As a teacher and Chicago resident, I am honored to share these tips for Chicago high school students and potential college candidates. These are the stories coming out of Chicago that we don’t hear enough. I hope you find these tips useful.
What does it take to be accepted into a college of your choice? Admissions officers factor in more than a strong GPA, and preparation can begin years before it’s time to apply. At Chicago Scholars Foundation, a unique college-access and mentorship program, students from under-resourced communities are some of the first in the nation to complete the college application process and gain admission to their schools of choice. Dominique Jordan Turner, President and CEO of the organization, encourages students to use their summers to their advantage.
Here are Jordan Turner’s six tips to becoming an ideal college candidate over summer breaks:
Volunteer your time: Whether it’s working at the local soup kitchen or participating in a walk to raise awareness, colleges are impressed by students who donate freely of their time to help others. Make time to give back this summer and not only will it enhance your college applications, but expand your horizons as well.
Find an internship: Medicine, fashion, technology – what’s the right path for you? Exploring interests through a summer internship will help in answering that question, all while providing you with real world experience to highlight in college applications. Additionally, an internship demonstrates ambition and eagerness to excel, characteristics that colleges desire in their candidates.
Find a mentor: Mentors serve a critical role, and at Chicago Scholars we stress the importance of the insights and opportunities mentorship can provide. Whether it’s a family member, teacher or coach, it is helpful to tap into someone who has been through the college application process for guidance and support.
Plan ahead: With so many different colleges and universities, it is important to research schools and narrow your options. One way to find the school that’s right for you is to speak with current or former students about their experiences. Take it a step further by booking college tours. After all, summer is the perfect time for a road trip.
Research and apply for scholarships: We all know a college education doesn’t come cheap. Thankfully, there are many scholarships available that can help. Here’s a tip, search scholarships through Naviance and College Greenlight. Researching and applying for scholarships can be a time-consuming task, but one that you will be grateful you took the time for later on.
Hit the books: While not the deciding factor, standardized test scores can certainly increase the likelihood of admission into your dream school. Utilize SAT and ACT help books, take practice tests, start weekly group study sessions and put in the hard work early on. A great resource to check out is the Princeton Review. Even a few higher points can heighten your chances for college acceptance or result in significantly higher scholarships.
Meet Dominique Jordan Turner:
As an appointed member of the Chicago Board of Education and CEO of Chicago Scholars, Jordan Turner seeks to provide talented, academically ambitious and underserved high school students with access and success through college and beyond.
Dominique Jordan Turner joins the Chicago Scholars Dream Team as President and CEO. She is responsible for leading the organization, and working collaboratively with the Board, and senior level management to establish and implement operational and programmatic goals, as well as cultivating partnerships that positively impact the organization. If you are interested in learning more about the Chicago Scholars Community, and how to get involved, Dominique will be happy to connect with you.
Prior to joining Chicago Scholars, Dominique served as the Posse Foundation’s Chicago Director. She was the Regional Director of Network Growth for the KIPP Foundation, where she managed the Smart Growth process across the network. Dominique began her career as a management consultant at Deloitte, where she focused on process re-engineering and customer relationship management.
Additionally, Dominique was a Peace Corps volunteer in the Republic of Panama. She is fluent in Spanish and holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Clark Atlanta University and a M.B.A. from Marquette University. She has been selected for several prestigious leadership programs including IMPACT through Chicago Urban League and University of Chicago, the Trinity Fellowship in Urban Leadership, New York University’s Lead the Way Fellowship and the Broad Residency in Urban Education.
You can read more about Dominique by visiting the Chicago Scholars Website.