CHICAGO — Hundreds of accomplished first-generation and underserved Chicago high school seniors with dreams of college met at Navy Pier to win over admissions officers at an annual forum.
The Chicago Scholars‘ 16th annual Onsite College and Leadership Forum connected nearly 600 high school seniors to colleges nationwide.
“A blessed opportunity,” said Kenwood Academy High School student Kennedy Dunkin.
Jeffrey Beckham, CEO of Chicago Scholars, told WGN News that the students began working with assigned college counselors and mentors over the summer to determine their post-secondary education goals.
“They’ve filled out the Common App, they’ve applied to multiple schools, they gotten letters of recommendation,” Beckham said.
Academically ambitious students got the chance to have one-on-one interviews with college admission officers. All told, about 120 colleges were on site.
Angel Worthy, a senior at Witney Young, said she was excited to meet representatives with the University of Southern California and Columbia University.
“I feel like my applications were able to shine through with the questions that they gave me over paper, so I can’t wait to discuss that more with them,” Worthy said.
Chicago Scholars advisors helped put students’ writing examples, grades and test scores in a packet and sent it to all participating schools to prove their excellence.
Kenwood Academy High School student Kennedy Dunkin told WGN News she would like to major in media production and become a creative director. She had her eyes on specific colleges.
“Just looking at certain schools like the University of Miami or the University of Southern California can help me with their cinematic arts or advertising creative,” she said.
Gwendolyn Brooks High School senior Savannah Phillips was one of many offered acceptance letters and financial packages on the spot.
“I’ve gotten four offer letters from [Eastern Illinois University], the University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin, the University of Pittsburgh and [Indiana State University],” Phillips said. “I’m excited and it’s fun to be on a post-secondary journey.”
Lincoln Park High School senior Julian Rivera was all smiles after learning he got accepted into Manhattan College and Marquette University.
“It’s very exciting for me,” Rivera said.
Nearly 140 students have been admitted, totaling more than $5 million in merit aid and scholarships.