client success stories - victor lobelo

Overview: Client Success Stories

Our Client Success Stories feature students who were accepted to their top choice colleges. In each of this year’s Client Success Stories, we will interview one student about their college admissions process and college advising they received from We’ll talk about how they decided on their college essay topics, how they chose extracurriculars for college, and how they felt about each step of the college admissions process. 

This Client Success Story features Victor Lobelo, a first-generation American and first-generation college student who grew up in Littleton, Colorado. For a first-generation college student, college advising can be a helpful part of the college admissions process. Victor got college advising from one of our top advisors to craft the strongest application possible and gain acceptance into the school of his dreams

The college admissions process can be daunting for everyone, including  first-generation American students. As you begin the college admissions process, you may wonder how to write the Common App essay, how to choose extracurriculars for college, and how to manage Ivy League admissions. At, we’re excited to help our students achieve their college dreams with targeted college advising tailored to their needs. With help from a CollegeAdvisor Admissions Expert, Victor aced the college admissions process and the Ivy League admissions process. 

Getting to know Victor!

Victor is a first-generation American and a first-generation college student. He lived in Venezuela for two years, attending first and second grade there. Since then, he’s lived in Colorado. 

Victor recently graduated from Chatfield Senior High School, where he took part in many extracurriculars for college. “I was pretty much involved in as much as one could be,” said Victor. “I played a few sports. I did tennis all four years, varsity. And then I tried out football for a year and track for a little bit. As far as sports goes [that’s] what I did.” Sports can make great extracurriculars for college resumes because they show a high level of commitment. 

What else did Victor do during high school? “Aside from that, for extracurricular activities, I was in DECA and FDLA for business clubs,” Victor recalled. “ I think those were nationwide, maybe even international clubs. And I also was in student government this past year. And I started the chess club when I was a sophomore. So those are a few things that I’ve done and then some volunteer work here and there.”

Participating in a variety of extracurriculars for college can be very helpful when it comes to the college admissions process. They can give you something to talk about on your application and show admissions officers that you’re well-rounded. We suggest you take at least one or two extracurriculars for college that you’re passionate about, like Victor did. This can help you stand out when it comes to Ivy League admissions. 

The Value of DECA & FBLA

Victor took part in two business specific extracurriculars for college. Both DECA and FBLA-PBL are nationally renowned high school business leadership organizations. DECA – Distributive Education Clubs of America – is a career organization that “prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe”. 

FBLA-PBL – Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda, Inc – “inspires and prepares students to become community-minded business leaders in a global society through relevant career preparation and leadership experiences”.

These types of extracurriculars for college show schools that you’re serious about a career in business. They can give you an advantage as you apply to business-specific programs. DECA and FBLA-PBL are also great extracurriculars for college resumes because they prepare you for the business world pre-college. This means you’ll enter college with some experience and  knowledge of the industry. 

Need some college advising on how to showcase your extracurriculars for college? Check out this article

Why did Victor join CollegeAdvisor?

College advising can be a helpful part of the college admissions process. All students can benefit – a first-generation college student, a first-generation American, and any student struggling with the college admissions process. But what attracted Victor to CollegeAdvisor specifically?

“Since I was a freshman, I knew I really wanted to get into an Ivy League school,” Victor said. “I really wanted to go [to the] top tier, whatever I could reach with my highest potential to get there.” Ivy League admissions often have the lowest acceptance rates and admissions odds, so Victor was wise to read the reviews and seek college advising. 

Being first-generation American and a first-generation college student also prompted Victor to seek college advising. “I realized I didn’t have a lot of background as far as the college application process,” Victor continued. “Neither of my parents went to school here. It was all new to me.” 

The challenge for first-generation Americans

The challenge of being a first-generation American is that your family is unlikely to have prior experience with the American collegiate system. That’s where college advising from an admission expert can help. “I had no basis for how to apply, what I had to do, what I had to send, what I had to fill out,” said Victor. “So we ultimately decided that having a college advisor and having a guide there to help throughout the process would be beneficial.” 

“We had so many questions and that’s ultimately the reason,” Victor concluded. “It was mostly because of wanting further understanding [of the college admissions process].” For a first-generation college student, the Ivy League admissions process seem especially overwhelming. That’s why specific one-on-one college advising can help. 

Who did Victor work with and how often did they meet?

