1:27 PM AKST, January 15, 2013
Clarence Page helps publicize (“Elite colleges miss the mark”, Opinion, Jan. 13) an important issue about college admissions: There is great talent in all of our high schools. Finding these talented students is easy, when you know where to look.
Last October over 500 first-generation and low-income students from more than 130 Chicago high schools attended the 6th Annual Chicago Scholars Onsite College Admissions Forum. On that single day, over 3,000 individual appointments were scheduled with college admission representatives from 80 of the nation’s selective colleges, including Amherst, Colgate, Boston College, Northwestern, Pitzer College, USC, University of Pennsylvania and Vanderbilt University. Unlike traditional college fairs, students worked over the summer with Chicago Scholars, high school admissions counselors and a variety of nonprofits to identify colleges that matched their academic abilities and personal interests.
To attend the Onsite forum, colleges must agree to review the student’s applications in advance and come prepared to provide admission or an early read. Over 75 percent of our scholars were granted admission that day to one or more of their preferred college choices, and more than $14 million of merit aid was awarded. By May 1st, when students must select the college they will attend, the majority of them will head off to selective colleges, virtually all with substantial non-loan financial aid packages.
Every year since 2007, the number of scholars attending the Onsite forum has almost doubled, while the number of colleges has tripled. Why? Because 95 percent of the scholars in our program go on to earn their college degrees.
Mr. Page is right. Talent is all around us – especially in our own back yard. All we have to do is work together.
-- Karen G. Foley, President, Chicago Scholars