The following article features recent University of Pennsylvania admit Azeeza, who was a member of CollegeAdvisor.com’s Scholars Program. For more information about our programming and personal guidance about the college application process, head to CollegeAdvisor.com and sign up for a monthly plan to work with an admissions coach 1-on-1.
That was what CollegeAdvisor.com Scholar Azeeza was most worried about when starting the college application process. Now, she has matriculated to the University of Pennsylvania, where she has received a full, four-year scholarship.
Azeeza was born in North Sudan, in a small village called Kosti. She moved to the US through an immigration lottery with her family when she was four years old. They first lived in Clearwater, Florida before finally settling down in Tampa.
As a kid, Azeeza wanted to be an astronaut, but she found new interests while growing up. After considering both teaching and baking, she landed upon medicine as her true passion. Now, she aspires to be a brain surgeon. At UPenn, she plans to major in biology, with a concentration in Neuroscience.
Nearly every graduating student from Azeeza’s small high school attends the University of South Florida for college. "Why are we so focused on going to this one school?" Azeeza asked herself. She knew she wanted to explore different possibilities.
The summer of her junior year, Azeeza pulled out her laptop, went to Google, and typed in "how to get into college." That's how she discovered CollegeAdvisor.com. After browsing through CollegeAdvisor's website and blog, she decided to apply for the CollegeAdvisor.com Scholars program.
Reflecting upon the application process as a whole, Azeeza says, “I had a huge confidence issue—I didn’t know what I could or couldn’t do.” This concern felt particularly hindering when it came to applying to Ivy League schools.
So, when she received a call from our CEO, Brian Mitchell, telling her that she was one of our selected scholars, Azeeza was in disbelief. She remembers her shock at the incredible resources that CollegeAdvisor.com offered.
"It was really exciting—but why me?" she asked.
Brian explained that CollegeAdvisor aims to give students the chance to fulfill their collegiate potential and achieve their college dreams. He had been immediately compelled by Azeeza's story, and he felt that she deserved to achieve her academic goals. Brian hoped that CollegeAdvisor would help Azeeza make the most of her academic journey.
Azeeza agreed and signed up, excited for the journey ahead. Looking back, Azeeza would “absolutely” recommend CollegeAdvisor.com to anyone preparing to apply to college.
Azeeza’s CollegeAdvisor Admissions Coach Jasmine started working with her in the middle of her junior year. Jasmine helped Azeeza not only with her applications, but also with standardized testing preparation. She also helped Azeeza look at scholarships and manage her college applications in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If I ever make it big, I’m sending [Jasmine] on a tour of the world," Azeeza says.
With CollegeAdvisor.com and Jasmine’s help, Azeeza got a placement with Questbridge—a service that pairs low income students with top colleges and universities—as well as with the Young Leaders’ Summit.
Azeeza had initially been hesitant to apply to Questbridge, as it requires that students commit to the school with which they are matched. However, Jasmine guided Azeeza to overcome her fear and recognize the incredible opportunity that lay ahead. Walking her through the Questbridge application, the Common App, the FAFSA, and the CSS profile, Jasmine helped Azeeza shoot for the stars. She even took care to discuss which tax forms were needed to fill out the financial aid applications with Azeeza’s father.
Azeeza names her mother and Jasmine as the most helpful people during her college application journey. Although the language barrier prevented Azeeza’s immigrant mother from helping her with essays, Azeeza still treasures the emotional support that she supplied.
Throughout the college process, Jasmine encouraged Azeeza to focus on self-care. "She helped me emotionally." Azeeza says. "That was the biggest thing."
After George Floyd’s death, Azeeza remembers Jasmine calling her to ask if she was okay. Azeeza felt touched. She says, “Nobody really does that for me. It was very random, but I appreciated it so much. She just genuinely wanted to know if I was okay.” Azeeza was grateful for Jasmine’s support during such a difficult time.
At UPenn, Azeeza is most excited to dive into research and meet new people. She wants to learn more about regenerative medicine, and she has already been reaching out to professors at UPenn whose labs she hopes to work in. She also looks forward to meeting people outside her very “tight-knit” community.
Azeeza would advise her peers, especially those with low self-confidence, that believing in themselves is key! She asserts, “There is no limit to anything you do—you won’t achieve anything without taking the first step of believing in yourself."
This success story was based on an interview with CollegeAdvisor.com Scholar Azeeza. If you want to learn more about the CollegeAdvisor Scholars program or get 1-on-1 help with your college applications from a CollegeAdvisor.com Admissions Expert, register with CollegeAdvisor.com today.