Help Someone Like Me Go To NYU!

Hi I am Tess McCormick. Against all odds I have the opportunity to go to NYU, but I urgently need help to make it happen.


This is my story:  For more than a year I listened to all of the reasons not to apply to the school of my dreams; only a small percentage of applicants make it; I am not smart enough; I won’t get the grades; I am not talented enough; I don’t have enough extracurricular activities; I am not brave enough, I am not strong enough; that is school for the privileged, not for me; I should lower my expectations.

And I believed it, that I would be foolish to try, that I would disappoint and be disappointed. The thing is that I never expected to go to NYU in the first place. I didn’t grow up thinking about high competition schools. I had a modest upbringing, but because of busing, attended school with many students of greater means.

How it happened…I had been pouring over University applications, overwhelmed and confused about what path I should take, reading through courses and programs and options, and calculating grades and averages, and application processes. When I came upon NYU’s Tisch program, it was like I had never felt anything more forcefully in my life. I knew it was exactly what I was supposed to be doing and where I was supposed to be and how I was supposed to be doing it. But then I pushed all of that away when I started getting feedback from everyone around me. Don’t get me wrong, some were just trying to be helpful. I kept quiet about what I wanted, and looked at practical options. Things I could get into with my mid-eighties grades. Options that made more sense for someone like me.

THE MEAN GIRLS: And then I remembered a story about another underdog and the mean girls who egged her on. My honorary Aunty. My real Aunty is amazing too. In fact I am blessed with Aunty role models. But my honorary Aunty, who donated a kidney to save my Granny, was attending a private school on scholarship when she was younger. Many of the girls singled her out, because she was not from families like theirs. One day, a particularly “mean girl” walked by her in the hallway with her posse, and said “Hey, they’re taking auditions for Miss Teen Calgary, and it says you don’t need beauty or brains. You should apply,” and then they all laughed their mean girl laughs. Well my Aunty turned around, entered and won Miss Teen Calgary,  and then went on to win Miss Teen Canada.


And she didn’t just stop there, she used her “celebrity” and her brains and inner and outer beauty to do amazing things for the homeless, for victims’ rights, and for everyone who loves her or comes into contact with her. She is an advocate for the underdog.

So I didn’t give up! I raised my grades to nineties. I won two academic awards in Science and in Journalism with 100 percent in Journalism. And, with some encouragement from my Mom and Aunties, I made the decision to apply, because nothing had ever made more sense for me, and I would rather have tried, and given up knowing I didn’t make the cut, than let the “mean girls” win.


I wrote essays, prepared a portfolio, went through the paperwork, stayed up late after studying and even though I didn’t think I would make it, I at least needed to know I had given it my all.

BEATING THE ODDS!  To my amazement I got in. I was one of 14% of 85,000 applicants. I got in as a foreign student (I am told this is harder to do), and with a partial scholarship (even harder). In fact the guidance counselors told me they must have seen something very special in me to have given me this consideration. They told me that I owed it to myself to give it a chance.


This seemed like amazing wonderful life changing news, until I discovered that the generous scholarship only makes a dent in the financial requirements of attending.

THE COSTS To get through one year of study, which is what I need to prove I can pay for in order to be let into the US for my first year, the cost is $81,928 US dollars; $107,378.11 CND. There are no appeals to scholarship amounts. I cannot get a private loan without a US citizen or permanent resident co-signing for me. And Canadian student loans max out at $15 Canadian, which leaves me with a $47, 064US/$61,682 CND needed to enter the country and take my place at the school.

If I can just get there, and seize this opportunity, I can prove myself. I can have the chance to use my abilities and hard work to advocate for other underdogs. I can contribute to the world with my creative and academic talents, which have been recognized by this wonderful place of learning, and I can do what my Aunties have done; give a voice to those who don’t have their own voice or a wealthy family to back them.

But I need your help to get there. I am under a time crunch. I need to apply for my documentation and  must show that I have the first year finances in place to do so. And while I have had some really nice people try to help me, nothing has worked out.

It’s not often that we get the opportunity to beat the odds, and I would be so very grateful to take this opportunity that I worked so very hard for and do some good with it.

It’s not easy to ask for help!!! But it comes down to this: I would rather be giving thanks to those who helped me become something and paying it forward to those in need, than giving up now.

 So, from my heart, I am THANKING YOU for supporting me!

***To help get the word out please share on your FB timeline, your Instagram, your twitter! ***


What about the other years of tuition? It seems fairest to only ask for what I urgently need right now to meet my timing requirements for attendance in the fall. Certainly if there was someone with the resources to help in a greater way, I would have a bigger debt of gratitude to pay forward.

What about other scholarships? There are very few scholarships that I can qualify for as a foreign student, other than the one I was granted by NYU. Of course I will put the effort into applying to any I can find, but most of the amounts are quite small; a few hundred dollars here and there, and certainly won’t enable me to get my paperwork in time. Any amount I can reduce my need would be applied to future tuition, with any excess going to a favoured cause that provides medical assistance to the underprivileged or protects the environment (#savethebees).

Donations (0)

  • Catherine Holliss 
    • $100 
    • 6 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $300 
    • 6 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $300 
    • 6 mos
  • Jason Swanton 
    • $50 
    • 6 mos
  • Fred Holliss 
    • $150 
    • 6 mos
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Fundraising team: Tess's Fam Jam (8)

Erin Elizabeth Butler 
Raised $650 from 4 donations
Calgary, AB
Tess McCormick 
Douglas McCormick 
Team member
Raised $350 from 2 donations
Dara Sutton 
Team member
Fred Holliss 
Team member
Kristen Butler 
Team member
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