EDIT: A press release was sent out by a representative of Santa Monica College and my journey has been published in two Santa Monica newspapers and a Santa Monica website! Check them out!  

Santa Monica Mirror!

the Santa Monica Daily Press!

and Santa Monica Lookout!

Who am I?

I began by sending this to my close friends and because I have amazing people around me-they began to spread this link. I want to let those of you who don’t know me, get to know a little about who I am.

My name is Gracie Sandoval and for the past 3 years I have been a student at Santa Monica College. In June, I graduated with honors  with my AA in Women’s Studies and had a plan in action to transfer to UC-Berkeley in Spring of next year!

So how did I end up here?
I’m a first-generation college student, high-school drop out, and daughter of the fiercest, hardest working immigrant mother—the Rio Hotel&Casino has ever seen.

I grew up in Las Vegas, NV, raised by a single mom, a housekeeper, who emphasized not only the importance but the vitality of education, she herself having received only a middle-school education. Inspired by my mother, I worked diligently at school but eventually dropped-out after my first semester in 10th grade after being told my dreams of attending UCLA were too far-fetched, and too expensive for someone like me—I was in the top 11% of my class. I had been cheated out of information like financial aid, scholarships, grants and loans and had no support system to tell me otherwise.

Luckily, years later I decided I couldn’t allow what someone said dictate what my path would look like and took hold of my future by enrolling in the #1 community college.

I began to apply last fall to universities and in the end was admitted to 10 out of the 12 I applied to.

Columbia University among them!

I found out on July 16th that I had been admitted to Columbia University School of General Studies, and a week later I was notified that I would be receiving a FULL RIDE-tuition and fees scholarship—the PALS scholarship: a scholarship for first-generation college students, demonstrating high financial need and, dedicated to academia and service.

Attending Columbia University was becoming tangible and was even told that my housing would be prioritized in order for me to be able to attend this Fall semester.

Today, July 31st, I was offered housing through Columbia University and I was notified that my apartment will be move-in ready by the 18th of AUGUST! This is when it all became real---really expensive, that is. They're asking for a $1,000 deposit.

My scholarship DOES NOT cover personal expenses, room&board, books, supplies, travel, moving, or the cost of getting there. I begin the semester this fall and all of the costs really add up!

This is the last component to making this happen! If there is ANYTHING you can donate, or can pass this along to someone who can, I will gladly appreciate it and be forever grateful!
  • From Evergreen 
    • $10 
    • 81 mos
  • rhino . 
    • $250 
    • 82 mos
  • Gregoire Thoby 
    • $50 
    • 82 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $15 
    • 82 mos
  • Joanna Nuñez 
    • $15 
    • 82 mos
See all


Gracie Sandoval 
Los Angeles, CA
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