First generation, low-income, and underrepresented are all identities I hold. Each one of these characteristics are overrepresented in the youth most at risk of not obtaining post-secondary education. Through my experiences at the University of Michigan I gained a new understanding of myself, those like me and the best ways I can be an advocate for such individuals. My passion lies within working to provide equal access to education for all. At Jackson High School, my goal is to go above and beyond to assist in the promotion of a college-going culture.
As a product of a high school in which the black graduation rate was under fifty percent, I am aware of the unique struggles many minorities face navigating the education system. Applying to and succeeding in college was facilitated for me by a strong support system of resources. Serving with the Michigan College Advising Corps allows me to offer myself as that resource for others. I believe the key to having agency over your well-being is education, and it helps to have as many allies as possible in that quest. I hope to work with students and families to successfully cultivate an educationally ambitious community.
Being a part of a community that is underrepresented and underprivileged is a main reason why I want and to be a part of the Michigan College Advising Corps. Taking that next step and applying for college was not the easiest process for me. I struggled to find information regarding, financial aid and application deadlines. Going into my first year, I quickly became aware of the lack of information I had about college as far as classes, scheduling and time management. By serving in the Michigan College Advising Corps, I want to take this opportunity to make the transition from high school to college less problematic, by providing the support and necessary information to have a more successful first year. I want to build relationships that allow me to provide resources, wisdom, and support not only for the students but also for their families.
My last two years of high school along with four years at U of M have helped me to better identify and understand social inequalities and inequalities within the education system. My experiences, learned knowledge, and continued interest in education have led me to work in college access through the GEAR-UP program and this current opportunity. I hope to continue improving the presence of college going culture in my hometown, Lansing. This position will allow me to put into practice many of the concepts and methodologies I have learned about during my college experience.
With the economy as it is, a college education is more vital than ever to making it by in the world. Unfortunately, there has not been a major increase in resources to help students, especially those from low-income areas, successfully transition to college life. That is why I take great pleasure and pride in being a college advisor for the Michigan College Advising Corps. As a first generation college student, I remember the obstacles in filling out and preparing college applications and I cannot wait to offer the information that I have accumulated at the University of Michigan to the students at Ottawa Hills High School in hopes of helping them achieve their maximum potential as college students.
I believe that everyone should have an equal opportunity to receive a quality education and to attend college. Growing up in the inner city of Detroit, I have personally seen the inequalities in the educational system and the lack of opportunities to underprivileged students, and I want to help eliminate these inequalities. I was privileged to have a college adviser present when I was going through the college-going process and I have seen the difference that an adviser makes when applying to college. As an adviser at Pontiac High School, my ultimate goal will be to create an environment where attending college is considered the "norm" and something that all students, regardless of their background, can attain.
As a first-generation college student from a middle-class family, I found the complexity of the college application process to be challenging. In hindsight, it would have been extremely helpful to have a college adviser at my high school to assist me as I made very important college preparations. I was fortunate to have strong support from my family as I managed my way through several college applications and the financial aid process. As a recent graduate from the University of Michigan, I am excited to give back to the community by promoting equal access to a college education so that every student is given the chance to brighten his or her future. I am looking forward to serving as a valuable resource, mentor, and source of inspiration for the students at Port Huron High School!
Being immersed in many different Detroit Public Schools from K-12, I saw different educational disparities. However, it was not until later on during my undergraduate psychology courses where I began to understand the reason behind these educational gaps. I gained an understanding of how race, gender, socioeconomic status effects students and their later education, life, and career choices. As a result, I have been increasingly interested in pursuing careers that address disparities in urban communities both health and education related. Being an adviser for the MCAC will allow me to begin exercising my career interest. Most importantly, encouraging students from areas that are similar to my home neighborhood to pursue a higher education will allow me to play a role in addressing educational disparities.
I am motivated to continually address social inequities to ensure that all young people have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential and serving as college adviser at my alma mater will allow me to do this and so much more. As it stands, impoverished conditions only further stress and distract already over-burdened students. Urgent personal demands, financing, and the disconcerting application process obscure the tremendous benefits of a genuine college experience, and when such conditions manifest in society, a moral imperative emerges. Underrepresented students—now more than ever—need young, cognizant college graduates to guide them. If knowledge is power, than it should not be kept but shared for the benefit of all. Ultimately, the success of our society will depend on our ability to empower youth and to establish liberation as tradition instead of privilege.
I was drawn to MCAC as a result of my high school experience. I did not have the best relationship with my high school counselor as she was unsupportive of my dream to attend the University of Michigan and even told me I would not be accepted. Luckily, I have a very supportive family that helped me through the college application process and I cannot help but think where I would be today without that.
With the rising of disparities in the educational system one inspirational quote that I have held onto was Nelson Mandela's quote "There is no passion to be found playing small — in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living in which education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world." Therefore, I believe that everyone deserves equal educational opportunities. Growing up in the inner city of Detroit I have been placed in underrepresented environments lacking resources and opportunities within the educational system. Therefore, I take this role on with MCAC as an adviser with a goal to help eliminate these inequalities. It is of importance to me to be the resource the youth are lacking, by trying to provide this missing, but necessary knowledge and adequate information on post-secondary education. I want the students of Sexton High School to look at college as the beginning to new possibilities no matter what their backgrounds contain.
Ololade (Lola) Lawal
During college, working with high school students exposed me to the lack of resources existing in many underserved communities and how detrimental that is to the existence of a college-going culture. I began to understand how the intersections of individual's identities have a direct impact on their access to resources. As the oldest child in an immigrant family, I was forced to not only maneuver through the college process on my own, but also guide my younger sister through her educational journey. In doing so, I discovered a passion for being a mentor and giving advice. The feeling of being able to give back and help others make their education a reality is amazing. I am grateful for the opportunity to work for the Michigan College Advising Corps and to be a resource for students in Muskegon as they navigate the college process.
A strong and supportive network is vital to high school students seeking college access. I have an opportunity to be part of that network through Michigan College Advising Corps. I aim to help students have agency over their lives by equipping these students with some of the tools they will need to be successful after high school. I am here to serve students regardless of what postsecondary route they choose. My goal is to contribute to the culture of progress and upward mobility within the Flint community.