College Visions College Essays, 2022-2023

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Outstanding StudentEssays WRITTEN BY: CollegeAccessProgramStudents 10 2022 - 2023

Congratulations to the College Access Program (CAP) Class of 2023!

To Sidra, Rahmat, Paola, Natalia, Kensley, Juliana, Jualice, Faizah, Emily, Intisaar, and all the high school students stepping into the next phase of their lives— we are all very proud of you and all you have accomplished and are standing with you every step of the way as you continue on your path to success!

College Visions

Enrollment, Persistence, & Graduation

"Our Vision, Their Dreams"



My Name, My Identity


A Dream Not Deferred


Hair in Full Bloom


Nature in Disguise


Finding Confidence




The White Honda Civic


Live Your Own Life


Countless Bracelets


Living in Color


College Decision: University of Rhode Island

My Name, My Identity

My name is Sidra. What do you think of when you hear the name Sidra? How did you pronounce it in your head as you read it? When people hear my name, they automatically think I’m Hispanic, as “sidra” means cider in Spanish. However, Sidra is an Islamic name that is mentioned in ayah (verse) 14 in suraht “An-Najm” (the stars) in the Holy Quran. In this verse, Sidra-Al-Muntaha is referred to as a tree located in the farthest end of the seven heavens where no one can pass. This holy tree is described to be covered by a halo of light, beauty, purity and is surrounded by angels.

When I was younger, I would always wish I had a different name I wished I had a simple basic name like “Anna” or “Jessica” because I thought they were beautiful and common to hear Whenever I would go to the store with my American friends, I felt left out seeing their names on a Coca Cola bottle and not mine My name is pronounced Seed-rah, yet every time a new school year started, embarrassment would fill my body as my teacher mispronounced my name. People would constantly wonder what language my name was and I would hesitate to tell them that it was an Arabic name. I would constantly hear my classmates make terrorist jokes whenever they saw an Arab or Muslim person. The struggle of how people would perceive me because of my name had a strong effect on my identity.

As I started getting older, I began to recognize how beautiful my name truly is. My name is a huge part of my identity and it ties to my roots. After many years, I finally decided to wear the necklace that my father got me from Syria when I was born. The necklace is gold and has a pendant with name in Arabic Whenever I wear my necklace, I reminisce about my country that was filled with beautiful yasmeen (jasmine flowers) and lemon trees Not being about to visit my home country because of the civil war is devastating, but carrying a piece of it on my neck makes me feel like I'm home with my teta while she sings me songs and runs her fingers through my hair

The shame I used to feel about my name was connected to me being lost in my identity. I was so obsessed with the idea of fitting in with my American friends and having the same values and traditions as them that I wished I had their lifestyle, their name, and their values. However now, whenever I hear my name I remember the beautiful meaning tied into it. I realized that my name is a representation of my country and my religion.

I used to be very quiet and shy because I was afraid of people judging me for being Arabic and Muslim. I never wanted to get involved in activities outside of school because I knew I would have to introduce myself and tell everyone where I'm from Now, I find myself getting involved with any opportunity I get I participated in an internship during the summer where I was able to proudly introduce myself and share with everyone where I am from and my religious beliefs while wearing my Arabic gold necklace I am eager to enter college as one of the only Arab and Muslim students with my unique name, Sidra.

College Decision: University of Rhode Island

A Dream Not Deferred

"In this country we have to work hard." "Don't let them distract you with their hatred." "There is beauty in your Blackness."

My mom would say these things to me growing up, especially after we moved to the United States. As a kid I've always been excited about dressing up whether that was helping my mom get ready or when she would let me dress myself. The joy of picking out different pieces and bringing them together to form a completely unique look is something I quickly became addicted to. That is why I always try to increase my knowledge in fashion as much as I possibly can

This past year, I applied to a pre-college program in my hometown I worked hard to get in, which resulted in a full-tuition scholarship When I finally got my acceptance letter I was thrilled and overcome with excitement as I was thinking about all the friends I would make, the skills I would learn and the professors I would build connections with. However, my expectations weren't met and my experience was almost the complete opposite. Despite this, I really did make a lot of great friends and I was able to expand my knowledge, but this was all while dealing with discrimination from my professor. I always knew racism existed, but I never expected it to happen to me. I mean, in Nigeria, there is a lot of colorism, but not blatant racism especially since everyone is Black. Racism felt far from my reality.

