Chances are you will cry your eyes out the day you’re holding a college acceptance letter in your hands, or the moment you open the much-anticipated email. Your heart will fill to a point where it seems impossible for ANYTHING to be filled THAT much. This acceptance is the culmination of a journey. Because even as a kid, you did your best throughout all your time in school, hoping that one day you’d make your parents proud. All so you could look yourself in the mirror and understand that every hardship you faced, and every failure and win brought you to this moment. 

So, when you finally make it, remember, don’t hold back. Let it all out. You’ve spent your entire life earning this moment. 

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We’ve partnered with McDonald’s® HACER® National Scholarship to remind everyone that your college dream can be a reality. Whether you have plans of going to college, or know someone on that path, this scholarship is here to help Latino high school students in our community make college possible. And in case you have any doubts about it, here are some college acceptance stories from our mitú community that prove nothing is impossible:

1) I was maybe 6 months pregnant with my son & was working at a bank. I was in the ATM room when I checked my phone for some reason & had gotten my acceptance letter (email). I had gotten accepted to USC for my MSW (Masters of Social Work). I cried and called my husband & parents IMMEDIATELY. My parents cried, I’m the first in the family with a degree & to do it while raising a baby! 😭🙏🏼

2) When I got my college acceptance letter I was so ecstatic. It felt like my hard work was paying off. The late nights, after school hours, and no sleep finally meant something good. When I told my parents the news they weren’t as excited, or celebrating. The first question was “how much was it going to cost”? 

They told me they wouldn’t be able to help me and I needed to figure it out on my own. It was not that they didn’t want to help me, but they physically couldn’t. After that I felt discouraged when my letters came in the mail because it was followed with “how much is it”? The only person that was encouraging was my brother saying “that’s good.”

When the day of making a decision came, I stayed up all night going back and forth with my college letters not knowing what would be best for me. However, I had teachers, friends, and advisors who were there for me. They gave me their advice on how to approach these situations – grants, scholarships, a flexible schedule to get a job, etc. That is when I realized I had solutions! I also had many options on what school to attend and how to pay off my debt before it became a problem. I even got a full ride scholarship! I finally felt like I had control.

Looking back at what I felt and went through, I realized I wasn’t alone. There are so many people who went through the same thing I did and we lift each other up knowing we can find a solution. There is this stigma that college is just getting into debt and receiving a degree that will take us nowhere. We see the bad, but rarely the good. There are resources and solutions, we just need to know where to look. Overall, receiving a college letter not only made me feel like I’m at the top of the world but it broke me down. What made it a rollercoaster of emotion was the self learning I got out of it. 

3) I was a server at a restaurant. I had applied before for my dream art school, but didn’t qualify for the loan. I applied again two years later, got accepted for the school and my loan and everything fell into place. I graduated in 2020 with my Bachelors in Communication Arts, and now I’m running my small business Muchas Flores Studio.🌸 I’m my own boss, and I’m chasing my dreams of having my small business become a successful brand that promotes self love & positive vibes.💗

4) My name is Sergio and I actually just graduated with my masters in May. I’ll give a little background on why I want to share my story. I struggled with depression and anxiety since high school, likely earlier when I look back at symptoms and behaviors from those years. For me, school was always a struggle because I would become overwhelmed immediately and never even start assignments or studying. I barely made it out of high school and went straight to community college. University was never on my radar, and it didn’t bother me too much because neither of my parents had been to university.

One day I received notice I was on academic probation due to consistently low grades. I had to tame my anxiety. If I was going to be anxious I decided it would be over meeting a deadline, rather than an inevitable conversation with my dad about failing another class. Eventually I was accepted for transfer to CSUF (California State University Fullerton) and immediately got emotional and texted my entire family. There, I made the Dean’s Honor List multiple times before graduating.

I worked for a few years and applied to my dream grad school at UW Seattle (an incredible program for my field of social work) and CSUF. I was accepted for both. I cried at work when I was offered admission to each program via email. It felt surreal. One would be a fluke, but BOTH? I had to have a friend read the admission offers to me to make sure I wasn’t imagining it. My parents started telling everybody. My coworkers threw a celebratory dinner.

I decided on CSUF to save money and be closer to home. I worked all through grad school and finished my MSW in May with academic honors. I was fortunate enough to have a job lined up with an amazing hospital, doing what I love.

That trick was choosing my struggle. Struggle to succeed or struggle to survive for lack of effort? My biggest motivation was to become the person I needed when I was younger and felt lost and hopeless. Always challenge yourself. You never know what you are capable of or what you can have if you don’t make the effort.

These stories meant everything to us, and we hope these experiences inspire you and anyone you know to go for their dreams. Remember, there’s always a way. Click HERE to learn about how you can apply for the McDonald’s HACER® National Scholarship. Sigue adelante, familia. We hope you get to receive your own college acceptance letter someday, and if you already have, keep inspiring others to get to that place in their own journeys.