Vista Lighthouse

Illuminating the Path in College Admissions

"Once social change begins it can not be reversed. You can not un-educate the person who has learned to read. You can not humiliate the person who feels pride. You can not oppress the people who are not afraid anymore."  —César Chávez


Maria J. Fernàndez holds the above quote by César Chávez as a direct result of her mission to offer her college advising expertise to under represented populations. Maria Fernàndez, CollegeVISTA´s founder, is a college admissions adviser. She offers her services to students living within San Antonio´s most well known at–risk neighborhoods and school districts. However, her students are 90% first generation college students and attend schools throughout San Antonio, Texas.

VISTA ("sight" in Spanish) Program operates out of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church at 1321 El Paso Street on San Antonio´s West Side. CollegeVISTA´s mission is designed to assist under represented students in college admissions and retention. CollegeVISTA, established in November 2006 evolved from her truly passionate belief in CollegeVISTA´s mission and the unmet need for this service evident in the West Side of San Antonio.

Fernàndez´s professional experience includes over fifteen years of college advising at several different universities including graduate, undergraduate, and college recruiting in both the public and private sector. Fernàndez also did her Master thesis on "Cultural Identity and Its Effects on the Academic Achievement of Mexican American Students."(1996)

During her final year of study, Fernàndez received a grant from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences to perform research to complete her thesis work. She presented those findings at the National Chicano/Chicana Conference held at the University of Texas at San Antonio (1996). Fernàndez relates that she enjoys keeping up on the latest statistics regarding educational trends. Fernàndez also is an independent college admission´s consultant. Fernàndez is a regular participant of the National Association of College Academic Counselors Conference (NACAC) held nationally each year. Fernàndez holds a BA in American Studies and a MA in Bilingual/Bicultural Studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio. For more information you may reach CollegeVISTA at e-mail:

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