When Rashan Prailow graduated from high school, he was not among the top students in his class and did not think college was in his future plans. However, one year after he graduated from high school, Rashan set out to earn his associate degree. He encountered some isolating challenges as a commuting student and lost focus when cost became an issue. Rashan left and began to work on home remodeling for his uncle’s business. Although he was earning wages, Rashan didn’t see himself working in the field long-term. Two years later, largely motivated by the success of his cousin who attended Camden County College and went on to attend New Jersey’s private Drew University, Rashan registered at Camden County College to pursue his education.
“When you grow up in an impoverished area, there aren’t a lot of mentors or opportunities. My cousin was a good example of showing me that education could change my life for the better and I bought into the concept. I knew I needed to get more involved in my education in order to move on and create a better life for myself. My second stint at Camden County College was a lot different. I was more mature, focused, and determined to maximize on the opportunities that community colleges offer, which are often overlooked.
I excelled and was admitted to every school that I applied to including Drew University, Rutgers Business School and the Lebow College of Business at Drexel University. I believe it was fate that let me to attend Penn. I was not even aware of the College of Liberal and Professional Studies until two weeks before my last semester. Recruiters from the College of Liberal and Professional Studies had set up a table at school and I went over. Recruiter Evangelyn Diaz made me believe Penn was the right choice for me.
Having the opportunity to attend Penn is the opportunity of a lifetime and I now think differently about myself and what is ahead for me.
I am taking advantage of all that Penn offers. When the corporate recruiters came to campus looking for summer interns, I went to meet with them. I applied, completed the application process and was able to land multiple interviews. Right now, I am being recruited by Capitol One, American Express and M&T Bank for their summer internship programs. I am optimistic that I will land one of them. I am also working full-time and studying with the Penn in Washington, D.C. program for the fall 2015 semester.
With the many different campus resources, I’ve also been able to give back. The Black Wharton Undergraduate Association performs community service work and we reached out to middle school students from West Philadelphia. We taught them the basics of managing their money, how to open a checking account and be financially responsible. And through the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization, for the past two years, I have been mentoring a fifth-grade student named Andrew at Our Mother of Sorrows elementary school on North 48th Street.
My educational journey has been non-linear but very great. I know I want to continue on to graduate school. For those who might apply to the College of Liberal and Professional Studies, forget that you are a non-traditional student. I am 25. Put your education first and look to the future.”