To my surprise, the professor I was most excited to meet my fashion design professor periodically ostracized me for my Blackness. During visitor critiques, she would make me sit in the corner, harshly critique every sketch I drew without valuable feedback, and referenced me to others as "black as night " There were three other Black girls in my class, all of whom she called my name since was "most memorable "

As an immigrant from Nigeria I have experienced a lot of dislike from others, so her dislike towards me didn't affect me much or so I thought.


I've always been good at ignoring negative comments, but what hurt me the most was that her actions were impeding my growth as a designer.

As a result of these harmful experiences with my professor, I began to feel as though I wasn't getting the same experience or education as my non-Black friends in the pre-college program. I was constantly trying to get my professor to see me as any other student participating in the program while also acknowledging my Blackness. Although I yearned for this acknowledgement, I couldn't help but think that fashion was no longer what I wanted to pursue During my time in the pre-college program, I felt incompetent and less than my peers It almost made me give up on my dreams of pursuing fashion I went as far as calling a friend to help me find a new career path I never really received the acknowledgement I wanted from my professor, but I got it from myself I learned how to give myself the acknowledgement I need to feel great about my work and affirm my place in the fashion industry since I won't always receive it from others.

In addition to self-assurance, the motivation of my friends and community helped me realize that my professor's micro-aggressive behavior towards me had nothing to do with my abilities as an artist. I quickly understood that my love for fashion derives from within me and is a passion that no one can take away. Ultimately, this experience opened my eyes to what I could possibly face in the fashion industry, not only as a professional but as a Black woman. Now I feel prepared with the right mindset; I'm ready to make my impact. One could say it was a blessing in disguise

PaolaDilone,CranstonHighSchoolWest College Decision: University of Rhode Island

Hair in Full Bloom

September 3rd, 2019. First day of high school: the day my journey began. As I stood in the mirror sectioning off my hair into small divisions, struggling to rake my fingers through the globs of coconutscented product, the butterflies in my stomach felt as though they were flesh-eating moths ripping through the seams. As each tightly coiled curl fell into place, the nerves seemed to float away, and I was reassured through every perfectly formed strand that everything would be okay.

I had always been a big fish in a small pond. From elementary to middle school, I was around the same group of peers I guess you could say these were my people I fit in without trying We all came from different backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultural and political standpoints, but the one thing that bonded us was that we were all okay with being different from one another because we were all shades of brown

This dynamic changed when we began high school. The details are still so clear to me. My black converse that I had laced up so perfectly squeaked on the glossy, freshly polished floor of the main foyer, and I realized at this moment that I would never again blend into a sea of black curly hair and brown faces.

Over time in my new school, my hair, which had always attracted praise for its fullness and curls, suddenly was too big and got in the way. It attracted too much attention. I was a source of amusement to those who flung every wrapper, every paper, every pebble into my mountain of curls My hair became a reflection of my self-doubt I stopped creating the art of my beloved hair every day, and as its volume slowly depleted, so did my confidence and self-worth I became blind to the indisputable fact that I had allowed this school to change me

Before high school, being of Latin descent had never felt like a disadvantage. “Sea orgullosa de tu cultura y nunca niegues tus raíces, ” translates to: be proud of your culture and never deny where you come from. This phrase was commonly used in my family and always came with assurance and pride. What was I doing wrong? My pond had gotten too big, and even with hair that defies gravity, I no longer stood out.

Fortunately, the hard times proved to be more manageable than my hair. I discovered the strength necessary to alter this perspective through new friends that I met along my journey They encouraged me to regain my sense of security and ease, being once again surrounded by others who shared my values I had felt that I would never feel secure within myself, but in doing so I failed to realize that all I needed was encouragement and support from those who understood me My friends helped me remember the beauty and value that I always had inside. Because of them, I invested more effort in revitalizing my neglected hair, as well as my relationship with my culture.

My hair has continued to thrive and sprout, and with each passing day, the iron cast of insecurity that stifled my identity, began to break. I finally felt solace in my own flesh and physical attributes, and my cultural background did not feel like something that should be concealed, but rather something I should celebrate.

