Helping Students through their College Application Process

As a College Advisor, my goal is to not only support my students in the college application process but also in planning for the future. This means helping my students navigate the UC, CSU, and California Community College systems. It also means guiding them through applications for vocational programs, like construction management or electrical engineering. Although a lot has been going on in my personal life lately, I love my job and it’s so fulfilling to serve students who come from similar backgrounds as me. 

Whenever it comes to UC applications, I always advise students to start with the written portions of the application, like the Personal Insight Questions (PIQs), because they take the longest. It’s really important for applicants to work on their answers on a program like Google Docs because sometimes application websites have glitches. Once they have a first draft going, I have them share it with me and I provide feedback. 

Recently, while I was reading through PIQ drafts, I realized how much my students and I have grown. I was leaving constructive comments on a student’s PIQ and I found myself writing, “I love this, but you don’t want to highlight yourself as what you once thought you were, but instead who you are now.” It was at this moment that I realized I definitely would’ve been farther in life had I taken my own advice years ago. Unfortunately, I can’t go back in time and make myself take this advice, but one thing I can do is take my own advice now. 

Something I tell my students is- it’s in my best interest to focus on the person I’m becoming and what I want that person to look like, instead of crippling myself by dwelling on the past. I know there are areas where I can grow, but I want to be intentional about recognizing how I’ve changed and improved my life so far. After all, I’m trying to be the best version of myself for my students and for me.

To all my first-generation, low-income, and especially undocumented students: Inevitably, there will always be people, places, and things that underestimate you. They might even actively voice how little they believe in you. In those moments, do your best to think of how far you’ve come and how much you’ve grown. More importantly, set your own goals on your own terms and be consistent with them. 

As a College Advisor, I’ve been reflecting on my career path and future a lot lately. Yes, I strive to fulfill my own goals, but I also strive to help others achieve their goals. 

As Albert Pine once said, “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.”

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Yendy Rebollo

Yendy Rebollo

Yendy Rebollo is an independent, low-income, first-generation, undocumented or rather DACA-mented, woman of color navigating higher education at the University of California Berkeley. She has been an independent student since her senior year of high school, when she ran away from her abusive parents. It is in that same year, Yendy became a published writer with Yendy is currently double majoring in Ethnic Studies and Comparative Literature with a Minor in Education. She strives to attend law school as soon as she is finished with her Bachelor’s degree.

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