Mariajose Lara, Road to University


Zulema Martinez, Fashion Editor, Photography

Mariajose Lara Zavala, class of 2022, has been accepted to 11 universities for the upcoming fall semester. When asking how her background might have inspired her success, she remarked, “There is nothing more I desire than to make my parents proud. I am a first-generation Mexican American, born from immigrant hardworking parents. Watching them work to give me the best life they could give me has only impulsed me to work as hard as they do.” Her background has also inspired her drive and determination in school, as well as her motivation to look for new opportunities. “Growing up my parents always encouraged my academic success, however, there was a point in my academic journey where they were unable to help, with stuff like homework. So not having them to help all the time with assignments and homework, also helped me learn to ask others for help.” 

While applying for college, Mariajose expressed how she made sure to research heavily the schools she was applying to. “When choosing what schools I was applying for I considered the percentages of acceptance rates, cost, location, and academic offers.” In total, she applied to 11 schools, these included four CSUs and seven UCs. The application was a scary process for her, though, as it was for most seniors during the fall. “…the application process did seem intimidating at first, but after having time to contemplate and take the whole process step by step it suddenly became a less frightening task, of course with the help of many along the way.”

In total Mariajose got accepted to all 11 schools she applied to, which included Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Long Beach, Cal Poly Pomona, UC San Diego, UCLA, and other top schools. When asking Mariajose what her top choice was, her response was UCLA. “I knew from the beginning of this school year I wanted to go to a UC school, but frankly, my perceptions of a UC school were very limited. Regardless, I had my mindset on UCLA, and I had no idea where this idea came from…I am confident that UCLA will offer an unparalleled diversity of moments that will cement into memories that will last a lifetime. ” As of now, Mariajose is an “ an undeclared- life science major but heavily considering looking into the immunology, molecular biology, and genetics major offered at UCLA.” Ultimately Mariajose is striving to have a career as an epidemiologist or a geneticist.  

There was some advice she had for underclassmen who might be researching these schools and are interested in applying. Although “There isn’t an extracurricular activity that could guarantee admission to a university or college,” she recommends underclassmen to join clubs and activities that interest them, as there are some applications that look slightly more impressive than others. “The ultimate goal is to identify through this exploration phase a few activities that they feel most passionately about, and wish to dedicate their time and energy to and ideally take a leadership role,” she advised.