Chicago High School Seniors Step Closer To Their College Dreams

Lisa Fielding
October 23, 2018 - 2:00 pm

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Karen Mei, 17, is a senior at Whitney Young High School and Tuesday she learned he was accepted to Knox College.

"It's amazing. I'm so grateful for this opportunity. My sister goes to Knox College, so I'm thrilled. Not sure she will be," she laughed.

Mei is one of 1,000 Chicago high school students who had a chance to interview with their top choices at the Onsite Admissions Forum at McCormick Place.

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Chicago Scholars CEO Dominique Jordan Turner said they are first-generation young people who are becoming the first in the nation to be accepted to college.

"They are interviewing on the spot, getting accepted on the spot," she said.

Chicago Scholars are chosen each year through applications and interviews. Students must be juniors in high school, live in Chicago and attend a high school in Chicago, are either a first-generation college student and/or comes from an under resourced community.

"Chicago Scholars has been around for 22 years, this is our 12th year for on site admissions. It started out with 30 colleges at Depaul. Now we're here at McCormick Place with hundreds and hundreds of students," Turner said.

"We interviewed 1,000 candidates this year and chose 750. They're students from all over the city, from different organizations who are becoming the first in their families to go to college."

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Jason Hernandez is a senior at Intrinsic Charter High school. He was accepted to Elmhurst College.

"I just found out and I'm pretty excited," he said. "It feels great to know that I'm a step ahead of the game. I have friends who are still applying and here I am already being accepted."

"Think about college and what that means not just for the students, but for the families. I talked to one mother who was in tears. All her hard work paid off with that acceptance letter," Turner said.

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Nearly 200 colleges and universities were on hand interviewing seniors as part of the annual Onsite Admissions Forum.

An interactive map was displayed that showed, in real time, the number of interviews, the number of admissions, and the amount of merit aid awarded.

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Mei plans to study medicine and chemistry at Knox College.

"My sister introduced me to Knox and talked about her wonderful experiences there. It was through my own research that I got committed," she said.

Last year, there were 2,000 offers of admission and more than $60 million in merit aid awarded.

"This day is a game changer for first-generation, low-income students from across Chicagoland. They will become the first in the nation to be accepted to college," Turner said.