October 22, 2022: Senior Night. The spiral-shaped strand bounced off my fingers as I adjusted my bow. I stood tall in the mirror where I once stood three years ago There I found the once hollowed-out 14-year-old version of myself looking back, but this time, with my hair in full bloom

College Decision: College of The Holy Cross

Nature in Disguise

There is never a soundless moment. Thoughts and words come rushing through your mind like crickets on the “silent” night. During a time of reflection, I realized how similar we humans are to the naturalistic beings of this world. I was never able to comprehend what goes through someone’s head when dealing with mental health issues until that time. Nature is a phenomenon; never-ending, and the epitome of someone suffering from a mental illness. In this way, nature is also so beautiful, yet so complex.

Sunshine. The bright yellow ray that hits through your window. Her smile lights up the room, and her laugh makes others laugh even harder The happiness and joy she brings throughout the day is irreplaceable It makes me feel content, especially when receiving small notes in my lunchbox You are intelligent You are perfect the way you are You are amazing You are capable

Cloudy. I wake up every day deliberating on what mood she will wake up in. Sometimes, she does not wake up at all. The room door is closed and dark inside. Depression. I did not properly see my mother for three months; our interactions were only greetings. No emotions were expressed just like gray clouds. You did not know when they would explode with rain...until they did.

Rain. The sound of rushing rain. Every water droplet fell to the ground. I stood there watching her as her tears dropped to her cheeks. A moment of vulnerability, her sadness was evident. “I am a terrible mother,” she said. I could not help but feel the tears rolling down my eyes I never thought of her any less than being a good mom and felt a sense of dejection The in and out of psychiatric facilities would bring a sorrowful feeling to my chest I knew that I would not see her for a while I hate the rain It almost always does when she leaves, or at least it reminds me of it


Hurricane. My mother has constructed a power of anger and frustration to the point where everything is a bother. It is built-up emotions growing stronger and stronger, causing pain to those that surround her without meaning it, like a hurricane. Words hurt, especially when it comes from the woman who brought you into this world. For my own protection, I never share my feelings. I built this wall where nothing affects me, but my mom is my weakness. Everything she has said to me has affected me in one way or another. You are dumb. You need to change. You should do better. You are useless.

Sunset As the sun descends through the horizon, I find myself filled with inner peace just like the sunset exudes The vivid colors glow as the evening is ending Through my experience with my mother, she is ultimately my inspiration to become a psychologist As hard as it was, it is part of my personal growth and I am the person that I am today because of her Her words offend, but just after a hurricane, it starts to clear until some sun comes out. Within all of those apologies, I know she never meant them which is why I didn’t let the heat of the moment become a bother. Even through her suffering, my mom never stopped being caring, supportive, and loving. I could not thank her enough for everything she has done. As I look in the mirror, I see a mature young woman determined to help those who are battling with mental health issues. During my time of reflection, I also realized how strong I was. I always found positive outcomes from challenging situations, and still do. Through different phases of the weather, I am reminded of my personal story, making me permanently connected to mother nature; she really is lovely.

College Decision: Rhode Island College Finding


Being a shy and sensitive male was never easy for me growing up. Men are often told to “man up'', to not be weak, and to always have confidence. However, as a child I was very timid and didn’t have much of a high self esteem. My parents tried to help break me out of my tough shell, but it was not easy. They tried to convince me to get involved in school in hopes that I would associate with other people my age and help me be more outgoing, but at the time I was too nervous. Now as a person I am a bit more extroverted and have become more involved in extracurriculars. However, it was a difficult and long journey to get to where I am today.

The first moment I started to build my confidence and get more comfortable was when I had to host my school's talent show Every month we would have a talent show that would be hosted by a student recommended by a teacher That year, my teacher happened to pick me She knew I was very shy and needed a confidence booster, so she thought it would be a great idea for me to host the talent show. While I was scared at first, I knew it was an honor to have been chosen. There were many other students eagerly waiting to be picked, but I was selected instead. I knew because of this I had to make my teacher and parents proud and put aside my insecurities.

