PROGRAM HELP STUDENTS PREPARE FOR COLLEGE

The College Readiness and Access Programs launched by the University of Chicago’s Office of Civic Engagement are aimed at helping high school students prepare for college, with the goal they get accepted to, able to pay for and thrive during their college career. PHOTO PROVIDED BY
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO.
The College Readiness and Access Programs launched by the University of Chicago’s Office of Civic Engagement are aimed at helping high school students prepare for college, with the goal they get accepted to, able to pay for and thrive during their college career. PHOTO PROVIDED BY UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO.

PROGRAM HELP STUDENTS PREPARE FOR COLLEGE

BY TIA CAROL JONES

The University of Chicago’s Office of Civic Engagement has several programs that help students who attend Chicago Public School high schools prepare for college. Two of those programs are Upward Bound and the Collegiate Scholars Program.

The Collegiate Scholars Program was established
in 2003. It is a free, three-year college preparation
program. It focuses on helping high school students
prepare for admission to top colleges and universities
throughout the country.


Students who participate in the program are invited to
the University of Chicago campus year-round, including an
intensive, six-week summer program. Students participate in college-level classes, taught by professors and grad students.

 Students receive wraparound services, which include college advising and meeting with staff members after school and on weekends to do college planning. Students also receive tutoring support, workshops and activities related to leadership development, exposure to arts
and culture and career exploration and support. Students have the opportunity to go on a college tour. In 2022
students went to Washington , D.C. This Spring, students went to St. Louis and in August, students will go to Atlanta to visit schools.

Abel Ochoa is the Executive Director of College Readiness and Access for the UChicago Office of Civic Engagement.
Ochoa said that one of the areas of focus for the University is extending educational opportunities for students who live and attend high schools on the South Side, with special focus on communities around the University.

Ochoa said the Collegiate Scholars Program has more than 600 alumni who have completed the program. The program was started because of the Crown Family School, which oversees the Consortium on School Research. The research showed that many students who had the academic ability to attend a highly selective school like the University of Chicago, weren’t applying to the schools.

To address that application and enrollment gap, a committee launched a program for students from underrepresented backgrounds, with the aptitude and ability for rigorous academics, to have early exposure to college. Ochoa said that students who complete the Collegiate Scholars program, 93% of the students
are completing college in six years and 89% are completing college in a four-year time frame.

Quincy Bailey, a resident of Chatham, who attends Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep, will be attending Stanford University in the Fall. Bailey, who is the first in his family to attend college, has secured a full ride scholarship. Maun Muhammad, also a student at Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep, participated in Upward Bound because she thought it would prepare her for college and give her the help she needed.

Being in Upward Bound helped her narrow down which college she wanted to attend, based on her interests. She will be attending Georgetown University in the Fall and
wants to major in English, with a minor in Creative
Writing. Writing is her passion and what she wants to do for a living. She received a scholarship, which will cover
95% of the costs.

Ochoa said the goal of the College Readiness Programs is to level the playing field for students who might not have access or the resources that will help prepare them.

“Parents have been very open about how grateful and
blessed they feel that their child has gained access to an institution like the University of Chicago. They’re very appreciative of the various services and a lot the direct support that we provide their child in this multi-year program,” he said. “From a student perspective, I think they really enjoy becoming independent as early as sophomore year in high school.”

For more information about University of Chicago College
Readiness Programs, visit https://osp-cp.uchicago.edu.

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