Accessive is proud to have led rising college students to success over years of operation. Below are just a few of the tenacious individuals we have had the privilege to guide and nurture towards their true potential.
To say that Michelle Cordova encountered hardships throughout her childhood is an understatement. Through the obstacles she faced, Michelle never stopped believing in her ability to prosper and achieve. Accessive not only built her confidence, but it facilitated her journey to success.
Born in Seattle, Washington, Michelle moved to Mexico at the age of two. In her childhood, Michelle suffered from a critical hearing impairment that required surgical treatment. Her family lacked the financial resources to seek treatment in Mexico, so she returned to the U.S. to receive the proper care she needed. She lived with aunt until her father was able to join her in Seattle. Slowly, her life seemed to become more stable. Things took a turn for the worst, however, when she was forced to leave her father’s home halfway through her senior year. As if the college application process wasn’t difficult enough, Michelle now had to balance finding a new home and supporting herself financially.
On top of this immense amount of work, Michelle continued her efforts to achieve her goal of attending college. Coming from a low-income background, Michelle knew she had to push herself to create a better future. “I always thought of college as a way of helping my family progress. That’s why I always tried to get the best grades, especially since low-income students have a smaller probability of attending a good college,” she said.
With this goal in mind, Michelle joined the Accessive Scholars Program to bridge the gap between her efforts and college accessibility. Michelle was mentored by Anna Lenaker, a student at Brown who, as an emancipated teen, could relate to unprecedented hardships. In a short span of time, they developed a close relationship and were able to connect on a personal level. “I didn't feel pressured and I felt like I could comfortably talk about the situations I was going through with my mentor. Anna was understanding and relatable, since she also came from a low income background,” said Michelle. Despite Michelle’s limited English, Anna worked with her to perfect her writing. Anna worked with Michelle to tell share her story and accolades in a compelling and concise manner. Together, they outlined Michelle’s experience with the Running Start dual enrollment credit program and her involvement with her high school’s Latino Club.
Through Accessive, Michelle received the one-on-one attention she needed to navigate the college application process. This fall, Michelle will be attending Washington State University to study landscape architecture where she’ll pursue her passion for art and nature. “I enjoyed how through this career choice, I could bring art projects to life through the use of nature,” said Michelle. Washington State was the perfect fit for Michelle, as it is one of two universities in the country that offers a landscape architecture major. She is immensely excited to embark on this journey, one that would not have been attainable without Accessive’s guidance and resources.
For Nick Mijares, Accessive was more than a college application aid – it was a window to all the experiences available to him. Early on in high school, attending a top tier university wasn’t even really on his radar. About halfway through sophomore year, he realized he wanted a challenging college experience, but wasn’t sure what that would be or how he would get there. He knew was that he was interested in science and medicine thanks to his classes and an internship at Nova Southeastern University, but wasn’t sure what his next step should be.
At the start of Nick’s junior year, he attended his first Accessive seminar at Somerset, and it was the start of an experience that would yield tremendous fruit. What started with open-ended questions developed into free college coaching via the Accessive Scholars program, through which he was matched with Janaya Shelly who attended MIT. At her suggestion, he applied to an MIT program and spent the summer there, and realized he loved engineering even more than he loved medicine.
Soon afterward, he received an email from Accessive about participating in a fly-in program, and with some encouragement from his mentor, applied for the Columbia Engineering Experience. It was on that overnight trip that he saw Columbia for the first time and fell in love. “I love the humanities, and I didn’t realize that was such a big thing for me until after I left MIT. When I saw how Columbia has this really amazing blend of everything, I just fell in love with it. And if it wasn’t for my mentor, I never would have applied to the engineering experience and realized how important that was.”
As the college application process progressed, MIT and Columbia became Nick’s clear favorites. “I feel like I liked Columbia more, but wouldn’t admit it to myself because I didn’t want to jinx it.” His nerves about getting in were allayed thanks to the tremendous efforts of his second mentor, Sophia Busacca, who attended UPenn.
When it was all said and done, Nick had earned acceptance to the University of Florida, Rice University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, MIT, and, of course, Columbia University, where he will matriculate in the fall.
So what does he plan to pursue now, medicine or engineering? Nick says he isn’t quite sure. “My interests lie somewhere in the middle. I really like biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, and the biological application of these types of fields.” What he always comes back to is that he wouldn’t have even realized his love of both engineering and the humanities if it weren’t for his mentors. “The thing is that these coaches are not just professionally invested, they’re also genuinely emotionally invested. I’ve been able to become real friends with my mentors, and it was the interest they took in me and the relationships I developed that helped me realize my dream.”
Leandro Lopez saw his higher education somewhat differently than the average college-bound student. His idea of academic success centered less around academics themselves and more around everyday student life—a life spent interacting daily with the best and brightest of the current generation, always imbibing and contributing to the the great collective knowledge of human civilization.
Leandro's ultimate goal was to ensure his personal growth by immersing himself in college's intellectual environment, learning as much as he could from the "outrageously smart" aspiring young professionals around him. His problem, however, was that his goal was as inspiring as it was overwhelming; he "knew absolutely nothing as to what it took" to successfully apply to college, much less to reach a prestigious institution. Right up until his participation in the Accessive Scholars Program, Leandro doubted his ability to earn admission into the top schools he envisioned himself attending.
Fortunately for Leandro, Accessive is no stranger to situations like his, resulting in his pairing with mentor Anna Lenaker. Anna worked with Leandro to pour his heart out onto his application, navigating through writer's block and tricky submission guidelines to land Leandro a spot at Carnegie Mellon University. Now free to learn from intellectuals to his heart's content, Leandro plans to add his own contributions through studying computer science, while keeping up with Anna and her foreign studies at the University of Oxford.
Growing up, Kelechi Offor was always surrounded by younger siblings and cousins. A lifetime surrounded by small children in need of attention instilled in her "a real love for children", and consequently a genuine interest in pediatrics and neonatology. As such, she had her eyes set on becoming a well-educated doctor through Tufts University's premedical programs. Coupled with her activities in her school's Science and Math National Honor Societies and her stint as president of her local Girls Get IT branch, she was all set on making a difference for children in the years to come. But, she had major hurdles to overcome first; namely, her status as a first-generation college student.
As the first in her family to attend a higher institution, Kelechi had no access to the necessary information on how to complete an application, particularly on the financial branch of the process: applying for aid, obtaining and completing tax forms, and financing her education on a single-parent income. As she began her participation in the Accessive Scholars Program, Kelechi was cautiously optimistic, asking herself, "how can I go to my dream school if I can't pay for it?".
Kelechi would soon find her participation in the program well-worth her time and effort. With Kelechi as the first student assigned to mentor Julia Petrini, the two of them quickly developed a strong bond that led to Kelechi to understand all sorts of information necessary for her college application—even some that she had not considered yet. Through Julia's guidance, Kelechi learned of the importance of having an extensive, yet reasonable list of potential schools; that it was perfectly acceptable to hammer out a personal statement over several draft, eventually letting herself and her mentor learn more about herself and "really enjoying what she did turn in"; and, of course, everything she needed to know about completing her financial statements.
Thanks to her perseverance and Julia's wisdom, Kelechi went far beyond her expected goals. For not only did she earn admittance to Tufts, but to an impressive laundry list of institutions: the University of Miami, University of Florida, Northeastern University, University of Central Florida, and waitlist spots on Duke and Emory Universities. Having successfully beat the odds and landed exactly where she aimed for all along, Kelechi is now well on the way to serve in tomorrow's medical field—with years of family experience to match.