First Gen Silvana Vasquez to Attend Harvard After 30+ College Acceptances

First-gen student Silvana Vasquez was accepted to 32 universities including Ivy League Harvard

silvana vasquez

Photo: Instagram/@silvanaaaaa_101

Latinas in higher education are thriving! With growing trends of Latina enrollment in post-secondary education and more Latina pursuing degrees in law and medical fields, the representation of Latinas in universities continues to grow each year. In the midst of grad season we are celebrating Latinas making the transition from high school to college and those moving on from their undergraduate career. One Latina in particular, Silvana Vasquez, this year’s valedictorian from San Gorgonio High School in San Bernardino, California, roughly 60 miles east of Los Angeles, has made waves recently after being accepted into over 30 universities. The Inland Empire native of Mexican descent will attend Harvard University on a full-ride scholarship. Vasquez has overcome struggles in her academic career so far including a language barrier, entering kindergarten not knowing English and underperforming in state exams by fifth grade.

“What I believe got me into Harvard was my passion to serve my community. What I wore in the short essays to Harvard was how passionate I am to be able to serve and represent the impoverished communities of San Bernardino and my school,” Vasquez tells CBS News.

Despite the struggles she faced, with the support of her parents she was able to excel, graduating with a 4.87 GPA that drove her to the top of her class. Coming from an underserved community, she hopes to use her education and future career as a lawyer to support and advocate for other BIPOC communities.  

In high school, Vasquez was involved in multiple extracurricular activities including cross country and formed part of the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program. Since the fifth grade, Vasquez had dreamed of attending Harvard, one of the most prestigious universities in the nation, and when application season came around she submitted 41 applications overall and was accepted to 32. Among the universities she applied to were the University of Pennsylvania, UCLA, and Georgetown University.

She credits her parents, a stay-at-home mom and gas worker dad, with the support to able to achieve this level of success. She told ABC News that her mom would wake up at 5 a.m. to take her to school and practice and her dad would wake up at 4 a.m. and return home as late as 5 p.m. Now she’s the first in her family to attend college and she credits their sacrifices.

“I will say there were moments when I got really distracted with social media, as well as comparing myself with others which really brought me down a lot,” Vazquez told ABC News. “One thing that helped me stay focused is knowing if I feel confident in what I’m doing, and I feel like I’ll make my parents proud – that was motivation enough for me, as well as discipline.

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