Hostos Community College ASAP '14
My name is Terry Echie. I was born in Ghana, in the western part of Africa. I grew up with my sisters and my mother, a single mom. My mother instilled in me the desire to be serious about my education, and her teachings led me to be accepted into the most prominent high school in Ghana. Excited, I started Prempeh College High School in 2008 but could not graduate because I had to leave my country and move to the United States. I arrived in New York City and went to live with one of my sisters—also a single mom.
I was enrolled in the Felisa Rincon de Gautier Institute for Law and Public Policy as a 10th grader. When I started attending school I realized how difficult it was for me because a language barrier and cultural differences held me back. Although I spoke English, I could not express myself appropriately in the language and it was very hard to socialize. As time went on I got used to it and eventually started to mingle with my classmates. During my senior year, I received the “most intelligent male” award. Receiving this award made me feel accomplished because even though I had many challenges as a new student from another country, I did not waiver in my desire to study hard and strive for excellence.
As I researched my higher education options, I met with my guidance counselor to discuss college opportunities. He told me about CUNY and SUNY. I spoke to my sister and we both realized I could not afford the tuition charged by SUNY colleges, so I decided to enroll in CUNY. After I applied to CUNY, I received many acceptance letters but chose to start at Hostos Community College as an accounting major. Shortly after, I received an email from the ASAP program—an invitation to apply. I did not blink and submitted my application. Within weeks I received a telephone call from the ASAP office inviting me to attend an information session. I attended the information session and realized this was an opportunity I could not accord to miss. All the academic support, the dedicated resources, and the financial benefits baffled me in the beginning. I wondered, “What could be the catch?” Then I realized I was joining one of the most successful programs and could not wait to start. I submitted all the necessary paperwork and was accepted into the program.
Joining the ASAP program was one of the best decisions I have made. My biggest fear after graduating from high school was identifying my interests, my major, and which courses I needed to choose. My ASAP advisor and the Career Employment Specialist worked with me and I can say that I could not have found an easier way to overcome my fears. Becoming an ASAP student is one of the best things that has happened in my life. Given my financial situation, receiving a monthly MetroCards and the free use of the textbooks are benefits I could not do without. College is expensive and without the support from this program I could not be completing my courses without financial worries. Financial barriers keep people away from college. I feel I am one of the lucky ones to have found ASAP: through this program I have been able to excel academically and become aware of the special scholarship programs available to high-performing students. As I move further in my educational plan I realize what a great opportunity I have been given by the ASAP program. Call me selfish if you want, but I plan to take advantage of the ASAP program to the fullest!