A teenager from one of the most deprived areas in Glasgow has found a place at two of her dream universities in America and wants to encourage more young working class people to pursue high goals.
Rachel Macrae, 17, had always longed to study in the United States and was overjoyed when her hard work paid off and she received offers from several universities to study forensics.
She can now choose between Pace University in New York and the University of Tampa in Florida.
On the subject of matching items
On the subject of matching items
She said, “I always had a rough list of my top universities and my first two admissions are two of the universities that were definitely on that list.
“New York and Florida are both places that offer a lot of opportunities after graduation if I decide to continue my career there.”
The Lochend Community High School student from Easterhouse said that many people with similar backgrounds feel that their options are limited.
Rachel said young people may feel “discouraged” by the judgment many receive about the school they attend and that she is determined to change that perception.
She said, “I want to prove to myself and other young people from the East that you can still achieve your dreams no matter how much things cost, no matter what your family circumstances or where you are from.
(Image: Rachel Macrae)
“Easterhouse is, of course, an extremely deprived area in Scotland and there aren’t many people who believe they will be able to pursue such a big cause.
“People who also come from schools in these deprived areas are usually disappointed with how other people perceive them and their school.
“Lochend is considered a bad school by a lot of people, but it is actually a really great school that offers so much support for students with anything they want to pursue in their lives and there is always more support there when you need it .
“I would say that it is very important to pursue what you really want to do and that you don’t need to be discouraged because of the area you live in or the school you go to.”
In addition to economic barriers, Rachel’s chosen field of forensics by women is still severely underrepresented.
She said, “STEM subjects are very male-dominated areas, so I want to encourage other women who are interested in STEM subjects to advance their goals.”
Rachel said learning across the Atlantic has been a dream since childhood.
“Studying in America was something I’ve talked about since I was very young,” she said.
“I’ve always loved the idea of being independent, and going to America would certainly help me become more and more independent over time.”
She added, “The forensics courses in America are exactly what I have been looking for throughout my career, which is one of the reasons that led me to pursue my dream of studying there.”
Rachel said the application process was daunting and intimidating, but her teachers supported her every step of the way.
She said, “The mental block you face when you apply to these universities is the biggest challenge in my opinion.
“The application process can be very confusing and intimidating, and the exam you take before you apply can also be very intimidating as it feels like your future depends on an exam.
“It’s actually not the case, but the biggest challenge is getting over the block of thinking about the thousands of others applying for the same position as you who may have achieved better results.
“I am very grateful for my school and the support I have received up to this point in my trip.”
She added, “I hope people can see from this that you don’t have to come from big, fancy areas of the country to pursue a dream like studying abroad.
“I think it’s so important that people not be prevented from pursuing their dreams just because of their background.”
Rachel started a Go Fund Me page to help cover the high tuition fees for her course.
She said, “Everyone was so helpful and I couldn’t be more grateful.”
One supporter said, “I love hearing stories like this, and I hope you realize your dream of going to America. Your family must be really proud of you.”
Another added: “I am so inspired by your kindness and determination. Good luck, I hope you achieve your goal. “
You can view the Go Fund Me page here.