Not all high school seniors are on equal footing when it comes to applying to college. Students from low-income families, frequently the first in their family to apply to and attend college, find many stumbling blocks along the way. Polk Bros. Foundation supports several nonprofits that are providing critical support to students in high school and college to ensure that they transition successfully and complete their degrees.
Chicago Scholars Foundation (CSF) scholars attend workshops and meet individually with a seasoned college counselor who helps them identify colleges that best match their talents and aspirations. To foster peer support, scholars are organized into small cohorts that work with adult mentors to complete college applications and strengthen self-presentation skills. During a fall admissions forum, scholars meet college representatives, while workshops and mentoring offered through the winter and spring help them prepare for the transition to college. CSF also provides critical support once scholars are in college to help them settle in and navigate challenges.
Posse Chicago increases access to top-tier colleges and universities for students from diverse backgrounds, strengthens the bonds between groups of students going to the same colleges and helps them work toward graduation. Participants benefit from academic tutoring, workshops that reinforce studying skills, and on-campus meetings with fellow students and tenured faculty who will be their mentors and help them access campus resources.
One Goal recruits and deploys motivated Chicago Public Schools high school teachers who devote three years to helping a small cohort of students affected by poverty to improve their academic skills and study habits to better ensure their success. Working with the same group of students as they transition from high school juniors to college freshmen allows teachers to develop a rich understanding of the students and how best to support them.