Growing up, William was a good student. However, work had been the only alternative for both his mother and older sister, and he assumed he would do the same after high school.
“In middle school I really had no plans to go to college," he said.
His outlook began to change during his 10th grade year at Gertz-Ressler High School, when he started participating in Fulfillment Fund classroom lessons about the college process and learned that college was in fact a possibility. In the 11th grade, he took part in the Fulfillment Fund’s SAT prep workshops and day trips to visit colleges. As a 12th grader, he attended Destination College and received one-on-one guidance from Fulfillment Fund Counselor Elizabeth Zamudio and College Access Program Advisor Nefara Riesch during the college application process.
“Miss Elizabeth and Miss Riesch would stay past school hours to help me read my applications and essays,” he says. “It was really touching to see them stay even if they didn’t have to - they dedicated their time to help me.”
He was accepted to five colleges and ultimately chose Boston University, where he and Fulfillment Fund staff worked out a complete financial aid package of three loans, university grants and scholarships, and the Fulfillment Fund scholarship.
But this past August, with just one week before the first day of school, he learned of added expenses to his college tuition that he had not anticipated, jeopardizing his chances of attending his first semester of college.
Immediately he called Karina Santos, the Fulfillment Fund’s associate director of scholarship operations, and Elizabeth Zamudio, his Fulfillment Fund counselor. They made repeated calls to Boston University's financial aid department, and the school increased his financial aid by $1,000, covering the unanticipated gap in his tuition.
Today, William is thriving and finishing his first semester at Boston University. Interested in a career either as an architect or a physician, he's keeping his options open for now, as an architectual studies and pre-med major with a minor in Korean.
Though the East Coast weather was difficult to get used to, William's transition to college was made easier by the ongoing support of the Fulfillment Fund, he says. “I still feel like I have a support system," he says. "The staff constantly sends me emails to check up on me and to tell me about opportunities to take. They help me even after the program, and I am so appreciative of that.”