Alejandra Cosio is a classic high achiever. As a student at Queen of Peace high school in Burbank, she was a member of the dance team, robotics club, environmental club, National Honor Society, and the math honor society. She worked hard to prove her worth as a student and eventually chose to further her education at Harold Washington College. It was affordable and fit in with her plans of transferring to a four-year school after earning her associate degree.

At Harold Washington, Alejandra continued her dedication to being a well-rounded student, joining the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, as well as being a volunteer translator at the Central American Resource Center where she helped translate official documents for immigration law and asylum cases. She was also a student leader for the Transfer Leadership class, which helped her learn about different transfer opportunities and apply to four-year institutions like Columbia College Chicago.

In July, Alejandra learned that she had been awarded a full-ride to Columbia through the inaugural Chicagoland Transfer Award, a scholarship that helps community college students transfer to the private media arts college in Chicago’s South Loop. She was one of 11 students chosen out of 70 applicants to be awarded the scholarship and the only student granted a full-ride. Applicants had to have completed at least 45 college-level credits, have a 3.0 GPA and submit a 1,000-word essay that answered two questions: “How has your experience at your community college prepared you for success at Columbia? How do you plan to make the most of your Columbia education?”

Alejandra wrote about the different challenges she faced in her personal life—from her sister’s precarious health to moving to a different country—as well as those in her academic life. She had been discouraged early on from attending college, but instead of feeling defeated, she felt motivated.

“Don’t give up. Know what you deserve, because people are going to try to bring you down, but you have to stay true to yourself and know that you deserve it. Keep fighting.”

Much like the welcoming environment Alejandra found and loved at Harold Washington, Columbia offers her a campus and student body that is diverse and inclusive, and she’s looking forward to her first semester in fall 2018. After earning a degree in advertising, Alejandra endeavors to go to law school and become an immigration lawyer.

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