Student Spotlight: Lineth

Name: Lineth M. 

BLCI Chula Vista Program Participant 

Intended Major: Political Science, Minor in Philosophy and Linguistics  

BLCI: At what grade did you start coming to BLCI-CV? 

Lineth: I started in 3rd grade. 

BLCI: Do you have a favorite memory or activity from your time at BLCI-CV? 

Lineth: The field trips were my favorite part. Being able to experience, for just a day, the atmosphere at certain colleges opened up my world. My favorite memories were eating tortellini at UC Irvine and eating at USC’s dining hall, they were nice breaks during the trips. Visiting USC was my favorite trip, the buildings were beautiful, unlike anything I had ever witnessed before and being able to look at these colleges myself helped me decide where to apply. It can be hard deciding if you feel like you would be a good fit on campus, having to decide where to apply, but having these trips made my choices much easier! 

BLCI: What was some of the best advice you have been given at BLCI-CV? 

Lineth: It was on the wall of a BLCI building that read, “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you land among the stars”. I took it to heart, I wanted to try the best that I could with everything I pursued to get into my dream school, but even if I didn’t I would most likely still attend a great institution.  

BLCI: What have you learned from your time at BLCI-CV to help prepare you for college? 

Lineth: I learned about the admissions process, more about holistic reviews which I think helped me orient myself and my goals for my application much sooner than others. I learned about early action programs, what CSUs and UCs prepare you for so I can make more informed choices about the kind of school I would like to attend.  

BLCI: What are some of the challenges you had to overcome in order to be the first person in your family to enroll in college?  

Lineth: I needed to make sure that I was on top of my work whenever I had any. I knew I needed to start early to adopt a great work ethic because I needed to establish the person I wanted to become as early as I could. I felt like I owed it to my family and myself to put in the work every day and make my community proud. I wanted to prove to others that it was possible to achieve great things even when you were, societally speaking, at the bottom of the pyramid. The biggest obstacle I faced was deciding that I wanted to amount to something and that all the effort was worth it, every single day. It’s so easy to just give up one day, but I had to make the conscious decision every day that I wanted to be better, the best I could be. 

BLCI: What colleges did you apply to and what is your top choice and why? 

Lineth: I applied to a wide variety of schools, about 30 schools altogether, most were Questbridge partners, so my fees were waived. Some of the schools I applied to include Yale, Princeton, Brown, Columbia, Stanford, UPenn, USC, Johns Hopkins, Emory, Rice, UChicago, Barnard, Pomona, Tufts, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Irvine, SDSU, Cal Poly SLO, and many others. My top choice has been Yale since around 3rd or 4th grade, I always felt really drawn to the school, it was always just a dream school to me, a school I never thought I would actually get into but would like to imagine I would. At that point in my life, I just knew it was a great school and I wanted to be surrounded by the best of the best. It wasn’t until my Freshman year that I became more serious about wanting to attend Yale when I realized I loved Political Science and Yale was the best school for it. I ranked Yale as my top choice for the Questbridge Match, which, after not matching, I was pretty disheartened, but remembered there was still a slight chance I could get in. I then switched to Early Decision for UPenn, since Yale didn’t have that option following not matching. When I got rejected from UPenn, I thought all my chances of getting into an Ivy were over and I would be glad to attend some other school. Yale moved lower down in my college list and for a while, Princeton became my top contender. After all, I had my interview with them, which I felt went much better than my Yale interview. Almost exactly a week ago, I received a call from my Yale admissions officer. I received a Likely Letter! My heart dropped, because I had essentially, unofficially, been granted admission to Yale. I got into my dream school, the school I had been dreaming about since 3rd grade – how many people get to say that? 

BLCI: You were recently named Valedictorian of your high school class. How does this make you feel?  

Lineth: I’m glad that all my hard work paid off and is acknowledged. I wasn’t always number 1, I was tied with many at number 2 by the end of freshman year, so I knew I was going to have to work harder than everyone else. I knew one thing for sure, I wanted it the most so I was going to do everything I could to beat whoever was number one. Sure enough, by the end of my junior year I had secured my spot. Most people never see the work that comes with being valedictorian; the hours of homework, trying to balance sports and run clubs, only to come home and have virtually no time to myself because I have deadlines, going to sleep almost every night past midnight, staying up as late as 1:30 AM and then waking up at around 5 or 6. I was exhausted and sleep deprived throughout my years at high school because I wanted this so badly, so I am ecstatic that I was able to achieve what I had set my four year effort towards. I feel like I showed others it was possible with great sacrifice.  

BLCI: You are also a Gates Scholarship semifinalist which is another incredible achievement. How would this recognition and having your tuition covered help you as you prepare to transition to life as a college student? 

Lineth: Getting a full ride would be life changing. If I can get a full ride for the rest of my education (which I intend to pursue extensively) I won’t have stress about paying for college while trying to look for a job to feed myself. If I get a full ride, I still intend on getting a work study so I can spend my years saving up to get a house or car or something to help establish myself as an adult when I graduate. It would be great if I didn’t have to burden others with my debt which is why a full ride would be life changing. 

BLCI: If you could give advice to the next group of incoming BLCI 3rd graders, what would you say?  

Lineth: Shoot for the moon, and even if you miss, you land among the stars – it was the best advice I got, and it was a mentality that got me places. It is important that you adopt good habits early and while it may seem a long way away, your efforts will be recognized, and they will take you far. It may not always be easy, but you need to clearly envision your goals and it’s okay if your goals change over time or you’re unsure what they are as long as you stay true to yourself and pursue what makes you happy. Passion and genuine interest are what gets you far in life. 

Support students like Lineth when you donate to BLCI and help make the College and Career Readiness Program available for future generations of young learners eager to succeed. 

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