CPS & Chicago Scholars Announce LAUNCH

Posted: 3/31/2010


March 31, 2010

Chicago Scholars Announces New Professional Development Program for CPS High School College Counselors

Chicago (March 31, 2010) - Chicago Scholars announces a new professional development program aimed at college counselors who work with students qualified to attend selective and highly selective colleges and universities.

The Challenge of "Under Matching"

The Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago reported that many Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students fail to apply to institutions of higher education that "match" their academic potential. The report, "From High School to the Future: Making Hard Work Pay Off," (download the report) also revealed that when students enroll in colleges or universities that match their academic profile, they are more likely to perform better academically and graduate.

This is a significant problem for CPS students. Of the nearly 5,000 CPS graduates from the class of 2008 whose GPA and ACT scores qualified them to attend selective or very selective institutions as defined by Barron's, only 23% are attending them. This is a systemic problem that CPS's Department of College & Career Preparation (DCCP) is addressing. This means that there are ~ 3,500 students across all areas and schools who have the qualifications to attend very selective and selective institutions and don't enroll in them.

"Chief Administrative Officers and principals who understand the implications of under matching are asking for action," said Jerusha Rodgers, who leads the DCCP. "The next phase is to enhance the resources available to students so that qualified students can access selective and highly selective institutions. To support this effort, CPS and Chicago Scholars will partner to close the match gap for high achieving students."

The Chicago Scholars/CPS partnership is a unique opportunity to improve CPS students' access to top colleges and universities and build capacity for CPS school-based staff that supports students through the college application process.

The Opportunities of the new Launch Program

The two pronged solution includes:

1. Enroll targeted students in Chicago Scholars - 250 selective and very selective students involved in comprehensive college application support process starting this summer - to include: hand's on summer workshops, 1-on-1 counseling, and access to 50+ colleges and universities at Chicago Scholars' annual ONSITE Admission Forum where financing and admissions decisions are offered on the spot as well as face-to-face meetings with college admissions officers.

2. Provide College Advising Professional Development/ Leadership Training for CPS School Counselors: CPS will choose 20 counselors to be trained in "Match" counseling through workshops and hands-one interactions from top admissions reps across the country. Five additional CPS counselors who have experience matching students to highly selective institutions will join 10 college counseling specialists from Chicago Scholars.  This team of experienced advisors will work individually with students to expand their knowledge of great college options

Student benefits include:

  • Individualized college counseling
  • Face-to-face interviews with admissions officers
  • Potentially stronger financial aid options

CPS benefits include:

  • Instill an effective, consistent and scalable college advising model          
  • Introduce counselors to a wide array of college representatives
  • Strengthen the college-going culture and increase college match and graduation rates
  • Provide counselors with the skills and knowledge to effectively advise their students in college choice

"Chicago has some of the best and brightest college bound talent in the nation. The benefits of helping dedicated counselors match these young people to great fit colleges will be felt for decades to come as more students graduate and contribute to our city and back to their neighborhoods," remarked Karen G. Foley, president of Chicago Scholars.

For more information, please contact Alex Gagnon at 312-784-3300, agagnon@chicagoscholars.org

Founded in 1996, Chicago Scholars is a 501 (c )(3) organization, supports first generation and under-resourced Chicago students graduate from the college of their choice and transition into productive careers. Our goal is to produce a valuable group of future leaders who will help make Chicago an even stronger and more vibrant community.