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Chicago Scholars helps seniors with college process

By Erika Carrasco

Five of Steinmetz’s top seniors are Chicago Scholars, part of an organization that gives Chicago students a lot of help to succeed, including an extra pair of eyes and hands to excel in their college applications and scholarships.

Seniors Millie Martinez, Frank Cabrera, Michael Sanchez, JayAnn Perez and Abdul Yahya used that opportunity in the process of working toward their post secondary plans.

All thrived at their onsite interviews at the McCormick Place on October 23.

“It was a wonderful experience that let me practice my interview skills and meet with professionals from so many universities while being surrounded by so many inspirational people with strong wills and big dreams,” Michael said.

Abdul added onto that: “Chicago Scholars supported me with the process of applying to colleges and finding the best fit colleges based on my career and financial aid and preparing for onsite admissions.”

Millie got accepted into multiple universities during the onsite interviews, but most special to her was Loyola University, her top choice.

Abdul also got into his top choice, the University of Illinois at Chicago, which he said made his Chicago Scholars experience very successful. Frank got into Iowa State. Michael Sanchez into all of his university choices: Bradley University, Loyola University, Illinois Institute of Technology and DePaul University.
JayAnn got admitted into Dominican University and the University of Iowa.

The students applied to Chicago Scholars as juniors and began getting help in the summer. The website explains the process:

Scholars join College Access: Launch during their junior year of high school. During this first stage, we support our scholars as they apply to colleges, enroll in a best match-fit college of their choice, and begin building their leadership skills.

We match each scholar with a professional college counselor for 8 one-on-one counseling sessions, guide them through a specialized curriculum of college access workshops, and place them in a mentoring cohort with 3-4 experienced adult mentors and 6-7 Scholar peers.

Through this comprehensive support system, scholars submit up to six applications to best match-fit colleges from our list of more than 175 college partners, in addition to any other institutions they choose.

In October, our college partners come to Chicago for our annual Onsite Admissions Forum. Scholars complete up to six, one-on-one interviews with admissions officers, receiving early admissions decisions, scholarships, and early evaluation feedback. Through this process, many Chicago Scholars are admitted to their top-choice colleges long before most students have applied.

We then help Scholars through the decision, financial aid, and enrollment processes to ensure they begin college in the fall following their high school graduation.

The program will help scholars for seven years.

“Through college counseling, mentoring, and by providing a supportive community to our scholars through each phase of our program we ensure that they reach their full potential as students and leaders,” the Chicago Scholars website states.

Chicago Scholars uses three terms to characterize the steps of the students: “College Access: Launch, College Success: Lift, College to Careers: Lead.”

Eighty-six percent of Chicago Scholars graduate college within six years, the organization states.

“According to the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research, only 48 percent of their peers earn a degree within six years,” the site says. “Upon graduation, our scholars move into leadership positions across Chicago, helping to drive the economic future of their communities and our thriving city.”

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