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CSLAP Stories

Alejandro Castro | Oral Roberts University '17


When it was time for me to apply for college, I struggled believing that my dream college would accept me. Though I had set my mind on doing everything necessary to receive an acceptance letter in the mail, I felt that my efforts wouldn't be enough.


In other words, I was scared.


My fear was not the result of my academic standing, but, rather, my lack of understanding. Questions like, "How do I apply to college," "What are scholarship committees looking for," and, "Is it pronounced FAFSA or FASFA?" cycled through my 17-year-old brain.


People often suffer due to lack of understanding. Thankfully, I didn't suffer for long. Through CSLAP, I learned that the college and scholarship application processes are less scary than I imagined. As a result, I received an acceptance letter to the college I wanted and the scholarships I needed.


CSLAP benefits anyone seeking collegiate success. May this program continue empowering others to achieve their academic aspirations.

Victoria Quintanilla | Yale University '21

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"They're looking for people, not books." To this day I do not think any other phrase has resounded and summarized the college admissions process more succinctly. Walking in to the 2015 CSLAP Summer Institute was a turning point in my college admissions journey. I walked in hoping for an idea on where to begin, and I walked out with not only a cherished mentor, but the support system to apply to "dream" schools suggested to me by my AP World History teacher.


Thomas was the first PSJA alumnus I had met to attend an Ivy League university. Furthermore, Thomas was the first person I had met who encouraged us attendees to pursue schools considered "reach" schools - to shoot our shots. And several of us did. And we got in. CSLAP is perhaps one of the most needed programs in PSJA and the Rio Grande Valley, as more students graduate with Associate's degrees and dream bigger.


Our current school systems do not truly allow for the personal counseling that CSLAP provides the mentees who aspire to look beyond the Texas state line. To any high schooler who is currently entertaining the possibility of even just going to college, I encourage them to work with CSLAP. The mentor team will provide their utmost best to assist in making the college dream a reality - not just in the application itself, but financial aid as well. Moreover, the team helps us students understand that college applications are not just a numbers game like it is so popularly described.


CSLAP provides the understanding of the universities' want for individuals who will enrich the campus culture and society. This is a valuable lesson rarely discussed and promoted when most seniors apply to college, and it really makes the difference in how one chooses to show their best sides, not just their best scores. I hope that as CSLAP continues to grow that more local students take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the program's support network. I look forward to continuing to hear about the program's success in helping students realize their capabilities and possibilities.

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