Freshman, Social Work Major, at UT Austin
Job: Part-time in the Office of Student Financial Services
Financial Aid & Scholarships: Scholarships, Grants, Work-study
LaShaila G. Mitchum, 19, a first-year student at The University of Texas at Austin, said she was in the sixth grade when she decided that attending college would be a necessity if she wanted to achieve her life’s dreams.
“I was going to get there by any means necessary,” LaShaila said. “School has been a passion and a place of refuge for me.”
She said that growing up in a disadvantaged household made her learn at an early age how to take care of herself while her single mother worked as a secretary.
LaShaila, whose studies focus on social work, plans to pursue a master’s degree to help her fulfill a dream of starting a non-profit organization to help low-income communities.
The thought of financing a college education worried LaShaila, who initially believed working while attending a community college was her only option. But her determination to attend college was matched by her ability to make good grades. As she neared graduation, her options expanded.
“Applying for scholarships became a part-time job for me,” LaShaila said. She visited some highly respected historically black universities before touring The University of Texas at Austin, “where the diversity and financial assistance trumped all other offers.”
Counselors helped her get scholarships, grants and work-study. She also found time for her volunteer projects, including Youth Partnership for Change, which provides empowering service opportunities for young people.
“After receiving assistance, I was able to focus more on school and becoming a more well-rounded person,” LaShaila said. “I could find work that could actually be fun and I could dictate my own schedule. Knowing that I had assistance with paying bills and things for school was a gigantic help.”