“It’s an opportunity I wouldn’t have had elsewhere.”

Celebrating Pablo's Success In and Outside the Classroom

Pablo Valencia Garcia is a first-generation college student who will be graduating from NIU’s Athletic Training Program in May 2020.

We asked Pablo why he transferred to NIU, how we contributed to his success and why others should transfer to NIU, too.

Pablo Valencia Garcia

Why did you transfer to NIU?

I chose to attend NIU for many reasons, but mainly because NIU could provide me with experiences that my community college could not. I transferred from the College of Lake County, where a majority of the students were like me — commuters who would go to class and then go to work. There was never time to actually get to know the school, the faculty or my classmates. At NIU, I actually have had the college experience. I have met new people, enjoyed the campus and experienced many new things.

Pablo receiving Forward, Together Forward Scholarship

Pablo with his family when receiving
Forward, Together Forward Scholarship.

What was your biggest concern transferring to NIU from another school and how did NIU help?

Even though NIU was an affordable and realistic option for my family and me, one of my biggest concerns about transferring here was how I was going pay for it. I didn’t qualify for financial aid, but NIU offered several institutional scholarship opportunities through MyScholarships. The most beneficial scholarship I earned was the Forward, Together Forward Scholarship. Receiving this award was not only financially beneficial, but also motivational. I am inspired to pay it forward and hope to help fund another student’s college experience in the future.

Why should other students transfer to NIU?

Other students should transfer to NIU because of the access to resources and the caring faculty and staff. The resources I’ve received from NIU made the process of adjusting to campus life more smooth than difficult. Sandy Lopez, NIU’s coordinator for Undocumented Student Support, was the first person I contacted and met at NIU. From day one, she helped me be successful and provided me with every possible resource available. As I approach graduation, I’m incredibly grateful for her commitment to giving me every opportunity to succeed.

Pablo at DREAM Action event

Pablo speaking at Dream Action event

What has NIU done for you?

NIU has provided me with a many opportunities to sharpen my leadership skills and give back to the community. I have been involved with several student organizations including the Student Government Association, Huskie Service Scholars and the Northern Illinois Athletic Training Student Association. In addition, an organization that I found to be most impactful was Dream Action NIU, which I had the privilege to serve as its president. This student-led organization advocates for undocumented students on campus and for undocumented members of the broader community. Serving as a leader in this organization really enhanced my professional skills by providing me with the opportunity to work alongside NIU faculty and administration, and local and state public officials. It’s an opportunity that I wouldn’t have had elsewhere.

Scholarships for Transfer Students

When you apply for admission as a transfer student, you’ll automatically be considered for a transfer merit scholarship.

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