Archer-Rivera: First Generation Lute

Senior headed to Pacific Lutheran credits AVID, Murray, Stephens, and family for help

by Grace Linberg, Staff Reporter

One indisputable fact among seniors in high school is that applying to college is hard. It requires an extensive amount of work and support, especially when you are the first person in your family to attend college. 

Luckily at Shorewood, students get a plethora of resources, but it is still a difficult task.

One senior, Geovanka Archer-Rivera, is a first-generation college-bound student who heads to Pacific Lutheran University next year double majoring in Political Science and Criminal Justice, and as a recipient of the 253 College Bound Scholarship that provides free tuition due to her high GPA. Archer-Rivera said “[It’s] really difficult. I didn’t have any assistance from my parents obviously, because they technically have some college experience, but they didn’t finish so it’s not the same as the U.S. So they couldn’t help me throughout the process at all.” 

Think about all of the forms that need to be filled out, all of the wisdom from parents who have gone through the process. Although sometimes this may feel overwhelming, parental help is something that can make the process exponentially easier.

This is not to say that being a first generation college student means receiving no support from your parents, but for Archer-Rivera, it meant most of the paperwork and logistical stuff that may have been handled by a parent became her responsibility. 

“The only thing they could really help me with was the FAFSA. Everything else I did on my own, so filling out the FAFSA and all the paperwork, especially since I was already 18 I could fill out everything on my own,”  Archer-Rivera said. She said throughout that having turned 18 in September made things much easier when filling out applications.

Shorewood is in a fortunate situation with all the support that the school offers to students in their preparations for after high school but particularly to the juniors and seniors who are applying to college. In addition to PLU staff, Archer-Rivera was aided greatly by the resources that Shorewood offered. “Mr. Murray because he was my AVID teacher at the time of the process, and Ms. Stephens. They were the main supporters of my process,” she said. The AVID program is a class that is part of a larger organization that provides resources to schools that then provide those resources to students. According to the AVID website, 94 percent of people complete the first year college entry requirements.

It is a huge accomplishment for many students similar to Archer-Rivera, but she sees herself just like any other student college-bound, just with one additional obstacle.

“It honestly just means that I have a harder time with the process. I don’t think of myself as more special than anyone else. My family is still proud of me, but I feel like they react the same way as every other family,” she said.