The day of the talent show, my dad was sitting front row in the crowd. He had called out of work because he believed that it would be a once in a lifetime moment to see me do anything like this. As I walked on stage and raised my hand to silence the crowd, I could feel my heart racing knowing that the entire auditorium was staring back at me. As I introduced the talents and the more I talked, the less nervous I got Feeling the rush of the audience laughing at my jokes and seeing their reactions of me being the MC, it felt amazing Especially, when the audience gave me a huge round of applause at the end of the show That day I felt my fears fade and my confidence starting to build


Since that moment, it made me want to get more involved in extracurriculars, be more outgoing, and to feel like a part of something. That is why when high school came around, I joined cross country. I was one of the only freshmen who signed up, so everyone on my team was a senior and complete stranger to me. Though I was one of the youngest on the team, I saw it as an opportunity to learn from those older than me. They were able to motivate me and help me improve in the sport. It felt amazing to be a part of a team and improve my social skills and my athletic ability. My teammates taught me that there is not one definition of what it is to be a man and that it’s okay to be shy and nervous at times

These experiences helped me become the individual I am today I am extremely proud of what I overcame If I had a conversation with my younger self and told him what I have done in the coming years, little me would have never believed it While doing something out of your comfort zone can be frightful, I want to continue to face my fears. I want to continue to show my younger self that it is okay to be shy and nervous, but you can overcome anything and show those who you truly are, even if I continue to be shy.

College Decision: Rhode Island College


At an early age, this word was introduced to my vocabulary. It was a term heard often in my surroundings for which I created my own definition. While growing up and still blinded by my innocence, I did not yet understand the true meaning of it. However, I did know that it was the reason behind only receiving one Christmas gift, not being able to go on vacations as others did, or not being able to buy clothes for the first day of school, superficial things that as a child meant everything to me. Yet being raised in an environment where this simple word had created so many invisible barriers and limited my dreams, my happiness was never obscured by it. To this day my childhood can be described as the best and happiest stage of my life

As I grew up the circumstances I had to face changed my definition of this word entirely At the age of ten, I moved to an unknown country that very few times I heard mentioned before: the United States In this new journey in my life, I was forced to open my eyes and see the reality of being poor. The word poverty no longer meant not having toys; it meant not knowing if my mother and I would eat dinner today. It no longer meant not getting to go on a school field trip because we couldn’t afford it; it meant not knowing if my mother could afford rent next month. It no longer meant not having the money to buy new shoes; it meant having to share two pairs of pants with my mother because we couldn’t afford more clothes. The reality of being poor which I had always lived in but had never realized before, completely shattered my happiness. The question “Why me?” rumbled in my head every waking minute, and numerous times I wanted to give up, but I kept going because I knew that I was capable of reaching higher, even if this word had tried to define my future

I began to use the only tool I had to change my life: education With the support my mother and my persistence to do better, I continued to attend school and strive for good grades, even on the days I felt life was not worth living Since my first language is Spanish, the language


barrier made it harder for me to continue being optimistic, but after all the hard work, I received a trophy for Best Author of The Year, and this encouraged me to work even harder. This work ethic has allowed me at the age of 18, without yet graduating high school, to obtain my CNA license, receive my Pharmacy Technician and PCT license in a few months, and work for the largest health system in Rhode Island, Lifespan.

During my struggle through poverty, I never understood the reason for the circumstances I was facing, but now that I can look back, I understand why This word that defined my life for so long showed me all the capabilities I have to achieve anything I set my mind to, it showed me how strong I can be, it taught me to never doubt myself, and most importantly it taught me how to be happy even through the hardest times in life

Although I faced many obstacles through this journey and may continue to face more, I would never change the way my life played out. Being poor built me to be humble, compassionate, and courageous. It played an essential role in the person I am because even through the worst situations, I continued to be the resilient person that still stands today. Although this word followed me for a very long time, I now understand it didn’t define what I could accomplish.


College Decision: University of Rhode Island

The White Honda Civic

I am not a huge car person. I can’t distinguish the best model or even distinguish a certain type of car on the road unless I heard it in a commercial. However, there is this one car in particular that I can always feel around me. It’s not because it runs well on gas, is the perfect model, or any other appealing characteristic about a car, but because of who was in that car. My brother owned a white 2018 Honda Civic and I got to know it very well. We had tea together, went out for oil changes and I experienced my brother's crazy driving. It wasn’t until I didn’t see that white Honda Civic anymore that I began to miss it; only because of who it belonged to. The white 2018 Honda Civic lives another day, but not in my life I’m reminded of those special moments after a year and a half of my brother leaving to get deployed

Growing up, even without a father figure, I never felt like I was missing anything Whatever, I didn’t have, my brother made up for it somehow When I asked him every time to do my dolls' braids, despite being annoying, he always did it. After being my doll’s hairdresser for a while, he taught me how to braid which then progressed to me learning to do my own hair and it didn’t stop there. Despite my own fears and desire to stay in my own comfort zone of training wheels, my brother taught me how to ride a bike. He took off my training wheels and held my back as he pushed me into the world. When I fell, he was always there to pick me back up and kept trying. Even now, in the present, my brother once again took away my fears and replaced it with confidence. He taught me how to drive and showed me that fear should just be a reason to try harder through all the things he pushed me to do.

