When Getting In is the Hardest Part

by

I had heard that the education system in United States is the most advanced in the world. Everything runs systematically.

I logged onto Boise State's Web site on February 2, 2009. I was lost when I opened the home page. “Broncoweb” was the first link icon I followed. I wasn't able to move ahead any more because I didn't see any spot where I could look for admission information. I called one friend who has been a student in Boise State since 2008. He suggested I go to the university and talk with someone from the admissions section.

I was overwhelmed. How would I approach this? How should I tell them about my educational background? How to tell them about my status as a permanent resident of Idaho? With all this in mind I went to the university.

It is a big compound. When I went inside the admission building I saw only native Idahoans standing in the queue for admission. That made me more nervous. Because they were doing admissions online and they were also encountering problems. I looked around to find someone there to help. But I didn't see anybody. I saw some people applying for admission online and I figured out that getting admitted online was vague and hard for me; I had never done admission online any time in my life. I didn't know that there were some people available to help with the process. So I left the queue and came home without doing anything. Now I was frustrated.

My mind started pinching me. “Why am I afraid to ask someone for help?” Again I called my friend. He repeated his first suggestion. The next day, with full courage to ask for help and get my admission done, I went to the university. As I entered I asked one guy, “Where can I go for having my admission?” He showed me the door. I entered, and then I found that I had been in the wrong spot before. The room I had been in yesterday was for applying for FAFSA (federal assistance).

One person was standing next to me with a Boise State badge hanging on his neck. “Excuse me sir, I want to do my admission online.” He then showed me the way to apply for admission. Actually, I was supposed to have my Social Security Number, Employment Authorization Card number, date of birth of my parents and tax return form. I wasn't aware that I needed those documents for admission. He told me about the tax return form. I was lost. What is a tax return form? I felt embarrassed to ask my helper the meaning. So without having any steps done for admission I returned home that day.

After some days I called my refugee agency, the IRC (International Rescue Committee), and talked with my job developer. He explained to me about tax returns. By then I already had received my application for tax returns. But I hadn't known about the importance of that application. I was about to trash it. Instead, I went to H & R block and filled out the form for my tax return. With all the documents needed, I went to the university the next day and had my admission done for $40.

I was so excited. I came home and told my parents about my enrollment at BSU. They were so happy. I called my friends all over the U.S. By that time only a few Bhutanese had entered school here. I showed my friends the way to do admission at the university. Some of my friends couldn't believe me because they were not sure that an immigrant with an I-94 is allowed admission to a university. Anyhow, I got admitted.

After some days I received a letter in my mailbox. I was supposed to show my certificates and transcripts from my country. I showed them all and they told me that they were going to verify my transcript and all those documents to make sure that they were legal and original ones.

Although I was in a bachelors program in my second year in Nepal, I didn't try for any credit transfers. I thought the subjects would be very difficult here. Actually it isn't too difficult. I was majoring in computer science while in my country but here I am planning to go to medical school. This is another reason why I didn't apply for credit transfer.

For me, being a first generation student, schooling in America is challenging (especially at the time of admission). However I learned a good lesson: “Try and try until we die.” We will definitely make it. I faced and overcome this challenge. Now it might be your turn. Be prepared.