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College Dreams Blog

College Dreams Blog

No matter who you are or how you’ve prepared for college, you’re bound to have a long list of questions. Our student ambassadors had college dreams just like you do and they worked hard to achieve them. Read their stories below and share your own with us on Facebook and Twitter!

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Mireille Garcia Serrato - photo

Free Money? Count Me In!

Posted by Mireille Garcia Serrato

Scholarships are a great way to pay for college tuition and living expenses. Many students are aware that there is money out there for college, but they do not take the time to apply. I am a clear example of how investing time to apply for scholarships can result in amazing rewards.


For two years, scholarships have covered my tuition and housing expenses, with a total of $30,000 in aid. Just a few months ago, I won a $1,000 scholarship for writing a 500-word essay!


Many people and organizations offer aid to support students and their education, and it is worth committing some time to apply to a few scholarships a month. Through online resources such as,, and even Google, you can find scholarships tailored to your specific interests, from video games to community service, as well as your background, such as being a first-generation college student.


I highly recommend students of all grade levels apply for scholarships. It is never too early to start. You can be as young as 13 years old and in middle school to a student already in college. You may find yourself debating what your chances are of winning a large scholarship against so many applicants, but don’t doubt yourself. If you don’t try, then you have no chance. So take the initiative to research, and begin your scholarship journey today!


Scholarships Photo

Shannon Banks - photo

Maximize Your Time Abroad

Posted by Shannon Banks

While studying or interning abroad, remember to fully enjoy your time there. Between classes or during your days off, explore the city! Check out local coffee shops or eateries with your classmates where you can meet people.


During my stay in Costa Rica, I have experienced zip lining through national parks, explored beach cities, seen volcanoes, and took a tour of one of the many rivers here. Costa Rica has beautiful colonial architecture in the capital of San Jose, so just walking around town gave me a look into the city’s culture and history.


Don’t let school or work keep you from spending time in the city. You will discover that the highlight of your time abroad will include people you meet. So go study abroad and have fun!

Shannon Banks - photo

Study and Intern Abroad

Posted by Shannon Banks

In college, take advantage of the opportunity to go abroad, which is becoming increasingly important as employers look for people who have world knowledge and experience. You can study abroad during school breaks, for a semester or even for a full year. You also have the option to intern abroad, which is what I did.


I interned in Costa Rica with an organization called Vida Volunteer for the spring semester. I also received college credit for my internship from San Diego State University. I chose to intern abroad to strengthen my Spanish speaking skills. I lived with a host family, allowing me to be fully immersed in the culture and to develop a better understanding of the people and language.


Once you’re at the CSU campus of your choice, check to see what study abroad programs your school offers. You never know what kinds of opportunities are waiting for you if you decide to venture out into the world!





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