Meet Brandon

I’ve never met anybody who’s judged me.

Grades

“I’ve never met anybody who’s judged me.”

When I was a junior, I was expelled.

Grades

“When I was a junior, I was expelled.”

I didn't know what I wanted to do.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I didn't know what I wanted to do.”

I don’t really put myself out there a lot.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I don’t really put myself out there a lot.”

I’m proud to say that I’m doing very well.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I’m very proud to say that I’m doing very well.”

I went to school for practically nothing.

Cost

“I went to school for practically nothing.”

Money is out there to help you—just look.

Cost

“Money is out there to help you—just look.”

It was stressful but rewarding in the end.

Cost

“It was stressful but rewarding in the end.”

I wanted to be a teacher.

Cost

“I wanted to be a teacher.”

I just assumed I wasn’t going to go.

Cost

“I just assumed I wasn’t going to go.”

It hits you at once.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“It hits you at once.”

I wasn’t sure what to do.

Cost

“I wasn’t sure what to do.”

Everything was in fine print.

Cost

“Everything was in fine print.”

I was a quiet freshman but now I'm outgoing.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I was a quiet freshman but now I'm outgoing.”

I had to deal with a lot all at once.

Responsibilities

“I had to deal with a lot all at once.”

I stayed close to home so my parents could visit.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I stayed close to home so my parents could visit.”

It pretty much gave me a full ride.

Cost

“It pretty much gave me a full ride.”

People are willing to help if you ask them.

Cost

“People are willing to help if you ask them.”

I was intimidated since I was undocumented.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I was intimidated since I was undocumented.”

My father did not want to help me.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“My father did not want to help me.”

I have a good chance of becoming more stable.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“I have a good chance of becoming more stable.”

Leaving the reservation is a huge step.

Feeling Overwhelmed

“Leaving the reservation is a huge step.”

Meet Brandon

 

The teachers can teach with passion.
Brandon describes the professor who inspired his choice of major.
It hits you at once. (00:35)
Brandon discusses the process of applying to college.
It hits you at once.
Now Playing
The teachers can teach with passion. (01:23)
Brandon describes the professor who inspired his choice of major.
The teachers can teach with passion.
Now Playing

Snapshot

Year in college
Junior
Major
Medical sociology
Family income
$60,000–$80,000
College
Public four-year university
Published yearly in-state tuition and fees
$5,942
Financial aid received
State academic scholarship, federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans
Favorite book
The McDonaldization of Society by George Ritzer
Favorite movie
Forrest Gump
Dream job
College professor or employee at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Brandon felt overwhelmed and intimidated by the college application process.
His obstacle 

“It seems like everyone was talking about college,” Brandon recalls of his junior year in high school. “They’d say, ‘You have to go to college. What are you going to do?’ I had a definite freak-out moment.”

Worse yet, Brandon felt like he was facing college alone. His high school’s guidance office, as he remembers, had only one counselor for every 500 students. “I don't believe they had the time for each individual student,” he says. Although his mom wanted him to attend college, he lived with his father who was not as supportive. Brandon says, “It all fell on me.”

His anxiety reached a high point when he took the SAT. He felt like his entire future was riding on it.

How he overcame it 

Looking back, Brandon describes the college application process as a symphony. “You have all of these different things going on with different groups of people and organizations, and you have to be the one who conducts it all.”

Brandon started taking charge by giving himself a pep talk during the SAT and changing his mindset. “You can do this,” he told himself. “This is part of the process. Calm down, have your moment, let it go and move on.”

Later, Brandon got help from his chemistry teacher. “I had a very close relationship with her ... she mentored me through pretty much everything I needed help with.” Ultimately, he says, he needed a guide to point him in the right direction.

With a new attitude and more support, Brandon was ready to get down to work filling out the applications and researching funding. “Once I got over my initial intimidation ... it really wasn't that bad.”

Life at college 

Brandon started out as a chemistry major, but switched to medical sociology after taking a class with a particularly influential professor in that field.

“Her first lecture was amazing,” he says. “Finally, here was somebody who would openly talk about things like discrimination, gender, racism, sexual orientation — anything imaginable — with no filters. I really think it was pure learning at its best. Throughout that semester, I fell more in love with sociology, and to this day I still love going to every lecture. [That experience] completely changed the way that I see the world and the society I live in.”

After he graduates, Brandon plans to earn his Ph.D. in medical sociology.

Freak-out moment? Take control.

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Break It Down

Think of the college application process as just a lot of little jobs spread out over a long period of time.

Make a To-Do List Daily

Put things that are most important at the top and do them first.

Be A Taskmaster

Set up a time budget and plan your activities accordingly. Figure out how much free time you have each week before adding any commitments.

Just Do It!

Wasting an entire evening worrying about something you’re supposed to be doing isn’t productive, and can increase your stress.

More tips: Time Management Tips for Students

If you're like Brandon

 

Take a next step

Get started with these ideas.