July 1, 2020

“Great Bay has helped me develop both personally and professionally.”

With smart planning and hard work, this 1st generation college student graduated debt-free!

Rachel Robillard is a first-generation college student with specific goals and strategies, all based on her success at Great Bay Community College. She graduated debt-free in May with an associate degree in Hospitality Management and is currently enrolled as a full-time liberal arts student.

“I am planning to do one more year here at Great Bay to garner more general electives, and then transfer over to Southern New Hampshire University to complete my bachelor’s degree during the 2020-21 academic year,” she said.

She has paid for her education with scholarships, and works as a peer tutor and lab assistant at Great Bay’s Center for Academic Planning and Support. Her long-term goals involve enrolling in graduate school and earning a master’s degree, and then teaching hospitality management or English at the college level.

Her stellar academic record qualified her for scholarships, which paid for her education. She graduated Summa Cum Laude in May, and this past March was nominated by Phi Theta Kappa’s All-USA academic team as the top-scoring student for the state of New Hampshire among 2,000 applicants. In addition, she received a scholarship from the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, which paid a significant portion of her tuition this year.

“As a first-generation college student, I understand how fortunate I am to be able to go to college for free because of the generosity of all the scholarship donors who have funded my educational journey so far,” she said. “I am so lucky that I will be able to complete my bachelor’s degree 100% debt-free so I will be able to continue to graduate school without stressing about accumulated debt from my undergraduate years.”

In addition to taking classes in the traditional classroom setting, Robillard takes course online, enabling her to “do school on my own time” and maintain a busy work schedule. Her success at earning scholarships is a combination of hard work, her dogged pursuit of every scholarship available and luck. “A lot of other worthy applicants apply too, and I am fortunate that my applications stood out to the donors,” she said.

Robillard, 21, attributes her success to her supportive fiancé and family, as well as the Great Bay community of students, teachers and administrative staff. She has performed well academically because the classes are engaging and interesting, and working on campus as part of the CAPS team has fed her objectives and motivated her to do well.

“Great Bay has helped me develop both personally and professionally,” she said, “and the CAPS department has helped me along the way, too. I am so grateful for my Great Bay experience.”