Ariana Cobb

18 Sep 2023

Growing up, I always attended the top-rated public schools in my area. While attending these magnet schools did an incredible job shaping me into the perfect scholarship candidate academically, I always struggled with my identity being one of the few African American girls in school. After four rigorous years of high school at Stanton College Preparatory, I am a graduating senior in the International Baccalaureate Program. After taking a number of Advanced Placement college courses through the College Board, I was awarded the AP Scholar with Distinction award for passing my AP exams. After taking Chinese as a second language for 6 years, I am currently completing my application for the Seal of Biliteracy on my high school diploma. In my community, I have established deep roots in community service by volunteering with organizations like the Families of Slain Children and tutoring at local elementary schools. Yes, on paper I lived the fairy tale story of high school. And while I did benefit greatly from my education at magnet schools, I still sat through the awkward stares from classmates during the slavery lecture. I still was forced to change my topics of papers because they were too controversial. I was forced to sit by and watch my governor ban the AP African American Studies course after the Black Student Union and I worked so hard to include the class into Stanton’s course list. When deciding on schools for college, I decided I was done compromising my culture and identity for educational purposes. That drove me to my desire to attend a Historically black college or university.

I plan to use the educational support provided to me by the Citadel Church to fund my undergraduate studies at Spelman University. Being that it is a private HBCU, the tuition is higher than what my family can afford and scholarships are scarce due to the underfunding of HBCUs nationwide. Nearly one in five adults in America is carrying some amount of student debt. While we are taught repeatedly in school and by mentors to stay debt free, I’ve come to realize it is easier said than done. With the price of college being at an all-time high, it is becoming more and more difficult. It is my dream to attend Spelman University, it is my dream to be embraced as more than just a percentage in a diversity chart. I deserve this scholarship because I have done the hard work and overcame the hurdle of being only a second-generation college student in my family, but in today’s economy, I just need the help financially to make the change I know I will make in the future.

Last year Spelman University was rated as the #1 HBCU in the nation. After visiting the campus in Atlanta, I knew it was somewhere I wanted to be. Never have I sat in a classroom, surrounded by classmates who looked like me and understood what it meant to be black in America. Spelman is an allgirl HBCU in Atlanta dedicated to creating strong black women, ready to take over the workforce. This winter, I was accepted into the Spelman class of 2027. I plan to attend Spelman University for my undergraduate study where I can prioritize my education and embrace my African American culture simultaneously. I plan to use the skills I obtain attending Spelman to catapult me into being one of the top scholars in the workforce. After graduating from Spelman, I plan to attend Columbia University’s law school. After attending Columbia law, I will ace my bar and become the first lawyer in my family. I will become a civil defense lawyer and dedicate my pro-Bono work to helping fight the injustices for minorities in the U.S. justice system. I know I will be successful, I have to be. No matter what, my fearlessness and drive will take me to new heights that I could never imagine. I want to break barriers so that down the line the next girl that looks like me sitting in a magnet school classroom can know she can do it too.

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