Who was Victor’s college advising expert at CollegeAdvisor

“I had one adviser and it was Ryan Byrd,” said Victor. “We met frequently at first, like during the actual process we were meeting every Thursday up until I had to submit applications and sometimes more like twice or three times a week, but we would meet for about 30 minutes to an hour, working on essays and stuff like that.”

And not only was the college advising helpful, but Victor and Ryan really got along. “My experience with him, I genuinely really liked him, as a person, as an advisor,” said Victor. “We bonded over some things. We had similar interests in things like chess. And so outside of working together, we would sometimes play chess on the side. I thought it was a really good experience.” 

Ryan was always willing to help Victor with any questions related to being a first-generation college student, extracurriculars for college, Ivy League admissions, and everything else. “He always seemed pretty willing to answer questions and help and he was a really, really good guy,” Victor said. Just like all students, for a first-generation American, the college admissions process can be stressful. That’s why having tailored college advising help can really take some pressure off. 

For college advising tips about the Common App, click here

College admissions process: What was the most challenging part for Victor?

“There’s a lot that was honestly pretty challenging,” said Victor. “But I guess in my circumstances specifically, it was just the quantity of stuff that I had to do. Because I applied to a lot of schools and none of them are necessarily like short applications. So all the supplement[al] essays took a while.” A timeline can be helpful, especially in the Ivy League admissions process, when there will be lots of additional essays to keep track of. 

“Having to write like a bunch of essays and sending them all out and then sending all the score reports,” Victor recalled. “Although some of the reporting was easy, like sending transcripts, but I’d definitely say just staying on top of it and meeting all the deadlines because there [were] a bunch of them.”  

Not only were there a lot of deadlines, but Victor had a long list of schools and essays. Even for someone who isn’t a first-generation American, unfamiliar with the American higher education system, this is a lot. “There [were] a bunch of schools to apply to, a bunch of essays to write. So just making sure I did it on time,” Victor concluded. 

Staying on track

Ryan was extremely helpful at keeping Victor on track through both the Ivy League admissions process and the regular college admissions process. 

“The fact that we would have weekly meetings,” said Victor “And that I have to, you know, get some ideas down by then and I’d have that timeline set every week of, okay, I’m going to try to knock out a few essays by next meeting so we can go over them or just keeping me accountable for what I was doing.” Accountability is a key benefit of the college advising we offer. 

Not only did Ryan hold Victor accountable, but he also helped Victor stay organized. “Planning at the very beginning, we did a spreadsheet about what colleges I wanted to apply to and why, and when their deadlines were,” said Victor. “Just keeping me organized and accountable.” All of CollegeAdvisor’s college advising experts can help facilitate deadlines, supplemental essays, and other aspects of the college admissions process. If you are a first-generation American finding this aspect of the college admissions process overwhelming, don’t hesitate to get in touch.  

Where did Victor decide to apply to college?

So, with the help of Ryan’s college advising, which schools did Victor end up submitting applications for?

“In Colorado, I applied to almost every school,” Victor told us. “So CU Boulder, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado College, CSU. And University of Denver (DU), I think, but those are just like the Colorado ones.”

Which schools out-of-state did Victor apply to? Columbia, UPenn, Brown, Boston College, Duke, Rice, and several others. In total? “Close to 15, maybe, maybe. I applied to six of the Ivy Leagues. And then I applied to Stanford. I’d say about 15.” Great work, Victor!  

Victor’s College Acceptances!

college advising - victor lobelo

“I got into almost every school I applied to,” said Victor. “As far as the Ivy Leagues that I applied to, I got into Columbia, UPenn and Brown. And then not technically Ivy League, but [the] same type of schools. I got into Boston College, Duke, Rice, and also Creighton in Nebraska, which is kind of random.” 

Victor was also accepted into every school in Colorado that he applied to. And how about scholarships? “All the schools that I did get into, I was offered pretty much like full tuition, full room and board covered,” said Victor. Way to go, Victor! 

Ivy League admissions are tough on everyone, including first-generation American applicants, and first-generation college students. However, Victor aced the college admissions process and had his choice of school!

Where will Victor be in the Fall?

“As of now, I’m committed to the University of Pennsylvania and they offered a full ride scholarship,” said Victor. “But it was tricky deciding, because Columbia had offered the same, Duke had offered the same, Rice had offered the same.” 