Reconstruction was sort of his thing: he loved taking pieces our of his car and finding a better way to put it back together In a similar way, he did that for me "Don't let yourself be your greatest enemy, "he would say to me He took away all my fear and negative attitudes, and turned it into a superpower

While I knew I couldn't control my outcomes, I knew I could change my mentality. The mentality that was instilled by my mom, that greatness was expected not something to feel proud about. How all the awards and all the hard work I put in, wasn’t an “I’m proud of you moment,” but a “Not surprised” moment. With all the energy, his car became our staple, our escape, and our favorite hang out spot. Whether we would create fake names under our Chick-Fil- A order or when he would blast music and race random people down the highway. The thrill of going over 100mph while sitting next to him felt just as impactful as riding our bikes down the street.

As he is over 1700 miles away, I still carry him with me

Although he is not physically here with me, he is everywhere I go The white Honda Civic is a part of him and a part of me The car appears and so does he, soaking up every memory, every laugh, and every cry we shared The Honda Civic lives to tell another story and with every glance, awaits our next adventure; an adventure I long for when the days of his return are far and my heart is missing its piece. I see a white Honda Civic and I always hope that he's waiting inside to drive me away into the street paved with everything I aspire to be with him by my side.

FaizahFolarin,DaviesCareer&TechnicalHighSchool College Decision: Providence College

Live Your Own Life

It’s common to hear phrases like, “You only live once, so live it how you want.'' However, it’s easy to forget that there are factors that inable one from doing so. Growing up the oldest daughter in a Nigerian household there was always the pressure of being successful. To some the expectation of being successful is a given, but it’s usually on your own terms. In my case, the word “successful” was defined for me rather than me defining it myself. The definition given to me was straight forward: excel academically. Because of this, excelling academically was my one and only focus. It was a mantra that I lived by religiously, and still do.

The pressure of having high academic achievements was inescapable

It was the topic of many, if not all, conversations growing up “What was your grade on the test?”, “Why did you get a 95% and they got a 100%?”, “Why aren’t you getting straight A’s?” Those were the questions that haunted me every school year High academic achievements were never asked of me; they were simply expected of me. I had no choice but to conform to such grueling expectations.

Every school year I felt as though I was losing a piece of my individuality. I was so consumed with my academics that I rarely engaged in social gatherings. It felt as though I was living for my parents rather than for myself. I was performing how they saw fit instead of experimenting as I pleased. It was evident that my grades defined me and for some time I didn’t know who I was without them.

That all changed for me in the summer of 2022. After obtaining my CNA license, I was able to get a temp job at Miriam Hospital I was given the opportunity to work in the specialty care unit where I was able to work hands-on with patients To some, working in the healthcare field is something they could never see themselves doing, but for me it is the only thing I see myself doing Working and building relationships with my patients proved to me that healthcare is my passion

I enjoy being able to take care of others. In my time at Miriam, I was able to reflect on who I was and what I genuinely enjoyed doing. It also allowed for me to find my purpose, which is being there for others in times of need. Working as a nursing assistant assured me of the fact that academics don’t need to be the center of my life.

Although academics are very important, I can still take part in other things that interest me. I’ve realized that I have one life and I should be living it on my own terms. Success has an array of meanings and I need to be able to define it for myself. It’s clear now that no one’s expectations trump mine I should pursue my own expectations, goals, and ambitions Because at the end of the day you have to live your own life, or you’ll waste time living someone else's

College Decision: University of Rhode Island

Countless Bracelets

Instead of having a collection of my favorite friendship bracelets like any other child, I would have gathered countless bracelets from all the doctors I had visited. My early childhood memories consist of being in and out of hospitals, and constantly being sick. Although these are already not the most pleasant memories to have as a child, what stuck with me more was the feeling of never being understood. I recall trying to sleep at night, but being awakened by the terrible twisting and turning of my stomach: I would frequently wake my mom up because of the intolerable pain I had. The doctors would say to her every visit: “Stop bringing your child in. She's just seeking attention and doesn’t have anything wrong with her ” Hearing these words discouraged me and I wondered what was wrong with me; however, feeling voiceless wasn’t my only issue Having immigrant parents who didn’t know how to speak English created another obstacle that didn’t allow me to communicate properly At such a young age, there was only so much that I could do to address that language barrier There was a point where it didn’t make sense for me to continue going to the hospital, since the doctors never believed the pain I was enduring. For this reason, I decided to stop complaining and hide my pain.

