This Is What Success Looks Like

Percy Julian student goes from poor grades to a full ride

Percy L. Julian grad Sabrina Ferrer will be heading to the University of Richmond in the fall on a full-ride scholarship.

It’s not about where you start. It’s about where you end up. Percy L. Julian High School senior Sabrina Ferrer is living proof of that.

After previously attending Quincy Senior High School in Quincy, IL, Ferrer transferred to Julian in the middle of her sophomore year due to “living situations.” Obstacles such as depression, anxiety, and the tension that comes with transferring schools, contributed to the decline of Ferrer grades. Her GPA was at nearly 2.0 when she knew she had to do something to turn things around.

“I’ve always been a person that had really high grades like straight A’s, A’s and B’s, so when I [saw] my grades from freshman year, I was devastated,” said Ferrer.

After transferring to Julian, she was able to get back on track and improve her grades over the rest of her high school career. Going to college has always been a goal for hers and she knew she needed a higher GPA to get into the schools she wanted to apply to.

“Sophomore year, I just did what I could do,” said Ferrer. “My junior year when they offered me AP classes, I took those as a step to boost my GPA.”

Being the oldest of five and living in a single-parent household, Ferrer also saw the obstacles that came from her mother not attending college and wanted to do things differently for herself.

“My mom actually dropped out of high school when she had me, so I feel like that’s always been a motivator. Just to do better than my mom, but also for my own personal benefit,” said Ferrer.

After lots of hard work and effort put into improving her grades, Ferrer went forth with applying to colleges with schools like the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago, and Washington University in mind. She also applied to the University of Richmond as a “safety net” in case the other schools didn’t accept her. She ended up being accepted to the University of Richmond on a full-ride scholarship.

“When I was doing the essays for [Richmond], I didn’t really know what to put,” said Ferrer. “I didn’t expect to get into Richmond.”

Ferrer will be attending Richmond as a biology major in the fall.

“I really fancy science a lot. I find the human body very fascinating,” she said.

To those who may see themselves in the same situation as Ferrer, don’t lose hope. There’s always time to turn your circumstance around.

“Make the best of the situation you have,” said Ferrer. “Your GPA doesn’t define you. Don’t let that weigh you down.”

Good advice from someone who knows.


By Cierra Lemott, Junior, Columbia College Chicago

Instagram: @cece.kodak / @kodakscamera

Written by Cierra Lemott

I'm a professional procrastinator and my hobbies include sleeping, eating, and Netflix binging.

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