Chicago High School Seniors Step Closer To Their College Dreams

scholar 1 Chicago High School Seniors Step Closer To Their College Dreams

Jamiroquai Jackson with his mother LaTasha Jackson after being accepted to Illinois College. (WBBM/Lisa Fielding)

CHICAGO (CBS) — Hundreds of Chicago high school seniors were accepted to college on the spot on Tuesday at Navy Pier.

Jamiroquai Jackson, 17, is a senior at Noble Academy and on Tuesday he learned he was accepted to Illinois College.

“I’m speechless to be honest and shaking a little bit,” laughed Jackson.

“I walked into the room and as I was walking to the bench, the recruiter was smiling at me so he knew and I knew at the same time I was about to be accepted.”

His mother LaTasha Jackson said it’s a relief to know he’s set and will be getting some financial help.

“He’s the first in the family. He’s the first grandchild and he’s my only child to go to college,” she said. “I’m so excited, I’m trying not to cry. I’m a single mom, so it makes it a lot easier so that I can rest knowing he’s okay while he’s at school.”

scholar 4 Chicago High School Seniors Step Closer To Their College Dreams

(WBBM/Lisa Fielding)

Jackson is one of 600 Chicago Scholars who had a chance to interview with their top choices at the Onsite Admissions Forum at Navy Pier.

CEO Dominique Jordan Turner said they are first-generation young people who are becoming the first in the nation to be accepted to college.

“They are interviewing with up to five, six schools of their choice and some are getting admission on the spot,” Jordan Turner said.

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Chicago Scholars CEO Dominique Jordan Turner (WBBM/Lisa Fielding)

“These scholars were selected last year so they begin to work right away with their counselors to identify their fit and match schools, where they want to apply. Then by September they have submitted their applications before probably anybody has thought about college in their senior year. They are done so they can be prepared for today,” she said.

Chicago Scholars are chosen each year through applications and interviews. Students must be juniors in high school, live in Chicago and attend a high school in Chicago; they are either a first-generation college student and/or comes from an under resourced community.

“We interviewed 900 candidates this year and chose 600,” Jordan Turner said. “They’re students from all over the city, from different organizations who are becoming the first in their families to go to college.”

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Chicago Scholars are able to interview with up to six schools of their choice and some are getting admission on the spot at the Onsite Admissions Forum. [WBBM/Lisa Fielding]

Zuriel Trejo graduated from Walter Payton College Prep in 2016 and is in his freshman year at University of Illinois at Chicago. He became a Chicago Scholar as a junior.

“I’ve had a great experience with them. I came to this event last year and was accepted to my top school of UIC,” said Trejo, who is studying business management. “I’ve earned a lot of scholarships so I am working hard to maintain my grades.”

Trejo came back Tuesday to speak to the incoming seniors about his experience.

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Zuriel Trejo, Chicago Scholars alum (WBBM/Lisa Fielding)

“You get interview experience by talking with the recruiters. I was offered admission to Loyola, UIC, and DePaul on the spot,” he said.

“It was such a relief to know that I had four years of my life set. It’s a great feeling being a senior and to know you’re set for college.”

Chicago Scholars is celebrating it’s 21st year and it’s 11th Onsite Admissions Forum.

“We are creating the next generation of leaders for our city. We are hedging our bets on who our leaders will be. We are going to support them through those four years of college, pair them with mentors, connect them with opportunities and bring them back to Chicago to create change,” Jordan Turner said.

“The hard work of the parents and the community and the hopes and dreams of the families in this room that are coming to fruition today. That’s the beginning of that journey.”

One-hundred-seventy-nine colleges and universities were on hand interviewing seniors as part of the annual Onsite Admissions Forum.

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Real time map showing the number of interviews, admissions and amount of merit aid awarded. (WBBM/Lisa Fielding)

An interactive map was displayed outside Festival Hall that showed, in real time, the number of interviews, the number of admissions and the amount of merit aid awarded.

Jackson plans on studying psychology and computer science.

“It’s a huge relief to know that I’m set and with that college there is so much support that I know I’ll be successful,” he said.

“We’re going to celebrate. Whatever he wants to eat,” laughed his mother, LaTasha Jackson.

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