City's brightest students interviewed by top colleges for Chicago Scholars

Chicago students are doing the pitch of their lives at Navy Pier on Tuesday, interviewing with top universities and colleges from around the country. The students are so impressive that scholarships are often offered on the spot.

Six hundred students are part of Chicago Scholars, a program that takes students through the college admissions process. 

Participating high school seniors are the first generation to go to college or living in underserved parts of the city. They have trained for the interviews, had help writing their entrance essays and are offered financial advice to make their college dreams come true. 

They are well prepared to be put on the spot.

"I’m pretty certain this interview today at Chicago Scholars is going to help me narrow my options and help me learn a bit more about the colleges," said Bianca Marchand, a senior at Lane Tech College Prep.

Similoluwa Afolabi, is Nigerian and a senior at Curie High School, has high hopes for the on-site college and leadership forum.

"My expectation is to maybe get accepted to college, on-spot, right here," Afolabi said.

"These will be some of the earliest college admissions in the nation. So these are our young people who are changing the narrative of what it means to be from Chicago," Jeffery Beckham Jr., CEO of Chicago Scholars, said.

Carmen Alvarez, senior at Whitney Young High School interviewed with Northeastern University, Tufts, University of Michigan and Northwestern University. She did not see other students as competition.

"I feel like Chicago Scholars isn’t necessarily about competition. We all support each other. I feel like we all uplift each other and  we all hope that we all do really great during our interviews," Alvarez said.

Chicago Scholars has helped thousands of students, taking the mystery out of the application process and introduced kids first-hand to the world of higher education.