First Collegiate Scholar graduates set bar high for those who followBy Julia Morse
Seven of the 60 graduates of the Collegiate Scholars Program will be in familiar territory when they return to Chicago in the fall as College first-years.
“It’s fantastic news for us, just fantastic,” said Kim Ransom-Kazembe, Director of the Collegiate Scholars Program. “Our students have seen what the University of Chicago has to offer; they love the challenges and the rewards here. Plus, they have found incredible support.”
One of those students, Peter Cole, a graduating senior at Kenwood High School, said that thanks to the Collegiate Scholars Program he could not be better prepared for starting college at the University in the fall.
“I look forward to meeting my roommate and finally leaving home. I look forward to being broke and staying up all night writing a paper. I look forward to the friends I will make and talking about college with the many friends I already have,” Cole said.
In addition to those attending the College this fall, two Collegiate Scholars graduates will enroll at Harvard University, three at Stanford University, two at Carleton College, two at DePaul University, three at Howard University and three at Washington University.
Other schools welcoming Collegiate Scholars in the fall include Brown University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Georgetown University, Wellesley College, Ohio State University, Denison College and Washington and Lee University.
“We are so proud of the Class of 2006, “ Ransom-Kazembe said. “They have definitely set the bar high, that’s for sure.”
The 60 Collegiate Scholars who graduated in May were among the first enrolled in the University enrichment program in 2003, when it was established for Chicago Public Schools students.
About 600 high school ninth graders apply to the program every year, with just 50 to 60 students being enrolled during the summer between ninth and 10th grades.
Throughout the school year, the teens participate in academic programs, classes and tutoring workshops on weekends and are invited to attend cultural events periodically throughout the week.
Collegiate Scholars also regularly participate in community service programs, which Ransom-Kazembe sai d is crucial to the program’s goal to “address the whole student.”
“We believe academics are key,” she said. ”However, there are other learning experiences that help students prepare for college success. In addition to offering courses taught predominately by Chicago faculty, we also offer our students exposure to a diverse learning environment, academic advising, standardized test prep courses, research opportunities, campus lectures, cultural arts and enrichment, residential campus stays, college admission panels, and we promote strong parental involvement.”
Ransom-Kazembe said that one of the most valuable phases of the Collegiate Scholars Program is the college preparatory workshops and mentoring, which begin in the summer before the students’ senior year of high school and are led by University graduate students and teaching assistants.
“We really try to help our students understand the application process and how to best market themselves to top universities,” she said.
The proof is in the students themselves, Ransom-Kazembe said, and where they will be attending college in the fall.
“What wonderful results we’ve had for our first graduating class,” she said. “They have embraced the rigorous academic culture of Chicago. When they begin their studies at the University of Chicago and other peer institutions, they will be more confident than they otherwise would have been. I am certain of that.”
As for the Collegiate Scholars graduates who will attend the University in the fall, Ransom-Kazembe said the classes they have attended through the program have “cultivated a great thirst for more.”
“This program made the University an interesting place and a place to which I decided to apply,” he said. “The events and classes that the program provided were also great in helping me understand what college life and college studies were like.”
Ransom-Kazembe added, “They enjoyed the style of learning here, they were encouraged by what they’ve seen and experienced,” she said. “Coming here in the fall will be like coming home. And they are ready for it.”
The other six Collegiate Scholars graduates attending the College this fall are Ashley Chin of Walter Payton High School; Li An Kwan of Lincoln Park High School; Mayra Lopez of Curie High School; and Roderick Baker, Sabrina Chin and Jack Li of Whitney Young High School.