Chicago High School Seniors Step Closer To Their College Dreams

Lisa Fielding
October 22, 2019 - 2:11 pm
Hundreds of Chicago high school students were accepted to college on the spot Tuesday at Navy Pier.

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Nancy Herrejon, 18, is a senior at Lyons Township High School. On Tuesday afternoon, she learned she was accepted into her number one choice, Loyola University.

"It was my number one school," she squealed. "I can go to college now. It's amazing. It's at a campus I really enjoy."

Herrejon is one of 1,000 Chicago high school students who had a chance to interview with their top choices at the On-Site Admissions Forum at Navy Pier.

Nancy Herrejon, 18, is a senior at Lyons Township High School. On Tuesday afternoon, she learned she was accepted into her number one choice, Loyola University.
WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

"This is a really focused student. Nancy's clearly done all her research. You'll be great on campus on Loyola. Congratulations," said Mary Alice Berg, Assistant Director, Undergraduate Program, Loyola University.

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.

"This is the day that is pure magic and we look forward to it every year," Jordan Turner said. "They are all interviewing with their top five schools and they will all walk out of here with at least one acceptance."

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 is almost 25-years old.  This is our 13th year for on-site admissions. It started out with 30 colleges at DePaul. Now we're here at Navy Pier with hundreds and hundreds of students," Jordan Turner said.

"They're students from all over the city, from different organizations, who are becoming the first in their families to go to college."

Hundreds of Chicago high school students were accepted to college on the spot Tuesday at Navy Pier.
WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Armani Washington, 17, is a senior at Lane Tech High School.

On Tuesday, she was accepted on the spot from Butler University.

"This is an amazing opportunity. I was really nervous for my first interview. I started to tear up when the rep said I was accepted," she said. "I'm emotionally overjoyed with everything."

Armani Washington, 17, is a senior at Lane Tech High School.  On Tuesday, she was accepted on the spot from Butler University.
WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Washington's mother Lanise is overwhelmed with her daughter's success.

"I'm really happy for her because it was one of the schools she chose. This is a relief for us financially. Chicago Scholars are helping us through this. It's a beautiful thing," said Lanise Washington.

Yale, Duke, Georgetown, Spellman, Butler and Howard are Armani's top schools.

"I'm hoping for Yale. It's a school I've been dreaming of since third grade. I hope to major in political science and law," she said.

Two-hundred colleges and universities were on hand at Navy Pier interviewing seniors as part of the annual On-Site Admissions Forum.
WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

Two-hundred colleges and universities were on hand at Navy Pier interviewing seniors as part of the annual On-Site Admissions Forum.

"We have Harvard, Stanford, UIC, Urbana-Champaign, so many. To be accepted on this day changes the game for these students and their parents too, they have sacrificed for this day," Jordan Turner said.

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

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.

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

"They are only a month in a half into their senior year and they are being accepted to college. These students are done. It's a huge sigh of relief for them, but we know college isn't the finish line. We want them to come back to Chicago and have jobs that will change the trajectory of their families and break that cycle of poverty," Jordan Turner said.