I can still vividly remember telling my Puerto Rican parents that I wanted to go to Miami for college. They said “Tu quieres ir por Menudo, ¿verdad?” (You want to go because of Menudo, right?). We all laughed.
Menudo was the uber famous Latino boy band (where Ricky Martin started out). This is the thing: I was a die-hard Menudo fan. Proof? Throughout my four years of high school, I was president of a fan club called “Friendship with Menudo Int’l Fan Club.”
So what does this have to do with going to college in Miami?
Well, because my parents used to take me everywhere I wanted to see Menudo – including the hotels where they stayed in Puerto Rico – I developed a friendship with them – hence the “friendship” in my club’s name. The group members lived in Miami so my parents thought I wanted to keep up with them.
We still joke about that and I DID go to Miami to study advertising at Florida Int’l University, where I got my B.A., and then went on to obtain my Master’s at Nova Southeastern University.
Sixteen years and over $50k STILL in college-debt later, I keep advising my mentor, Cristy (Los Tweens & Teens founder), and her teen twin girls NOT to make the same mistake my parents and I did of relying solely on financial aid.
Even though it DID look very attractive at the time – college paid for and leftover money – it’s the one thing I regret the most about my entire college experience.
Back then we didn’t have so many resources and knowledge on the Internet, but mainly I think it was more of an ignorance issue. Even though both of my parents went to college, they stayed in the public college in their small town of Guayama, Puerto Rico and had no idea how much out-of-state college tuition costs. I also didn’t get the proper financial aid advice from my college counselor, who had 30 students to advise. I also didn’t proactively seek her advice.
But now things are different. Ignorance is no excuse.
Have you talked with your teens about their college dreams? In order to take the dream to a reality- it takes planning!
Here are our teen reporters – twins Sophia & Olivia, sharing their dreams, and worries, about college. This is a great conversation to have with your tweens and teens:
Researching, proper planning and applying, applying and applying to as many opportunities as possible is my best college advice to parents, as there are countless of grants and scholarships for FREE money for college. If your Hispanic teen lives in South Dakota and wants to study nursing? There’s probably a scholarship for that!
One of these options is The Hispanic College Fund, which arms Latino parents with resources – and cash – to send teens to college. One of their corporate partners is Coca-Cola, which for its 32nd year, is donating $150,000 in scholarship funds to qualifying students with their #ForTheDream campaign.
Applications are being accepted until March 30, 2016 by visiting coke.com/forthedream
Check out Coca-Cola’s very inspiring #ForTheDream campaign video below and HURRY to apply.