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ACCESS College Foundation does good work

Published 9:19pm Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I had the privilege on Tuesday of attending the ACCESS College Foundation’s luncheon to honor the generous donors who have made the Foundation’s work possible in Suffolk.

Three Suffolk students spoke at the event, telling their stories of how the Foundation helped them succeed in their college journeys by helping them apply for financial aid, get fee waivers on standardized tests and generally just providing encouragement.

The talk of FAFSAs, SATs and other acronyms brought back “fond” memories of my senior year in high school. I had the chance to reminisce about the sting of rejection from a school I wanted to go to, but later realized I wasn’t meant to go to; the fights with my mother over my procrastination until the very last minute to file applications; the dizzying pile of financial documents needed to fill out that dreaded Free Application for Federal Student Aid; those complicated pink sheets from the schools that accepted you telling you how much financial aid they were offering you; the ridiculous essay questions (What’s your favorite word? Really, UVA?); the long trips in the car with parents to visit campuses; and all the other joys that come along with applying for college.

While I eventually landed at Longwood University and wouldn’t trade my four years there for anything, I look back now and realize just how daunting the process was. I’m glad I had my mother to prod me along.

But for students whose mothers may not be quite as organized as mine is, the college application process can be all but impossible. That’s where the ACCESS College Foundation comes in, using donor funding to place an adviser in each high school in the region to walk students through each step of the process.

The students’ thankfulness for their advisers’ help was easy to see on Tuesday, and their stories were inspirational. I encourage all who can to donate to the organization at www.accesscollege.org to help create more stories like theirs.

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