Hundreds of Chicago's brightest students offered millions in scholarships by dream schools

Universities made admissions and scholarship offers through the Chicago Scholars Onsite College and Leadership Forum at Navy Pier.

More than 700 Chicago high school students participated in interviews with top colleges and universities from all over the country. The schools are awarding millions of dollars in scholarships.

The high school seniors are among the city’s brightest and are either the first generation in their family to attend college or they come from under-resourced communities.

Doing interviews is a nerve-wracking process, but Chicago Scholars prepared them to meet their future.


Westinghouse College Prep student Sa’Niyah Bedell and was offered admission to Michigan State University. She said her dream school would be Howard University.

"I would like to go there to keep the legacy of Black excellence, like I know I would be supported if I go to Howard University," Bedell said.

Fernanda Castillo of Jones College Prep wants to study neuroscience and had interviews lined up with Vanderbilt, University of Chicago, Northwestern University, University of Illinois, and Northeastern in Boston.

"Chicago Scholars did a great thing by offering us interview labs to prepare us for this day, so I went to a couple and found them really helpful," Castillo said.

Chicago Scholars CEO Jeffery Beckham said the students started the college application process in July, long before most high school seniors. They have some of the highest GPAs in the city.

They learn about financial obligation, how to fill out the FAFSA and how to interview, showing up as their best self, to return to Chicago to be the city's leaders of the future.

For some of the students, the in-person event is the closest thing they’ll have to a campus visit. It’s an opportunity to make a personal connection with someone from the school of their dreams.