My name is Claudia Vereen, and like most young American high school students, I want to attend college after graduation. It has been a life long dream of mine to attend the HBCU Howard University. There, I plan to major in Biology with the determination of entering med school where I will pave the pathway to becoming an OB/GYN. Sounds like a lot, right?
At this point, you're probably curious on why in the world I am using this website as an aid. At the age of 47, my father who had been battling a lifelong illness (sickle cell) and a heavy pain pill addiction, passed away. This left my mother and I on our own. Residing in a small town in Alabama, my mother and I have little to no family alive. My mother's side of the family was a very small and middle aged family so by the time I was born, these family members were already elderly.
The question we all feared arose: How are we going to pay for my college? Me getting into college is not the issue. I am a 4.0 GPA senior in high school who is the top 10 percentile and has five honor society titles under my belt (National, English, Spanish, Technology, and Nu Alpha Theta 'math'). By the end of the school year in 2017, I will have taken 6 Advanced Placement (AP) courses (Biology, English, US History, Psychology, Literature, Govt., and Economics) earning me the Advanced Placement diploma at this upcoming graduation.
You're probably assuming that a student with this much academic achievement probably has bucket loads of scholarships at their feet. Wrong! Here is where the issue is presented. I am a horrible standardized test taker. In order to receive a decent amount of scholarship money from colleges, you will have to score at least a 27/36 on the ACT. After testing thrice, the highest I've managed to score so far is a 20. Womp Womp! I am currently studying with the hopes of raising my score. But I am very worried that it may be a tad bit too late being that I am a high school senior. College acceptance with no scholarships mean tons of student loans, which is a big word for life- long debt.
The goal of every college student is to graduate with the least amount of debt. At this point, plan B for me is to attempt to start racking online scholarships to help pave the way. Howard University tuition for out-of-state students is around $23k a year with no fees and about $33-36k with fees included. Not too bad...if I was going for only one year! Four years of $36k a year will easily total up to be about $144k by the end of college for me.
To be an African American woman to attend college and medical school would be an extremely positive attribute to many aspects in this world: I would be achieving my lifelong goal all while society will be exposed to more successful people of color in high demand career fields (STEM programs).
My ultimate goal is to raise about $100-175k by the end of 2017. Sounds crazy! But anything that can happen, will happen! With the income of the job I am working, the studying to increase my ACT score, the online scholarship opportunities, and hopefully with the help of you guys, this goal can become a reality!
Thank you so much in advance for all the help I receive! I am grateful for every single dime that is given to me! My story may not be the least bit more interesting than the next kid's. But no child should be denied that opportunity of living their dreams!
- Much Love,