Catherine G

Southwestern Christian U

My college transition was abrupt,  and having someone from cofo checking in on me was great, and they all kept me motivated to push through rough patches and the homesickness. However, because I was an out of state student not getting a chance to put names to faces was difficult and made it a challenge to build a relationship, and open up about personal problems with the new coaches that I was meeting. Schedule conflicts were always a problem as well, with basketball, school, and work I didn’t get very many chances to talk to any of the coaches I had throughout college. The only time I would talk to them was when they needed an update or information about grades. Overall cofo was a great program to be a part of and I am grateful for all of the coaches that I had the privilege of working with and forever in debt to college forward as an organization because I don’t think that I would’ve had the motivation let alone the knowledge to apply to college.

I think that College Forward is going to prepare and equip me with the skills that I need to work with students. I hope to become a college and career counselor at a high school and College Forward is helping me build those connections and relationships with administrators and students through the access program.

In the fall I will be attending graduate school at Texas State University for their Student affairs in higher education program.  I will also be working as the graduate assistant for the SLAC department which is a tutoring center for Texas State students.


Juan J

Texas State; University of Michigan

As a high school student my aspirations to attend college were slim, there didn’t seem to be much possibility of it for me… The Tuesday and Thursday nights that we spent in CoFo were memorable. We completed applications, conversed with friends, and had a good snack to top it all off. When I received the acceptance letter from my school of choice I immediately shared it with my family and CoFo coaches. My most memorable moment was during the first application submission. I had finished my essays and was ready to apply and submit my application, when suddenly, I stopped myself from clicking the submit button. I was very nervous and hesitant to submit my application. “What it they reject my application?” I thought to myself. It was then that I quickly clicked the submit button and hoped for the best.

One thing that I believe will help a student succeed in college is mentorship. I believe this to be even more important for first generation college students. The reality is that it can be difficult to navigate a new town and a new institution, especially if you are a first-gen student. Having a mentor or a person that knows the school and town will help you tremendously. Find a person who you can connect with and is willing and able to give some of their time to orient you and help you be successful in college. Lastly, I would say what my high school teachers first said to me, “Get involved, be social, join organizations, try out new things, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, don’t be afraid to ask for help!


CoFo has given me the opportunity to use my experience to help out students who may go through the same struggles by offering them a helping hand. These and many experiences have led me to work and collaborate in the areas of Higher-Ed, immigration, and the non-profit sector. Currently, I am pursuing a Master in Public Policy at the University of Michigan. This had been a challenging semester but I have had plenty of help along the way. I still keep in touch with many of the people who have helped me, but I am also meeting new people as well. Education continues to shape my life in various ways. The outcomes of pursuing higher education impact me on a daily basis. This is why I value my education and believe it’s a very important goal to pursue. I am currently a Graduate Student Research Assistant at the National Forum on Education for the Public Good.

Jose M

Texas A&M - Kingsville

The big reason it was important to get a college degree was to prove to myself, my family, and my nephews and nieces that it is possible to go to college and graduate. I am a first generation college student. No one in my family had ever attended college. To graduate was an accomplishment I never would have thought I would be able to achieve.

If you were to ask me 5 years ago, where I thought I would be in my life, there is no way I would have been able to say I would be where I am now. I’m am still in school, but now I am continuing my education, working towards a master’s degree. Earning my bachelor’s gave me confidence that I can be successful in college and to continue to push myself, not only in school, but in all aspects of my life.

This program is life changing. Myself, my family, and even my friends who were also part of this amazing program have benefitted in ways that you may never know or realize.

Alexis G


Before my brothers and I entered college, no one else in our family had graduated college in the U.S. It was important for me to attend and graduate college so I could set a standard for my extended family. A college degree also allowed me to have more educational and career options down the road.

Going to college was a humbling and eye-opening experience. I was exposed to a great diversity of backgrounds and thoughts which I believe has shaped me into a more deliberate thinker today. On a more tangible front, going to college allowed me to get my first full-time job and later helped me get into law school.

I’m proud of improving my standing in law school enough to be able to enter the write-on competition for membership on our law review journal. It was complete effort for months on end and really changed how I approach my studying and time management.

Jemmy M

Texas State

It was important for me to get a degree because I was going to be the first one in my entire family to do so. It also would show that all the struggle and sacrifice my parents went through were worth it. It has made me more confident in my ability to be successful in life. I am proud to have graduated from Texas State and also being accepted to the Masters program which I am currently working on.

Alonso M

Texas State

It was important for me to get a college degree to have better career opportunities, and to break stereotypes by being the first person in my immediate family to pursue a higher education. I view my college degree as an inspiration for future family generations to believe that a higher education is possible.

Having a higher education has allowed me to pursue a career in doing work that I actually enjoy doing. It has also helped me to discover myself as a young professional, and see first-hand the benefits of a higher education. It has allowed me to meet great people who are passionate about their work, social issues, and education.

Lizette Z

Texas A&M - Corpus

It was important to get a college degree to have a secure and stable future for myself and my family. But mainly, I didn’t want my parents’ hard work to go to waste, I wanted to make them proud. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the education that I received. I have come so far and have accomplished more than I ever thought was capable of.

I am proud of becoming a nurse, and serving my country as one, because I get to do what I am most passionate about. I have no idea where I would be right now if it weren’t for College Forward. This program has been such a blessing and a life changer.

Lea C


Going to college, at first, was about me not living on the streets anymore and just having a stable place to live for 4 years. While attending it became much more that that. It helped me explore the world and travel to places I never dreamed of seeing. It’s also the one thing that has made me successful in the real world.

My degree has gotten me farther than I’ve ever imagined. I’m more culturally sound. I reached to a director position in Texas before I moved and got married. I am most proud of making it out of poverty and not having to struggle once I graduated. My largest accomplishment was when I lived on my own after college in my own apartment with no other help I always felt like I’d never become independent/ be able to make it on my own. If I didn’t go to college…I wouldn’t have experienced half the places I did or met any of the great friends I made through college.

Stephanie A

Rice University

My parents are immigrants, and sacrificed so much by coming to the USA. They dreamed of their children attending college and getting degrees, and I wanted to make that dream a reality. So I always knew I wanted a college degree, but didn’t know how which college would want me, or how I was going to afford it.

My degree has been everything to me! It has taught me to aim high, and have confidence in my abilities. I also met some of the most important people in my life at college. I am most proud of receiving the Gates Millennium Scholarship, and for getting accepted to UT Law.

Alexandra W

Texas A&M - Corpus

I had a very dramatic childhood riddled with parental abuse, abandonment, and having to support myself since the age of 15 when my mother went to jail. I had to finish high school and go through college without any family. I found a strength in myself and it really started to develop with the different aspects of College Forward.

Being in the CoFo community really is a great thing. I never realized how knowledgeable I was in FAFSA and general workings of higher education until I was in school and was an information source for my friends and peers. College Forward helped to shape my post-grad path because it instilled a sense of importance of education in me. Without CoFo I wouldn’t have had the confidence and so many accomplishments under my belt.

My greatest accomplishment since graduating is getting into a graduate program in soil and water science, and having my undergraduate dissertation published in a scientific journal. I’m working on another thesis that is on the road to being published as well.

My advice to students? Don’t let the past define you. Whether it be personal issues or a bad semester that you feel is holding you back, being resilient and pushing forward will keep you on the successful path even when it feels impossible. You can do this.”