Meet Charlinda

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 Charlinda

 

I see a lot of Native Americans on campus.
Charlinda found a second family on campus by getting involved outside the classroom.
I was a quiet freshman but now I'm outgoing. (0:44)
College has helped Charlinda grow as a person and a student.
I was a quiet freshman but now I'm outgoing.
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My mom didn't want me leaving the reservation. (0:52)
Her mother quickly put her fears aside and supported Charlinda's decision to go to college.
My mom didn't want me leaving the reservation.
Now Playing
I see a lot of Native Americans on campus. (0:54)
Charlinda found a second family on campus by getting involved outside the classroom.
I see a lot of Native Americans on campus.
Now Playing

Snapshot

Year in college
Junior
Major
Sociology
Family income
Under $20,000
College
Public four-year college
Published yearly in-state tuition and fees
$9,299
Financial aid received
Federal Pell Grant, state and university grants, scholarships
Favorite video game
Tetris
Two things she can't live without
Her family (because they are her support system) and her community (whose teachings are close to her heart)
Dream job
College counselor working with underrepresented students
Finding community away from home helped Charlinda overcome culture shock at college.
Her obstacle 

For Charlinda, college and financial aid applications seemed easy — leaving her Navajo reservation didn't. Having spent her entire life there, she was nervous about leaving her family and community for a strange place with many different kinds of people. She worried about feeling like an outsider. "Growing up, I was kind of sheltered, so I felt like I had a disadvantage."

During her first week on campus, Charlinda's college experience seemed to be living up to her fears. She was quiet in class, kept to herself and didn't want to make friends. And she was overwhelmed by the large number of students in her classes. "I called my mom and I started crying, I … just wanted to go home."

How she overcame it 

Charlinda eventually learned about student organizations designed especially for Native Americans. Through these, she found mentors, tutors and Native American upperclassmen who offered valuable advice. Now she feels right at home. "I have a second family [at] the Native American Student Affairs cultural center, which I am highly thankful for."

With the support of her new community, Charlinda gained the confidence to come out of her shell. She joined clubs and organizations and is now very outgoing. Charlinda advises students trying to balance their own culture with others to learn about other people and to challenge any negative stereotypes about their own culture.

Life at college 

With three years under her belt, Charlinda is not only doing well academically but is helping to bring back a Native American sorority. "I am growing as a person each day. I have so much pride in my status as a student."

As a student recruiter, Charlinda uses her own story as an example to help other students realize their college dreams. She feels a sense of accomplishment when she runs into students who were afraid when she first met them, but are now thriving at college. "I don't see a lot of Native students going to college. A lot of them say they can't make it, and I want to be the person who helps them go."

Scholarship eligibility

There are lots of ways to qualify for scholarships, whether they're based on achievement, need or both.

Search for scholarships now.

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