For a young adult, learning to overcome one’s fears can seem impossible. Cinthia Ibarra found support from Let’s Get Ready and used it to achieve her lifelong quest to rise above her circumstances and ultimately go to college.  

Cinthia’s journey began twelve years ago when she boarded a plane to New York City from her native Mexico. What seemed like a dream soon gave way to a harsh reality as she ran smack into her first barrier: language. She lacked the language skills to communicate her thoughts and feelings in English.  She shared that she “felt intimidated, isolated, and unable to be the outgoing, sociable little girl I was back home.”  She added, “Everything was so new and different.  I was determined to rise above this and learn English as fast as I could.”

For Cinthia, a first-generation college hopeful, the application process was intimidating and cost was another barrier she needed to overcome. “My parents told me not to focus on the cost because they would work as much as they needed in order to pay for my college education. Yet I knew that the cost was exorbitant and I did not want them to sacrifice even more for me.”

Then, during spring of her junior year, Cinthia learned about Let’s Get Ready, a program she thought sounded too good to be true: SAT prep, college tours, and help with applications, all for free. She enrolled in the program’s New Rochelle site that summer, where she worked with Coaches, all volunteers that were college students at the time. “I could connect with them,” she said, “They had been in my shoes a few years prior. They also helped me improve my time management and test-taking strategies, skills that continue to help me in my academic life.” Support from Let’s Get Ready didn’t end with SAT and essay help; as a participant in the program, she visited Columbia University and Manhattanville College, and learned more about what she needed to look for in a school.

Building on the tools Let’s Get Ready gave her, Cinthia achieved her dream and entered into the University of Pennsylvania in the fall of 2016, with a full four-year scholarship. “The support given to me from Let’s Get Ready is hard to find – I am grateful that I came across a program that motivates students and convinces them that they are capable of going to college to aim for a better future,” she states. She expressed desire to stay connected with Let’s Get Ready and “making a difference in someone else’s life, in the same way that was done for me.”