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Bank Sends 49 Students On College-Scouting Tour

A bus-themed cake was served Friday at Young Women’s Leadership Charter School of Chicago. (CBS)

A bus-themed cake was served Friday at Young Women’s Leadership Charter School of Chicago. (CBS)

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(CBS) — For some students, going to college is a choice that comes with a lot of obstacles.

Friday morning, CBS 2′s Courtney Gousman visited a charter school where 49 students are being given every opportunity to succeed as they prepare for a life-changing trip.

Greeted by a group of cheerleader-teachers and sponsors, the students are preparing to take a trip that could very well change the courses of their lives.

“I am very, very excited about this college tour. It’s going to open a lot of new doors,” Jada Harris, a junior at Young Women’s Leadership Charter School, says.

The send-off party was a surprise to the juniors.

Fifth-Third Bank is footing most of the bill for the week-long bus tour, taking the students up the East Coast to visit six universities.

“Those are things or just places the girls have dreamed about or just heard about, or read about,”  Deniece Fields, school director, says.

It’s an opportunity many of these girls would probably miss because of money.

Javanah Barnes is excited about being able to visit Columbia University in New York because it’s a top pick on her list of schools.

For some participants, the trip means being able to leave the city’s gun violence behind.

Jada Harris would be the first in her family to finish college.

“I try not to really think about it. It has affected me, but I haven’t been affected to the point where I can’t learn,” she says.

“No excuses, just results” has been the motto of the charter school for this year.

The group of girls takes off early Sunday morning.

The school director says this trip was strategically planned a week before the ACT exam, so students will return excited about going to college and ready to do their best on the exam.