Meet Rosanne

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 Rosanne

 

I felt what they call culture shock.
Rosanne deals with the challenge of adapting to a new culture.
I don’t really put myself out there a lot. (01:25)
Rosanne talks about learning how to write college essays.
I don’t really put myself out there a lot.
Now Playing
I felt what they call culture shock. (01:33)
Rosanne deals with the challenge of adapting to a new culture.
I felt what they call culture shock.
Now Playing
I want to do something medical. (00:37)
Rosanne's volunteer work inspired her career choice.
I want to do something medical.
Now Playing

Snapshot

Year in college
Junior
Major
Biology/premedicine
Family income
$40,000–$60,000
College
Public four-year university
Published yearly out-of-state tuition and fees
$26,908
Favorite TV show
House
Dream job
Neurosurgeon
A high school student from Singapore, Rosanne was nearly overwhelmed by college applications and culture shock after she moved to the United States.
Her obstacle 

Although she was only one semester away from her high school graduation in Singapore, Rosanne’s parents wanted her to finish school in the United States and apply to colleges there. Her brother was already attending a U.S. college, so she moved in with him and enrolled in a local school. “I was really mad," she says. “I was pretty satisfied with my life [at home].”

Rosanne’s parents warned her about culture shock, but she didn’t take them seriously. “I was like, ‘My parents don't know anything.’ But yeah, they knew what they were talking about." Understanding slang was especially difficult. "Half the time I’d be like, ‘What did you say?’”

Not only did she have to succeed at a new school in the middle of senior year, she also had to navigate a whole new culture — mostly by herself since her brother was too busy to help her out much.

On top of all this, she faced the challenge of filling out college applications. “I basically cried every day,” she says.

How she overcame it 

Rosanne’s parents advised her to take the initiative and approach her classmates. Although it meant taking a “huge step outside [her] comfort bubble,” she did it, asking other students to have lunch or just hang out. The friends she made helped her better understand American English and culture.

Her new friends also helped with her college applications. “I found it really hard because I don’t put myself out there a lot” she says. “It was hard to put [my strengths] into words and not sound cocky. It came out like, ‘I’m great!’ My friends ... taught me how to sell myself in a more humble way,” she says.

She also made a valuable connection with her high school counselor. Rosanne describes him as “really bubbly ... He would always make jokes. I didn’t feel like I had to watch what I said.” He made her feel comfortable asking for extra help completing applications and writing essays.

Her senior year at a U.S. high school was tough but along the way, she discovered that she could survive — even thrive — as an independent person. “I didn't have to rely on my parents. I just needed a push to get out there and do things myself.”

Life at college 

During her first year of college, Rosanne volunteered at a home for Alzheimer's patients. Since her grandfather and aunt both suffer from the disease, the experience carried extra weight.

“[Volunteering] made me realize that my loved ones are going to be in that state and I can't do anything about it.” She’s now motivated to learn more about Alzheimer’s so she can play a role in the effort to end it one day.

U.S. education glossary

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High School

The final three to four years of pre-university education. The typical student graduates at age 17 or 18 after completing the 12th grade.

Undergraduate

A program offered by a postsecondary institution (college or university) that leads to an associate or a bachelor’s degree; generally requires a high school diploma or a GED.

Community College

Offers a two-year program, often leading to an associate degree, that prepares students for transfer to a bachelor’s degree program or to enter the workforce.

Professional Degree

A program that prepares students for a particular profession, such as medicine or law.

Master's Degree

Advanced degrees earned at graduate schools, which are usually part of universities. A bachelor’s degree is required to enter a master’s program.

Doctoral Degree

Earned at graduate schools, doctoral degrees require study beyond the master’s degree and, usually, independent research. The Ph.D. is a common doctoral degree.

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