Chicago Scholars’ Onsite College and Leadership Forum helps 1000 students today, honors Mayor Lori Lightfoot 

CHICAGO – On Tuesday, Oct. 22, 1,000 talented Chicago high school students from under-resourced communities gathered at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall for a mass college interview day unlike any other – the Chicago Scholars’ Onsite College and Leadership Forum. Many students walked away with letters of acceptance and merit-aid from the more than 190 of the country’s most selective colleges and universities in attendance – including seven of the eight Ivy Leagues and the top-rated schools listed in the U.S. News and World Report college ranking.

Attending students were among the first 2020 graduating seniors in the nation to receive admissions offers this school year, and all to selective and prestigious institutions. Each student selected to be a Chicago Scholar and attend Onsite applied to five of the attending colleges prior to the event and interviewed with each of the universities in-person that day. Students partook in a total of 5,541 one-on-one interviews at the event, with many colleges making their decisions during their face-to-face meetings with student applicants who were effectively able to put a face to their application and convey their respective story.

“Chicago Scholars is proud to make college more accessible to our students,” explained Dominique Jordan Turner, Chicago Scholars CEO. “And at Onsite, we see hundreds of stories of hard work and dedication payoff when these talented young people receive college acceptance, as well as securing the funds to pay for college. We’re glad this event is able to facilitate so many life-changing moments for some of the city’s most talented young people. We’re also proud to recognize our honorees for their outstanding contributions in support of Chicago’s young people.”

Students who attended this year’s Onsite were selected the year prior, allowing them ample time to work with Chicago Scholars’ college counselors and identify institutions that would best fit each student. Once target colleges and universities are identified, counselors and students develop application strategies well in advance of most other applicants, with submissions completed in September. Once their applications are submitted, students then work to prepare for the day’s in-person meetings.

“I’m so happy for this opportunity – I can’t believe I’m going to college next year!” exclaimed Armani Washington, a senior at Albert G. Lane Technical High School. “The Chicago Scholars program gave me so much guidance and helped me through my college application process step-by-step. If I weren’t in the program, I wouldn’t know where to begin with my applications. It feels great to know that while other high school seniors are still applying to schools, I have already been accepted and offered scholarships.”

The Onsite College and Leadership Forum also included the annual awards luncheon to further support the work of Chicago Scholars’ partners who help empower the next generation of Chicago’s leaders. The Onsite College and Leadership Forum Luncheon will also honor the University of Chicago with Chicago Scholars’ University Partner Award, Mikva Challenge with Chicago Scholars’ Community Partner Award, Turner Construction with Chicago Scholars’ Corporate Partner Award, and Nicole Johnson with Chicago Scholars’ Alumni Award.

The Onsite College and Leadership Forum also included the annual luncheon to further support the work of Chicago Scholars and honor key partners who help empower the next generation of Chicago’s leaders. The Onsite College and Leadership Forum Luncheon honored the University of Chicago as Chicago Scholars’ University Partner Honoree, Mikva Challenge as Chicago Scholars’ Community Partner Honoree, Turner Construction as Chicago Scholars’ Corporate Partner Honoree, and Nicole Johnson as Chicago Scholars’ Alumni Honoree.

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


Chicago Scholars is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, leadership development organization that empowers academically ambitious low-income or first-generation students to overcome systemic barriers to success in college and beyond while preparing the city’s businesses and organizations for the next generation of leaders.


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