Then why did Victor choose UPenn? “I always had a feeling,” Victor said. “It wasn’t necessarily my dream school growing up. I did want to go to Harvard for a long time, but the more I looked into it and the more I honed in on what I want to do for my career, which is business, the more I focused on the business world and what I want to study. I found through research that the Wharton School was the best school I could’ve gone to.” 

“I started just falling in love with it and the campus, and just the idea of being [there], a lot of it is for the name, but also the networking I can get done through that,” Victor explained. “A bunch of things kind of added up and made me ultimately decide to go to Wharton. I want to major in economics and finance and then I will either stay there for post-grad, I want to get an MBA, or I might reapply to Harvard or something like that, but, yes, that’s my idea so far. ” Great choice, Victor. 

What is Victor’s advice to future college applicants?

So, does Victor have any college advising of his own? 

“I actually have been asked this a lot recently,” Victor said. “Because my brother is about to do that as well. He’s a junior, he’s going into senior year, and I would definitely [tell them] to be deliberate with what they do and be on top of it. Like stay timely, you know, start up, whether it’s just essay ideas or common app essays.”

The college admissions process has a lot of steps to it, especially the Ivy League admissions process. College advising can really help you through the college admissions process. 

“They release the prompts soon,” said Victor. “Start working on those essays, to build a resume. A resume helped me a lot. I had had one prior to this, so I got a little lucky, but you know, it’s just having down everything they’ve done in high school.”

And what’s the most important piece of college advising Victor’s heard? “Start working on it,” Victor said.   

For first-generation students?

For the first-generation college student and first-generation American, Victor’s advice is a little more specific. “I would say financial aid,” Victor said. “That was the part that, now looking back when you asked me what was the trickiest I’d actually say it was that, just because of how unaware I was of it. It was completely separate from the application to the schools.”

Victor is right. Financial aid is a different process from the college admissions process. If you are a first-generation college student who’s less familiar with the college admissions process, familiarize yourself early with the amount of paperwork required. “I hadn’t realized until about two months ago, a month ago, that there [were] so many documents that I was missing that I had to submit to either College Board or the ICDC I believe. And to the schools themselves, I thought I was going to be good just submitting the FAFSA, but I needed the CSS profile.” 

There are lots of stages to securing financial aid during the college admissions process. Knowing which documents you need and when can be a crucial part of the first-generation college student experience. “My situation [was] my biological dad lives in Venezuela still,” Victor said. “And so getting documents from him, especially when we don’t talk a lot. So, getting things from him was a pain. So, I’d say to also stay on top of the financial aid part, because that is a big deciding factor.”

Merit scholarships can be a big help for a first-generation American and first-generation college student. Check out this article for tips on how to get them. 

For an overview of FAFSA and financial aid, check out this webinar

Final Thoughts- Why CollegeAdvisor?

Victor really enjoyed his time working with us. “It was a really, really good program,” Victor said. “I feel like it definitely did help me. And I want to credit a little bit to my successes I’ve had in getting into colleges and whatnot.”

Did anything in particular stand out for Victor? “I really liked the advisors,” Victor said. “I feel like they were trained pretty well. And I’d say I’d probably recommend it to other people [who] need the help or the guidance throughout the process.” You’ll find more glowing reviews about our college advising on this reviews page

The college admissions process can seem daunting, especially as a first-generation American, and you may not know where to start. Standing out in the Ivy League admissions process is a challenge. We’re here to help with all your college advising needs, from choosing extracurriculars for college to acing the Ivy League admissions process. 

Wondering if is right for you?

Check out our reviews. There, you’ll find helpful feedback and reviews from first-generation American students like Victor who worked with our experts to ace the college admissions process. 

Our reviews speak for themselves. As you’ll discover, our students benefit from comprehensive college advising on every aspect of the college admissions process. Plus, as you can see from our reviews, our students regularly achieve Ivy League admissions and admission to Top 50 schools.

Want to hear from more first-generation American and first-generation college students like Victor? Check out our other Client Success Stories for more reviews. Finally, click here to read advice from a Former Admissions Officer. 

college admission advice

This Success Story was written by Laura Frustaci, and based on an interview with Victor Lobelo. Victor reached out to us for college admissions advice and Ivy League admissions assistance. If you are looking for assistance with your college applications and are interested in working with a Admissions Expert, register with today