“I never would have dreamed of going on to higher education.”
April Brown, a senior Family Studies major from Haskell Texas, was convinced that her family background meant that she would never be able to afford college at all—never mind a private university.
“I never really hated school—there were times that I thought I did—but it was more because I came from a working-class family, and the thoughts of finances and loans were never something that I thought would be possible for me,” she explained. “Looking back now, I had this negative thought that, especially for a private school, only rich folks or athletes would be able to go there.”
However, during her junior year of high school, something in her mindset changed, and she began to consider that perhaps God could open doors where she never would have expected. For April, LCU summer camps helped her discover some of those avenues.
“I went to Encounter from 2012 through 2014, and I fell in love with the community here, and I got comfortable with the campus,” she said. “Originally, my plan was to get my basics done at a community college and then transfer to LCU, so that it would be more affordable, but then as my senior year came around, I realized that I didn’t want to go anywhere else.”
The big question for her was still finances, but the Financial Assistance team shared some opportunities with her as she inquired more into the university.
“During my time learning about LCU, I was introduced to Flight Plan, which really opened the door for me to come here.”
Flight Plan was a government-funded program designed to help lower-income, minority, or first-generation students afford and adapt to college. It was through this program that April was not only able to help afford college, but she was also able to ease into the daily life of a college student.
“I got to go to Pine Springs for the retreat, where I was able to form meaningful connections with [faculty mentors] Seydia Atkins and Kendra Brown. I also attended orientation, and that was what helped keep me from being overwhelmed during my first days of college. “
April credited her orientation leaders for showing her that there are both good times and struggles in college life, and what really mattered was her own outlook. “I struggled a lot during my first year here, but I have grown a lot. Comparing myself now to whom I was back in 2014, it’s like looking at two different people, because at first my anxiety was incredibly difficult to move past.“
April found herself asking why she was even in college, dealing with financial stresses, depression, especially as a first-year student.
“I have made a ton of changes, especially with persistence and patience, through Christ,” she says. “I’m thankful now that I had a little bit of a hard time, because of how much I grew, and because of the patience and help that the staff over there showed as they helped me through.”
One of the places that has helped April during her time at LCU is the Center for Student Success (CSS), a department on campus dedicated to connecting students to the resources they need to be successful in college.
April first got plugged into the CSS during her freshman year, as she took advantage of the tutoring opportunities offered by the department. She ended up applying to work there during March of 2015, when she was looking for her first job while going to school.
“I enjoy deskwork and organizing, so at first I wanted to work in the library, but the CSS became like my second home, so I wanted to work there and work around the wonderful people who had already helped me so much,” she explained. “I interviewed that spring, and was hired to help out around the office. I’ve now been here almost four more years.”
The staff in her department say that April has had an incredible impact around the office, and that she has been an integral asset to the team, helping direct students to mentors, administering tests, and assisting with other duties around the office.
“April has worked with us since her second semester at LCU,” explained Yvonne Harwood, Director of the CSS. “She has consistently shown a strong ability to prioritize, manage her responsibilities, and go above and beyond to help us – all while maintaining great grades.”
“April is a light, and it seems others on campus see it, benefit from it, and are inspired by it – just ask her sisters and brothers in club,” add Seydia Atkins, Mentor and member of the CSS team. “I am so very proud of all that she has accomplished as a student, and of who she is becoming every day; always learning, seeking God in all she does. “
April plans to attend graduate school at LCU, pursuing a Masters in counseling, so that she can work with families and marriages.
In the meantime, she remains very active in many aspects of LCU’s campus.
“I’m involved in Zeta Gamma, Minority Student Alliance, the Behavioral Health Club, the International Student Association, where I serve as Chaplain, and also in the organization To Write Love on Her Arms,” April shared. “I love the community here at LCU. They see beyond what your major is. They talk to you to see how you’re really doing, wanting to see if you need any help, if you’re getting enough sleep—they’re there to help make sure you get the support you need.”
April was surprised with herself when she rushed a social club and pledged. “I have always struggled with social anxiety, and I’ve always been an introvert, so I was quiet and shy,” she said. “Joining Zeta Gamma was awesome to help get me out of my shell and more into the community. I’ve even participated in Master Follies for the past two years, and I plan on being a part of it this next spring as well, which I never even dreamt of doing.
To any incoming students and Transfers, April gives this advice: “Your first year will be what you make of it. Even though it won’t be easy, don’t get too discouraged. Even though there will be moments where you second-guess yourself, stop and remember that Christ brought you here for a reason.”
In addition to LCU and the resources that she has had access to during her time on campus, April also credits her parents with a helping her succeed. “They were a large part of my support system during my time in college, constantly supporting me in my academic work, and of course to keep my eyes on Christ.”
To learn more about the opportunities at LCU, get in touch with an Admissions Advisor, or check out the Center for Student Success.