As I started my first year of kindergarten, however, my teachers immediately noticed how much my symptoms affected my learning. Seeing how severe all my symptoms were, my mom continued to seek medical help for me, despite visiting many different doctor's offices and never finding help. It felt like the torment of constantly feeling sick would never go away and that that was my new reality. After countless hours and phone calls, we finally found the doctor that would change it all for me

I remember stepping into her office, reluctant to share how I felt However, within the first few minutes of meeting her, I felt safe After many years of experiencing pain, all it took was one doctor to believe me Although I was only one step closer to knowing what I had, I felt

like I had finally seen the end of the tunnel. After my endoscopy tests, I found out I had celiac disease, an autoimmune disease where the consumption of gluten causes your immune system to attack your small intestine, damaging its lining. Finding this news out was hard, but the hardest part was finding adequate food I could eat. Not being able to access affordable gluten-free options was frustrating. Having immigrant parents who lacked the knowledge of finding food for me within my dietary restrictions was challenging. I was angry at myself for creating another barrier for my family.

I never understood why our healthcare system was so broken How could it constantly continue to fail so many people who look like me? How could something that, in retrospect, seemed so obvious take so long to properly diagnose? I found myself wrestling with these questions People of color often have a longer process of receiving proper diagnosis and care because of a complex web of factors, including lack of training and implicit bias in healthcare providers, as well as Eurocentric methods of disease research and symptom diagnosis. The healthcare system failed me early on, but it also provided me with a purpose. After noticing how the system so often failed communities that look like I do rather than getting disheartened and giving up I decided to use what I went through as guidance in order to commit to giving the most empathetic and effective care possible. I saw all of those issues, but instead of deciding to move on and focus on myself, my goal has become to face them, make the change I want to see, and address the challenges that come with that head-on.


College Decision: Johnson & Wales University

Living In Color

Hijab /hiˈjäb/ Noun/hē-ˈjäb. Traditional covering for the hair and neck that is worn by Muslim women.

I brush my hair back and put on an under cap so that my hair won’t show. I grab a jersey scarf, preferably whichever one matches my outfit the best, and place it on my head so that neither my hair nor the under cap is showing. Pulling down on my jersey scarf, I adjust the right side to make it longer than the left and pin both of them together at my neck. I throw the longer side over my left shoulder and I’m good to go

Growing up, I was surrounded by women who wore the hijab with pride From kindergarten up until the 8th grade I attended the Islamic School of Rhode Island, an Islamic school in West Warwick that focused on teaching Muslim youth more about their religion During my time there, I never experienced a moment where my spirit faltered wearing my hijab, and I never believed I would ever doubt myself when it came to this aspect of my identity. I was very scared of change and to me, attending Classical High School seemed like the biggest change of my life at the time. Before, my hijabi identity was something so significant that I shared with my classmates, but going into Classical I felt as if I wouldn’t be able to connect with my peers.

I never had been so intimidated in my life, not until the moment I stepped through those big purple doors at Classical. The very fastpaced environment of a public school gave me so much anxiety. This was very different from the environment I was used to; one where we all shared our religion in common and grew up together I felt as if there was no way that I could thrive in a setting where the people who surrounded me were so different The constant feeling of thinking everyone is watching you because no one looks like you, was daunting

Would they view me as something I’m not? Would their notions of how the media portrays Islam cause them to resent and fear me? No, why would it? They would be accepting of me. They wouldn’t treat me differently. People don’t like different; differences make them uncomfortable. Keep your head down and they won’t focus on you. Don’t be yourself and they won’t notice. I constantly wrestled with these thoughts and questions.

To keep a low profile, black and gray became the colors I frequently wore. I felt as though if I wore the bold, bright, and lively colors that I enjoyed, I would become an outlier When I entered the public school system I felt that my hijab would be something that people judged me for My hijab no longer felt empowering, but rather something that weighed me down; I resented myself for it The blacks and grays were my camouflage I began to feel less and less like myself and more like the person I thought others would like; someone more palatable and easier to connect to.

