“By implementing the values I learned from Chicago Scholars into my future career, I hope to be able to create change.”
-Christeena Jojo | Class of 2022 | Future Medical Student
Our work is about more than getting into college. At Chicago Scholars, we stick with our Scholars from the start of the college admissions process through their first job after graduation and beyond. Even more important, we’re committed to bringing our values to everything we do, even if it means building a new initiative to make it happen.
Chicago Scholars are academically ambitious, first-generation college-going students who live and attend high school in Chicago. When these students persist through our seven-year program, they not only get through college — they build futures where they can truly thrive.
Scholars join our community in their junior year of high school. Over their first year in our program, they apply to colleges, enroll in a best match-fit college of their choice, and begin building their leadership skills with the help of a team of peers, mentors, college counselors, and Chicago Scholars staff. Workshops keep Scholars on track with their applications and help them shore up their essay-writing and interview skills. Our flagship event, Onsite College and Leadership Forum, gives Scholars the chance to interview with representatives from our College Partners months before their peers — and sometimes even get an early acceptance letter. Through it all, bonding with their cohort of fellow Scholars creates relationships that last a lifetime.
When Scholars finally have that acceptance letter in hand, Chicago Scholars is there to help ease the transition to college and make sure they persist through college graduation. We help students use our experiential learning, supportive relationships, and leadership development opportunities to practice self-advocacy and make the most of their time in college. College Scholars also have exclusive access to paid summer internship opportunities and career exploration activities.
College graduation isn’t the finish line for our Scholars, and it isn’t for Chicago Scholars, either. When Scholars reach their junior and senior years of college, we kick our career planning and leadership training into high gear to ensure students are ready to enter the workforce and chase their dreams. Career Mentors, workshops and one-on-one coaching sessions help Scholars explore career paths, write strong resumes and cover letters, and build interviewing and networking skills. Formal programming ends when Scholars land their first job or matriculate into graduate school, but we firmly believe “once a Scholar, always a Scholar.” Chicago Scholars has an active and engaged Alumni network, and we’re always finding ways to keep our Alumni vibrant parts of our community.