Shenouda Ayad '11
LaGuardia Community College ASAP Fall '11
City College '14
ASAP Outreach Leader Employee, Department of Information Technology and Telecommunication (311)
I was born and raised in Egypt. When I moved to the United States, I was almost 18 years old and I had already completed high school. My family consists of my parents, two brothers and I. My father works at school and my mom was a housewife. Even though my father was the only source of income, my parents were very careful to have me go to school and excel. My parents have never gone to college. However, they always stressed the importance of school and going to college and graduating with a college degree. My father promised my brothers and me that he would spend all his money to help us receive the proper education. I am so appreciative and thankful for my parents.
My experience as an ASAP student has changed how I see my future. ASAP helped me earn my associate degree in business administration at LaGuardia Community College, with outstanding results. I was admitted to ASAP in the Fall semester of 2009 as a Cohort 2 student. The program offered me many financial benefits that removed some of the challenges that most community college students may face. First of all, ASAP provided me with a monthly MetroCard throughout that time I was a student at LaGuardia. Additionally, as an ASAP student I was able to get a textbook voucher every semester. With this voucher, I could go to the school’s bookstore and purchase the textbooks by my professors. ASAP would also have covered any tuition gap if I had not received full financial aid. Given all this financial assistance that the program granted me, I was emotionally less stressed and more focused on school. I did not have to work so many hours to afford school expenses. Because of ASAP, I had more time to study, which helped me excel in most of my classes. Unlike a lot of students who take out loans to go to school, I did not have to take any loans. Finally, with all these financial benefits that the program offered me, I was able to achieve high grades so I could be one of the top students in the program.
Having a special ASAP advisor was a prime factor in helping me succeed. Although LaGuardia has a special office of advisors to counsel students before registering for classes, ASAP has its own set of advisors that are designated to counsel ASAP students only. Even though students might be more attracted to the program because of its financial benefits, having an ASAP advisor was much more vital in my journey to success. Undoubtedly, money is an important aspect in college. However, there are so many students who come to college and have no financial needs, and they still fail or drop out of college. Having the proper academic and personal guidance from experts can be a key factor in making a student succeed in college. Throughout the time that I was in LaGuardia and ASAP, I was able to build a personal relationship with my advisor, who was very concerned about my academic and career growth. As an ASAP student, I was required to meet with my advisor at least twice a month. For me, it was not merely a requirement to meet because every time I went to my advisor, I learned something that I had not known before. Besides going to my advisor for registration counseling, I also used my advisor for guidance in resolving issues that I encountered when I was at LaGuardia. My advisor also helped me become familiar with and become able to navigate through the resources that the college offered when I was in my freshman year. (For example, my advisor always kept me up to date on deadlines regarding Financial Aid and applicable scholarships.)
Because of ASAP, I became very active in student life at LaGuardia. ASAP encouraged me to take advantage of many resources that were offered. For example, the program always stressed the idea of going to the Tutoring Center and benefiting from it. Going to the Tutoring Center regularly helped me develop my reading, writing and math skills. Additionally, every semester, we had to attend special seminars that addressed different concerns or key points for student success. I went to the seminars every week and they helped me become more familiar with the existence of the facilities and resources on campus. The seminars also helped me academically by introducing new study, time management and job search techniques.
Being very involved in school and ASAP activities led to an opportunity to work as an ASAP Outreach Leader. In my last semester at LaGuardia, I received an email from the Assistant Director of ASAP offering me the opportunity to be interviewed for this position. My job is to go visit high schools in New York City with an ASAP Specialist and inform students about the benefits they are eligible for if they are accepted into ASAP. Throughout the sessions, I speak directly to the students and tell them how the program helped me personally, as well as the number of students who were able to graduate within a three year period. Even though it is a part-time job, it helps me develop a lot of skills necessary for my career and my academic growth. By going to high schools and talking to students face to face, I was able to develop my public speaking and communication skills. Additionally, having this job has helped me become more professional in my appearance and interactions with people. This is just one way that having the support of this very special program has opened up many opportunities that I would not have known if I was not part of it.