Cielo Villa’s nonprofit, the Road to Uni Foundation, aims to demystify the college application process for high school students.
“The underlying mission statement for Road to Uni is to break down the walls of information for everyone, because it shouldn't have to be difficult to get information, and resources, advice, and questions answered, right, for any students applying to college,” Villa said.
Cielo’s drive to help students stems from her own educational success. Having been a Leadership Enterprise For A Diverse America (LEDA) scholar, she questioned whether she would have been able to find success if she didn’t have access to the resources and information she had.
“Luck just shouldn't be in the equation when it comes to success,” she said.
The Road to Uni Foundation offers high schoolers free tools and resources as a guide through their application process.
“We have basically a free platform, a free membership that anyone can join, similar to Khan Academy. And when you go in, you can watch all the videos that we have regarding the college admissions process,” Cielo said. “We try to answer every single question, that is the basic questions that students have about FAFSA, financial aid, about teacher recommendations, how to search for colleges and so on and so forth.”
And while she is keenly aware of the daunting college application process, Cielo advises students to have faith in themselves and their unique story.
“Just take it one step at a time because overwhelming yourself does nothing, literally, it just stops you in your tracks. So just take it easy and you'll get there. Trust in yourself, believe in yourself,” she said.
Watch the full episode of Made In America here.