as possible, I’m deciding if I will have enough money to be able to pay off the tuition for the surrounding colleges in Houston. I have to be honest with you guys, University of Houston was not my first option for going on to future studies. I have had my mind deadset on going to the University of St. Thomas, which is conveniently close to Rice (their campus is beautiful by the way). Yep… I attended summer camp at St. Thomas, church retreat at St. Thomas, and even went to the St. Thomas Future Students orientation with my dad. After that orientation, they gave me a shirt that boldly expressed St. Thomas pride, and I thought I could take on the world. Since I knew St. Thomas was a private university, the tuition was going to be a huge chunk of change that my we just simply did not have. I told my parents, “Don’t worry! We have FAFSA on our side! My friend applied and is going to HCC for free!” For those of you that don’t know what FAFSA is, it’s basically money that the government gives you based on your parents’ income. Since we were the middle class, we could basically pay off our taxes and buy food; we just couldn’t afford anything else. (Yay us. ) After my parents applied for it in January, the results were not so satisfying. We were only granted $3,000 total for college grants, and that would only be able to pay for the textbooks at St. Thomas alone.
So I had two choices: not go to St. Thomas and cry in my room every night about not going orrrr… going to a different university to attain my hopes and dreams. I chose the latter. There were so many options, but since I knew money was short out of state colleges were out of the question. I started googling colleges near Houston and looked more into their tuition rates not that I knew where I stood. The counselors at school didn’t really help me much considering all they cared about was trying to get every student out of their office once they stepped foot in the door. I didn’t really have a close relationship with any of my teachers so getting a recommendation letter from any one of them was also useless. (I could have gotten one from my homeroom advisor but considering that all he does is makes jokes about me smoking cannabis and being a geek, I decided not to.)
After losing almost all hope of getting into a good affordable college, I decided to ask my friends where they were going after high school as a last resort. University of Houston was popping up a lot so I decided to look more into it. Turns out, the school’s tuition fees only totaled up to $11,000 relatively cheaper than St. Thomas’s price tag. Unfortunately, my habits of procrastination had almost cost me my acceptance letter to the school. You see, the deadline for scholarship priority was on December 3rd, 2014; I had applied at 11:30 pm on December 2nd, so by the time that I turned in my college application, the counselors probably had stacks of applications that they hadn’t even looked at.
January had come. And I was getting worried. While my friends were out and celebrating about getting accepted to five gazillion colleges and plentiful of scholarship offers, I hadn’t even received an acceptance letter from the only college I applied to. I thought I was so screwed. It was not until I checked my student email in mid-February that I found out that I was in counselor review since my application was not accepted for automatic admission. That nearly put me into panic mode. So basically, I had a 50/50 chance of getting into University of Houston; it just all depended if this one counselor lady really had faith in me and liked me for my transcripts, SAT score, and extracurricular activities.
Fortunately she did. Today I got accepted! Jesus Christ, it’s like the Lord has answered all my prayers. At least now I won’t be labeled as a complete failure. There are two things that I have learned from this experience: never procrastinate (unless it’s not that important) and ALWAYS turn in your college applications on time or early on. Or is that one thing? Either way, I’m still just waiting on my scholarship offers. Let’s see how that works out.


Submitted by Name and Surname: Karin H
Email: karinhuynh1@gmail.com

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