Despite being self-conscious about my appearance, I made friends. One of the first friends was such an outgoing person; she allowed me to feel comfortable and safe in a place where I previously felt so exposed. Her personality emphasized the qualities I already exhibited in myself, but was too afraid to show. As my time at Classical went on, I began to expand the range of my hijabs. I began to wear bold colors, such as pinks, yellows, and greens and blacks and grays became more rare. Slowly, but surely, I started to feel more like myself. I finally felt like I belonged in a space where I originally didn’t believe difference would be accepted My hijab is something I use to express myself; it completes me and I wear it with pride


This year, CV will celebrate our 493rd college graduate. Each degree provides a means for first-generation students of color to invest in themselves and their families, and build intergenerational wealth and community power. Our alumni demonstrate that with our model and your support, every student can reach their highest potential.

"My mother and I immigrated to America when I was six years old, chasing the American dream like many other immigrants who were here with us and before us. My mother always told me I was destined for greatness, and being her first child to have immigrated to the U.S. is something I'm proud of, though it comes with some setbacks. I have been given an amazing opportunity that will help me reach my full potential, like being a part of College Visions. I see the struggles that my peers go through when applying to college. With the language barrier that my parents have, I know the college application process would be a bit difficult. Having an advisor to help me not only with the application process but with SAT prep, looking for and applying to scholarships, school work, and being there throughout my four years of college, has and will put my anxieties at ease. I'm very grateful to be part of the CV community."

98% of CV Scholars enroll in college compared to 51% of low-income students in Rhode Island.


92% of CSP Scholars persist to their second year of college compared to 66% of Providence students.


71% of CSP Scholars graduate from college within 6 years compared to 43% of low-income students in Rhode Island.



CV Scholars received acceptances from a wide range of schools and they have made their college decisions! We are extremely proud of the next generation of leaders working hard to achieve their goals!

AdventHealth University

Assumption University

Bentley University

Boston College

Brandeis University

Bridgewater State University

Bryant University

California College of the Arts

Case Western Reserve University

Clark University

Colby-Sawyer College

College of the Holy Cross

Community College of Rhode Island

Connecticut College

Curry College

Dean College

Elms College

Emmanuel College

Fitchburg State University

Fitchburg State University

Florida International University

Framingham State University

Hawaii Pacific University

Howard University

Johnson & Wales University

Le Moyne College

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences


Merrimack College

Morgan State University

Mount Holyoke

New England Institute of Technology

North Carolina A&T

North Carolina Central University

Northeastern University

Nova Southeastern University

Oberlin College

Pace University

Palm Beach Atlantic University

Pennsylvania State University

Pittsburgh University

Providence College

Quinnipiac University

Regis College

Rhode Island College

Rivier University

Roger Williams University

Sacred Heart University

Salve Regina University

Siena College

Simmons University

Smith College

Spelman College

Stonehill College

Stony Brook University

Suffolk University

Syracuse University

Temple University

Tulane University

Union College

University of Connecticut

UMass Amherst

UMass Boston

UMass Dartmouth

University of Michigan

University of Rhode Island

Wentworth Institute of Technology

Wheaton College

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Xavier University


College Visions empowers low-income and first-generation college students to achieve the promise of higher education, while leading the way for innovative college planning and advising.

Founded in 2004, College Visions guides more than 500 high school and college students each year in our CV Summer Prep, College Access, and College Success Programs. We will celebrate our 493rd college graduates this year. CV alums are teachers, nurses, business owners, financial analysts, designers, pharmacists, software engineers, and they also give back through volunteering and board services. Thank you for investing in young people so that they can invest in themselves, their families, and our shared communities!


Teeravuth Nokeo College Access Program Director

Susan Anderson College Success Program Director

Darwin Morales Junior Cohort Coordinator

Bethania Badeau College Access Advisor

Lariona Jacobs College Access Advisor

Dionna Jenkins College Access Advisor

Jennifer Santos College Success Advisor

Monephia Nembhard

Lamont Gordon Executive Director Moira Hinderer Development Director Kacee Montgomery Operations Director Development Associate
CollegeVisions 131WashingtonStreet,Suite205 Providence,RI02903 401-490-3996

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