Transfer Program Allows Graduate to Achieve Dream of Attending UCLA
Cassidy Henry wanted to attend the University of California at Los Angeles since she was a 13-year-old growing up in Pennsylvania.
Born in Ransom, a dwindling manufacturing town, Henry’s dream was put on temporary hiatus as a high school senior after being admitted to every UC campus she applied to — except the one that mattered most to her.
“I knew I wanted to go there for a long time, but I was an out-of-state student and we didn’t have a lot of money,” Henry said about UCLA.
Unwilling to give up, Henry decided to enroll at College of the Canyons in 2013 after researching her academic options and living situations online.
A key reason why Henry chose COC was the UCLA Transfer Alliance Program (TAP).
Through TAP, community college faculty and counselors help students create education plans that fulfill UCLA admissions criteria. TAP also provides other meaningful linkages to UCLA, such as on-campus informational meetings and tours, library privileges, and other UCLA cultural and athletic events.
Seeing a clear path to achieving her dream, an 18-year-old Henry headed west on her own.
“My parents were rooting for me to get out and be someone, but they were a little nervous about me moving across the country by myself. Still, they understood the opportunities in California.”
After two years of hard work, perseverance, and faith in her academic direction, Henry’s dream has finally come full circle. Now 20, she is Westwood-bound as a confident incoming transfer student at UCLA.
“Cassidy is a special person with an incredibly strong work ethic,” said Patty Robinson, dean of the social science and business division and acting coordinator of COC Honors. “Her story of what she did to get here and how persistent she’s been is remarkable.”
Henry worked with Robinson for TAP, as well as the Honors Program. Henry also served as an officer for the COC Honors Club, working with adviser Lisa Malley since shortly after she came to the college. She also served as a member of the Honors Steering Committee during her final year at COC.
When she goes to UCLA, Henry will be a double major in linguistics and computer science, and Russian language and literature.
In fact, it was UCLA’s Russian Flagship program, which enables students to achieve professional-level competence in Russian through studies both domestic and abroad, that first attracted Henry to becoming a Bruin. She studied abroad in Russia on the U.S. Department of State's NSLI-Y program in 2012.
Henry credits the resources available at COC with making her dream a reality. In addition to TAP, the help she received from the Financial Aid Office was critical to her success.
By working closely with the staff to secure Pell Grants and loans, Henry completed her coursework and was able to cover her living expenses.
As she leaves COC for UCLA, Henry says it’s the beginning of much more than a new chapter in her academic career.
“The opportunities here are just so different than at home – it seems like everyone you meet from that area who left was poor and is leaving to go somewhere else,” Henry said.
“I didn’t just move to go to school here, I see myself starting a life as well.”