Student Stories: Loan Ly, ACCESS Springfield
Loan Ly: ACCESS Springfield Scholar. Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Services Class of 2014.
I think ACCESS is a great program, because when I first started thinking about college at the end of my senior year, my family barely spoke any English, and they didn’t know anything about the process, and so my advisor was a huge help. Jeanne, my advisor, helped me research colleges, and she gave me so much information I didn’t know—like what types of tax forms I needed from my parents to fill out my financial aid, and how to go through the process smoothly. We had some complications with confirming my American citizenship, and so she helped me through that, too—because citizenship is required if you’re applying for the types of federal aid I wanted and needed to get. She helped me out a lot!
I’ve known since middle school that I’d like to be in the medical field, specifically in Pharmacy, but I wanted to go to a school where I could pursue other options in medicine if I change my mind. Jeanne understood that, and we found that Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Services in Boston would be a good fit that would also be affordable. She also made sure I had a backup plan, though, in case my favorite schools didn’t work out—I was planning to go to community college and then transfer out after a couple of years, because it was cheaper and I could afford it. I’m the first person in my family to go off to a four-year college, not to mention in Boston, which is a big thing—I really needed a lot of help! My parents are sad I’ll be far away, but they trust me, and they’re proud that I’m going off on my own and building my future the way I want it.
There was always no question that I wanted to go to college; one way or another, I just had to go! When I was younger I wanted to be a teacher, or a doctor, but then in my middle school years I found out about pharmacy work, and I knew it was what I wanted to do—and my ACCESS advisor was the one who made it possible. I couldn’t get a financial aid package until my U.S. citizenship was entirely cleared up, and my advisor helped me every step of the way. I tried using websites to help at the beginning, but there’s so much information out there, and it’s not always organized in a way that makes sense! It was such a relief to have a person I could go to whenever I had questions. My parents are thrilled that I’m going to school, but they had no idea how to do any of this—they trusted that I could handle it, and so I was pretty much on my own with the college process until I connected with ACCESS. I’m so glad I had someone to help me out.