A few years after her high school graduation, Cassandra Morales faced two big hurdles on her path to attending college.
First, she was worried about being an older student and feeling out of place or excluded from traditional students. Second, she wasn’t sure she could afford it. Her parents lived paycheck to paycheck and never saved money for her to attend college. And she too had little savings.
But as she started looking into her options, she discovered two things that would help her get over those two hurdles.
Cassandra had a few close friends who had graduated from Alverno College. They all spoke highly about the college’s diverse student population and the sisterhood they felt a part of. They said her slightly older age wouldn’t matter. She also learned about the financial aid she would be eligible for to help her reach her goal of getting a bachelor’s degree. If it weren’t for her aid package, which includes a Wisconsin Grant, she wouldn’t be in college – let alone graduating in December 2020 with a double major in Spanish for the professions and global studies.
And her friends were right.
“By being an ‘adult’ student, I never thought I would be involved as much as I am, but because of Alverno’s welcoming environment, I never feel excluded or weird by participating in the activities,” says Cassandra.
Cassandra is the president of Alverno’s chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and is member of several other student organizations, including Youth Empowered in the Struggle, the Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee, Super Mommies and Love Your Melon.
She also has several campus jobs. She is a lead student worker in the Alverno Admissions Office, sharing her love of Alverno and college with prospective students and their families. She is a tutor for Spanish writing and speech. And she also is a peer leader, helping new students at Alverno’s Student Orientation and Registration events.
Cassandra is exploring options for what she will do after graduation, and she knows she wants to give back to her community.
“I really want to be able to make a difference in my community and invest my time into it. I also want to work with students,” Cassandra says.
Graduate school also is in her future, she says.
“If it was not for financial aid, I would not be able to attend Alverno or any college for that matter. I wouldn’t be planning for life after graduation. I am so grateful for all of this,” she says.