Ann-Marie Brown, A Jamaican Student Studying Abroad Seeks Help Paying for College

Jamaican student Ann-Marie Brown is seeking a chance to ease the financial burden she's had to bear in pursuing higher education. She has launched a GoFundMe and shares her story below.
Jamaican student Ann-Marie Brown is seeking a chance to ease the financial burden she’s had to bear in pursuing higher education. She has launched a GoFundMe and shares her story below.

Jamaican student Ann-Marie Brown is seeking a chance to ease the financial burden she’s had to bear in pursuing higher education. She has launched a GoFundMe and shares her story below.

Have you ever been in a situation where you have done all you possibly can but it is just not enough? Or have you ever been in a circumstance where every possible route you take has a roadblock, and with every setback you feel the frustration rising to overwhelm you? Every failed attempt pushes you closer to the edge of giving up.

Drained from you are the enthusiasm, determination, and endless possibilities that were once overflowing within you. You are but a shell of would have, could have, and should have.

That was how I felt each time I met with disappointment in this college process. I started my journey from a very early age, where I knew and acknowledged the value of my father’s hard-earned money that he chose to invest in my education. I purposed it in my heart to never waste his money. Every year, without fail, I made sure I studied and did my best to receive all the awards. From basic school to the very end of high school, I received honours and merits.

In my seven years attending Wolmer’s Trust High School for Girls I was never absent, and I received Blue Reports, honorary awards, countless certificates, A-student badges, and trophies.

In my sixth-form year I became the student council president. My main goal was to make my father proud, and I always wanted to see that pleasing smile on his face. I set my eyes on studying in the United States of America because I saw it as a great opportunity and a valuable life experience.

I was alone on the first day I decided to seek higher education abroad. As a Wolmerian, it was the norm to attend one of the two major universities in the country. I never wanted that. I wanted diversity. I wanted a strong community where I would be proud to lift my head as a first-generation college student. I was the first one in my family to attend college, let alone an American university. I was attempting an impossible feat. I never wanted to follow the masses. I wanted more. I craved excitement and a future filled with possibilities.

My family and I could not afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars it would cost just to get tutored for the SAT or the ACT so I tried it on my own. My first-attempt scores were what I had to use because the exam was expensive for an international student. I got admitted to over 12 colleges but I accepted admission to Queens College in New York. Queens College told me that I could get additional financial aid if I did another exam.

So I flew to the United States to take the test, ensuring I scored exceptionally well. Even the test administrator said that I had the highest grade she had ever seen in all her years.

But that turned out to be another roadblock. It turned out that the test was federal so I did not qualify for any scholarship even though I had a very high grade. Queens College did not offer any scholarships to international students, therefore I had to defer for a year to save up some funds for my tuition.

During my deferred year I discovered St John’s University. This university did offer a scholarship to international students. My first SAT scores gave me admission to the university but it was not good enough. I received only a half-tuition scholarship. My family still could not afford to pay the other half of the tuition. So, I decided to use my deferred year to focus solely on getting the highest grade possible to qualify for the presidential merit full scholarship offered by St John’s University.

I also searched the Internet for scholarships offered to international students but even in this, I always fell short. Everywhere I turned I got denied. Some of the reasons were that I was not an American citizen or a permanent resident, and I was not going to a local university in Jamaica. But I still pressed on. I clung to the hope of a better future for my family.

My year-long study was finally ending, and I would be able to sit the exam and qualify for the scholarship that I worked hard to get. But disaster struck — COVID-19. I was watching the news and realising its spread but to me, it was still far away, therefore I never thought I would be affected by it. I never realised its serious and destructive nature. I watched as it made its way across the globe and to the neighbours of my country. I was still confident that we would not be affected.

On March 12, 2020, chaos broke loose. First, it was the Government closing our borders, then the schools. I was only two days away from accomplishing my year-long goal of being able to finally sit the exam and score a higher grade to go to college. But just like that, it got snatched from me. The SATs got cancelled not once but three times after that. I tried another test, the ACT. But that too got cancelled, and I was back at where I started.

I still could not afford to go to college so I had to defer for another half-year from St John’s University. All hope seemed to be lost. But, by the blessings of God, I was able to register for the spring 2021 semester because my parents gave me the last of their life savings to pay the first part of the monthly payment plan. I did not see the rest of the payment money but I knew that God would take me through to the end. If He got me in college, I know He will get me through college.

God has been good to me, and I undoubtedly cannot complain. I finished two semesters with straight As, having a 4.0 GPA. My spring 2022 semester has just started. God provided up until now, but I still need help. I have three more years to go before college finishes; that is why I started a GoFundMe page with the hopes of getting donations to help with each semester.

I would very much appreciate it if you donated to my cause, and if you cannot, it would be much help if you shared my story. My funding page link is https://gofund.me/b3f592ba.

I am also seeking your help to spread the word and refer me to any possible individual, sponsors, scholarships, agencies, organisations, clubs, or societies that can assist an international Jamaican student like me.

If you know of any such opportunity, do not hesitate to contact me through my email at abscholar0@gmail.com.


Source: Jamaican student seeks help paying for college, as published in the Jamaica Observer’s Career and Education section on Sunday, February 16, 2022.

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Ann-Marie Brown, A Jamaican Student Studying Abroad Seeks Help Paying for College
Article Name
Ann-Marie Brown, A Jamaican Student Studying Abroad Seeks Help Paying for College
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Jamaican student Ann-Marie Brown is seeking a chance to ease the financial burden she's had to bear in pursuing higher education. She has launched a GoFundMe and shares her story below.