Chicago Sun Times: Mentoring programs push college-bound students to maximize application process

Written By Jordyn Holman

With college costs skyrocketing, more high school graduates are looking for ways to get the best deals on higher education.

That’s where groups such as the Chicago Scholars Foundation come in.

They help students from low-income or first-generation college families navigate the college application process. Students are urged to have a savvy strategy and aggressively seek scholarships that can help foot the bill.

“It’s like flying for the first time and going to O’Hare,” said Dominique Jordan Turner, the CEO and president of Chicago Scholars. “We help guide the way for them to get to their gate or otherwise they’ll miss their flight.”

That kind of guidance is crucial. The cost of a private college rose 27 percent from the 2002-03 school year to the 2012-13 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In the 2014-15 school year, the average cost of a private university was $31,381.

Arianna Alexander, Kenwood Academy’s valedictorian and a participant in the Chicago Scholars program, secured $3 million in scholarships. Alexander, who is headed to the University of Pennsylvania, received mostly full rides from the 26 universities where she was accepted.

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