Student Stories

Meet Rosa

High School: Franklin High School in Highland Park, Los Angeles College: Yale B.A. 2009, Tufts M.S. 2013, Ross University School of Medicine M.D. 2017 with highest honors
Career: OB/GYN, Mercy Hospital & Medical Center Chicago.

College Match Pushed Me to Dream Bigger than I Thought Possible

I worked really hard in high school and I knew that I would go to college. But I assumed it would be somewhere close to home, in Los Angeles. I never even considered going across the country, let alone to an Ivy League school, until Harley told us we would be visiting colleges on the east coast.

When we got back from that trip I looked at him and told him, "I want to go to Yale." Without hesitation, he said, "Okay! We'll figure it out."

After countless hours of studying for the SAT, writing and rewriting college application essays, and going on college alumni interviews, I applied and was accepted into Yale University. I could not believe it!

After helping me get into Yale, College Match did not abandon me. Yale was a very difficult transition academically. I was at the top of my class in high school, but I quickly discovered I was just average in college – I needed support to catch up to the top students in class. College Match helped me get school supplies my freshman year, pay for a flight or two back to LA, proofread some applications and even helped me get job interviews my senior year.

The career office at Yale told me that I would not be able to be a doctor and encouraged me to think of a different career, but Harley never stopped believing in me and College Match granted me a scholarship to pay for an MCAT course.

I decided to forego attending medical school right away and instead moved to Boston to be a National Teaching Fellow for Citizen Schools to give back to a community like the one I grew up in. I taught 6th grade math and English. It was the hardest two years of my life, but I was able to make an impact on some of those students who are now in college themselves.

While in Boston, I pursued a master's in Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University School of Medicine to boost my medical school application. Once again, Harley helped me get a volunteer position at a community clinic in an underserved part of Boston, which then turned into a paid position.

I applied to medical schools in the United States and abroad, going on many interviews, and was waitlisted everywhere. I was accepted to attend Ross University School of Medicine and moved to Dominica to finally pursue my dream of becoming a doctor. I graduated from Ross in 2017 with highest honors and will be starting an OB/GYN residency in July 2018.

Harley and College Match taught me that it was okay to go far, dream big, and to not let anyone tell me that I could not do something. I followed their advice and now I get to call myself Dr. Rosa Avila. Thanks College Match!

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"Wow! Congratulations. If there were a Nobel Prize for college admissions, you'd be a shoo-in."

– Edward B. Fiske, Former Education Editor of The New York Times and Author of The Fiske Guide to Colleges

"You believed in us so much that we finally began believing in ourselves."

– Rosa Avila, Yale OB/GYN, Mercy Hospital & Medical Center Chicago.

"College Match is one of the top college access programs in the country. You make a positive difference in the lives of a lot of deserving kids."

– David Borus, Former Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Vassar College

"I went from Jordan High School [in Watts] to standing next to a member of the Supreme Court."

– Antonio Ingram, Yale & Berkeley Law Morrison & Foerster, Federal Judicial Clerkship, Government of Malawi

"Just spectacular. So many people we know are talk, talk, talking. You are doing. What a powerful impact you are having-changing the lives of so many young people. Just think where most of them would be were it not for you and your work."

– Arnie Miller, Former Director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office

College Match is "a network for students to connect with one another and strive for their dreams together."

– Rudy Torres, Brown University

"It is clear that you are doing extremely important work to enable these young people to realize their potential. Nothing could be more important. Keep it going."

– Bill George, Former CEO of Medtronic and the author of the best selling book, True North, which focuses on outstanding leadership

"I will be graduating from Columbia Law School and hope to make contributions to improving the wellbeing of low-income minority communities through looking at disparities in public health."

– Jennifer Anderson, Columbia Law School

"Exceptionally impressive."

– Mel Levine, Former United States Congressman

"College Match is doing the work that is so essential to youngsters with talent who need a staircase more than a step to reach their educational goals."

– Shirley M. Hufstedler, Former U. S. Secretary of Education

"I want to commend you on the work you are doing with students in the Los Angeles area. It is work that is definitely needed."

– Mike Krzyzewski, Head Basketball Coach at Duke University and U. S. Olympic Coach

"Your record is simply incredible. We watch with great admiration as College Match offers a pathway for so many young people to realize their potential. Your vision and record are truly inspirational."

– Bill Corr, Former Deputy Secretary, Federal Dept. Of Health and Human Services

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