It was unlikely that college would ever be an option for Jessenia. Nobody in her family before her had sought out an education beyond the twelfth grade, and nobody expected that she would do any better for herself. To make matters worse, Jessenia grew up in her state’s foster care system, living with families who were generous enough to share their home with a child in need, but in no financial position to pay for her college education.
Jessenia’s troubled childhood prevented her from being able to concentrate on her studies, and she finished her junior year of high school with a “C” average. She realized during her senior year that the only way she would achieve her goals in life would be by earning a college degree, and the only way she could pay for college would be by winning scholarships. Jessenia knew that she would be up against some heavy competition when she began to apply: students who had better grades, hours upon hours of community service, and the full support of their families.
But Jessenia overcame the challenge by believing that her vision was bigger than her competition. “I knew that there were scholarships available with committee boards that were willing to read or listen to why I deserved a scholarship. I just had to build up the courage to tell my real story and put everything out there and not be afraid of people judging me,” she says. “I knew that I had a dream and if someone could hear my journey, they would understand my vision to succeed despite the bumps in the road that caused me to have less than perfect grades.”
And Jessenia was right! By the time she graduated from college, she had found sympathetic scholarship board members who awarded her $160,000 in scholarships. They listened to her and believed in her ability to go out and achieve greatness.
How did she do it without high grades and test scores? Jessenia says: “I worked on my writing skills for my essays, and I marketed myself by being vocal and really honest about my experiences. I wanted to leave the scholarship board knowing that they changed a life and they would not regret giving me this opportunity and I found out that I was exactly the kind of person that they wanted to help.”
Despite the personal obstacles that she was required to overcome, Jessenia learned that anything is possible with hard work and research, and that there is no excuse for not seeking assistance in financing a college education.
“Scholarships are available for everything under the sun, ranging from your favorite vacation place to being a specific race,” she assures other college hopefuls. “While searching for scholarships, I found out that there were millions of dollars available for students if they were to simply apply and don’t get discouraged.”
P.S. Jessenia is an amazing blogger and a major advocate for adoptee rights. Please visit her website to find out how you can help. Check it out at: